Do You Know If You Have A Spare Wheel In Your Boot?

Thursday, 13. April 2017

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

If you have taken delivery of a new car recently have you checked the spare tyre situation? Many people are still driving around in the belief that they have a full sized spare sitting in the boot but if you lift the carpet mat you may be shocked to find that you only have a skinny spare, about the width of a pound coin or worse, as manufacturers try to save another gram of CO2, a can of spray tyre inflator and rubber weld in the hole that once contained a spare wheel.

Even worse if you have a BMW because you may open the boot carpet to reveal – nothing! No skinny wheel or can of tyre repair gunk. Just – nothing! Because most BMW’s are now fitted with run flat tyres, which is good because if you get a puncture the tyre will feel spongy and an alert will tell you that there has been a sudden drop in tyre pressure but you can keep going for a further 50 miles at 50 miles per hour.

The bad news is that whilst there are repair kits available to the trade few tyre repairers are happy to carry out a repair as it can be difficult to assess the ancillary damage caused to the structure of the tyre by driving it without air. So generally speaking you are into the cost of a new tyre following a puncture with the additional pain that run flats are more expensive than a normal tyre.

Incidentally, I have had clients call following the delivery of a car with a repair kit in the boot in place of a spare wheel believing this to be illegal. It isn’t. In order to reduce weight, CO2 output and fuel consumption many manufacturers are turning to the spray can so if you’re not sure check it out.

And with the RAC advising that punctures are the most common call out alongside engines that won’t start it might be wise to check the boot. You will at least be prepared and if you prefer at least a skinny spare you can normally get one from a dealer as an after fit. By Graham Hill

Alloy Wheels Set To Be Replaced!

Saturday, 5. April 2014

When alloy wheels came onto the market they were revolutionary, they were smarter than the old steel wheels, didn’t need wheel covers that had a habit of flying off if you took a corner faster than 20 miles per hour, they were lighter and by simply changing the design of alloys fitted to your suped up Ford Fiesta you would change it’s whole appearance, like changing the design of glasses that you may wear.

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The downside, from my point of view, is the ease with which they scuff. The light weight alloy looks good, is lighter and these days easy enough to fit tyres onto but when a lease car is returned this is the one part of the car that causes most disputes. Scuffed alloys are not fair wear and tear as many drivers believe.

Hit the pavement and damage the alloy it must be repaired before it is returned or you will be charged for a repair. If you opt for the cheapest lease rates you should also be aware that in order to return a decent profit some leasing companies will even try to charge for replacement wheels (check your agreement).

A smart repair to an alloy would be around £30 – £50 per wheel but not good news if you have scuffed all four wheels. However, a better solution may be arriving soon. BMW have developed a new carbon fibre wheel following along behind the carbon tech designed i3 and i8.

Lightweight production boss at BMW, Franz Storkenmaier has been using carbon waste from the car production to develop other products including a carbon fibre steering wheel and combined the carbon with plastic to develop other lightweight components. But his main priority is the carbon fibre wheel rim. We saw some initial ideas fitted on the 2011 Mini Rocketman concept car.

With over a third weight saving over a traditional alloy they will have a measured improvement on CO2 emissions and fuel consumption when fitted. Herr Storkenmaier pointed out that the weight saving was the best sort of saving as it is ‘unsprung mass’ (no I don’t either), he added ‘Carbon Fibre wheels are more damage resistant, scratch them and it’s easier to polish out than an alloy.’

He pointed out that he has two wheels under development, one completely carbon and another with an alloy rim and carbon spokes. BMW has also added that the wheels, whilst lighter, are also stronger. Unfortunately we may not see them in full production for a while as they have yet to be certified by European regulators. By Graham Hill

BMW E63 M6 Coupé Wheel

BMW E63 M6 Coupé Wheel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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New Way To Protect Your Alloy Wheels From Damage

Thursday, 10. June 2010

One of the biggest confusions over end of lease charges is that of scuffed alloy wheels with bills for repairs being as high as £120 per wheel. Many drivers cannot understand why scuffs to alloy wheels are chargeable as damage. As one woman that wrote to me explained ‘We all scrape wheels on the pavement when parking, surely it is no different to worn carpets, and stone chips?’ The fact is that if you are driving Read more

Making Alloy Wheels Look Like New

Tuesday, 18. August 2009

One of the things that makes a car look really ‘scruffy’ is a badly scratched or scuffed alloy wheel and yet it is so easy to damage but just as easy to repair. There are a number of companies that will offer a local service. They will call round and either fix the wheel(s) at the roadside or take the car away and bring it back later with the wheel(s) looking like new. This is quite useful to know because if you return a lease car Read more