How-to run flat tyres

NT News - Motoring - - CAR PROBLEMS? GRAHAM SMITH CAN HELP. EMAIL HIM AT -

Q: We have no­ticed that when in 50-60 km/h speed zones or driv­ing at low speeds the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion in our Hyundai seems to go into fourth gear too early, caus­ing the mo­tor to labour. Is this a com­mon prob­lem? Elsie& Colin Bernard, e-mail. A: All cars drop into higher gears as soon as they can, it’s a way of sav­ing on fuel and I would ex­pect a car to be ca­pa­ble of run­ning com­fort­ably in fourth at 50-60 km/h.

Q: I was told that I should use To­tal oil in my 2006 Peu­geot 307 HDI diesel wagon but I see noth­ing wrong with us­ing a good qual­ity Cas­trol or Valvo­line oil. What grade and brand would be suit­able? Earle Mel­lor, e-mail. A: Check the own­ers man­ual, Peu­geot’s rec­om­mended oil is shown there. A 5w-30 pre­mium oil from any of the ma­jor brands should be fine for your ve­hi­cle. BE­FORE Scot­tish chemist John Dun­lop cre­ated his pneu­matic tyre late in the 19th cen­tury, ve­hi­cles rolled on wheels shod with solid tyres.

There wasn’t much you could say about them that was pos­i­tive, the road­hold­ing was ap­palling, the brak­ing fee­ble, and the ride back break­ing, but they were im­per­vi­ous to punc­tures.

Dun­lop’s cre­ation trans­formed mo­tor­ing in vir­tu­ally ev­ery way, but un­for­tu­nately they were sub­ject to punc­tures that would reg­u­larly strand mo­torists on the side of the road. The an­swer was to carry a spare wheel that could be fit­ted to get you on your way again, but car­ry­ing a spare also has its is­sues.

Over the years car­mak­ers have mounted spares on the front guards, the rear bumper, un­der the rear and in the boot, but no mat­ter where they have lo­cated it, the spare has got in the way.

For just as long they’ve also been ways to get rid of them.

The only time we ap­pre­ci­ate them is when we have a flat, for the rest of the time they are just go­ing along for the ride and get­ting in the way.

Get­ting rid of the spare would save money and weight, re­duce fuel con­sump­tion, and lib­er­ate space that could be used for other pur­poses.

Car­mak­ers have tried a num­ber of things to rid them­selves of these un­wanted items, but the most re­cent way is through the use of run-flat tyres.

Run-flats have a stiff side­wall that sup­ports the weight of the car dur­ing a punc­ture so you can get to a tyre re­tailer to re­pair or re­place the dam­aged tyre. The up­side of run-flat tyres is that you don’t have to carry a spare wheel, and be­cause you can drive on you don’t have to change the wheel on the side of the road.

The down­side is that the ride is much harder than with a reg­u­lar pneu­matic tyre, the cost of run-flats is about 50 per cent higher than a reg­u­lar tyre, and not all tyre deal­ers have the knowl­edge and equip­ment to han­dle run-flats.

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