How-to run flat tyres
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.