Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tyred out

A blog entry for anyone with a car.

I mentioned it before, but we've got a Toyota Yaris. Nice car, I'd recommend one to anyone looking for a small car. However, it's not been a happy bunny for some time now.

Put simply, the handling has been atrocious, in fact at times I'd call it dangerous. Bouncy, no grip - especially in the wet - and noisy. We took it to a garage a while ago, and they checked everything. "Nothing wrong", they said. "But it might be your tyres."

Now, the tyres were quite new, so we left it because everything was checked and so we were happy nothing was going to break and kill us. Until, on the way to work one morning, the car lurched and almost put Mrs B in a ditch. Back to the garage. "Nothing wrong, other than we've adjusted the tracking. We reckon your tyres aren't up to it."

This was the second time the tyres had been mentioned. The garage's reasoning was that the tyres on our car were for winter use, and were ideal for certain types of road. The driving we were doing was not what our tyres were suited for, and this was causing the problems. However, as the tyres were still quite new, the handling was slightly improved, and replacing all four at one go wasn't something I was keen on doing on cost grounds, we left it.

And so to today. A couple of weeks ago, the car started displaying symptoms I've had on a previous car that related to a damaged wheel bearing. The car handling was affected, the car was noisy, and the car was performing badly at higher speed. So in it went. Guess what? "Nothing wrong with it. We reckon it's the tyres."

Now, you'll notice that the garage has never offered to replace the tyres, which I find odd. Maybe they don't want my money. But, after the third suggestion, we bit the bullet and went to the tyre supplier who fitted the tyres in the first place.

The tyres on the car were a budget brand, so I didn't expect razor-sharp handling. I've used budget tyres before. These were a brand called 'Admiral'. Anyway, I explained this to the tyre company guy, and he looked a bit puzzled but suggested a better brand. Which they duly fitted. One painful credit-card experience later, we left with 4 new tyres.

Guess what? It's like a new car. Who would have thought that cheap, poor quality tyres would make such a difference to the car? It handles better, accelerates better, is quieter, and doesn't cry at 70mph on the motorway anymore.

So, to our moral of the day. Don't put cheap, budget brand tyres on your car. It'll cost you more in the long run, because your car will be undriveable, and may well try to kill you.

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