The Importance of Locking Wheel Nuts

Locking wheel nuts are an important part of the security of your vehicle. They are obviously there to prevent the theft of your alloy wheels, which are expensive enough in their own right, but also the tyres too, which on larger vehicles and SUV’s can be as much again as the cost of the wheel.

How wheel locking nuts add to the security of your car

The most convincing reason to get extra security for your wheels and alloys is theft prevention. A number of thefts occur simply for the tyres as the market for cheaper “part worn” tyres has increased dramatically due to the consumer demand for bigger cross over vehicles that have bigger wheels and ultimately, more expensive tyres. Therefore it is important that you have a locking or security wheel nut/bolt on your vehicle.

Remember to ask for the locking key

Firstly, it is very important to ensure that the locking wheel nut removal tool is with the car when buying it second hand. You also need to ensure it is supplied on new cars too – ask your salesman where it is and in both cases ensure that it fits ALL the wheel nuts as it should!

Remember to keep the lock removal tool safe (but not too safe)

This sounds obvious, but is often overlooked – know where your locking wheel nut tool is and that it can be accessed easily when required. There is nothing worse than an inconvenient puncture, but that is made even worse if you can’t find the locking wheel nut tool!

It is also a very good idea to make sure it’s easily available to the technicians when taking your car for any repair or service. Not only does its unknown whereabouts hold up the mechanics but also means they have to go searching around your car, from glovebox to boot in order to find it.

What to do when the wheel lock removal tool is lost or worn?

All is not lost! Well, it is, but it isn’t the end of the world! The important thing is to act now and not leave it “until you need it” as that time may be the most inconvenient one.

Some locking wheel nuts can be removed easily using specially made removal tools and most garages and mechanics have them. However, these only work on certain types and if that is the case then there will be considerable work required to get them off. In some cases, there may also be damage caused to the wheel, no matter how careful they are in getting them off.

So, if you have lost your wheel nut tool, you need to get a new one as soon as possible. If the wheel nuts are the standard ones from the manufacturer, the first place to try is a dealership. If that yields no luck, then get in contact with us and we will source a mechanic to get them removed for you and supply a replacement set with a new key.

Wheels, alloys, and tyres are not the only car part thieves have an eagle eye on. If you want to know more about how to prevent theft of car parts, read our article on how to prevent catalytic converter theft.

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Happy driving!

Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash

What is The Difference Between Winter Tyres And Summer Tyres?

Are Winter Tyres Worth It

Winter tyres can seem like a bit of a mystery. Often it’s unclear what they actually do and if they are any different from summer tyres. Tyres are tyres, right? Truth is that winter tyres are a highly specialised piece of kit. They will help keep your car stable in winter weather. They are, in fact, significantly different than summer tyres.

Summer tyres are fitted as standard to most cars and are the perfect companion to your car for the summer months. And up to a certain point, they work fine in other seasons as well. Their performance, however, rapidly declines as temperatures drop. Summer tyres are made in such a way that they are soft and grip well in normal and warm temperatures. But once temperatures approach 7C and below the summer tyres will start to lose traction with the road surface. Your car will start to feel unstable and it may not be very comfortable to drive. At that point, it is probably worth getting some winter tyres for your car.

Why do winter tyres work better in cold weather?

Winter tyres are made out of a different type of rubber which makes them softer. It ensures they remain supple in cold weather. It helps to make them ‘grippier’ in winter conditions. On top of that, the tyre tread design is deeper and has more sipes (small slits) which help it process water and snow better.

This all contributes to the fact that winter tyres are proven to stop a car better in cold weather than summer tyres. Tyre manufacturer Continental found that winter tyres can help to stop a car traveling at 31mph eight metres before the same car on summer tyres. That might not seem like much, but it can be the difference between crashing into the back of another car or stopping just in time.

Are winter tyres worth it?

Deciding whether winter tyres are worth it is a much-debated topic. Many say it’s a waste of money having them in the UK as it’s never cold enough for them to have any effect. Others find that they are worth it and say that they feel safer driving with winter tyres in winter.

One of the main misconceptions about winter tyres is that they are only useful if it snows. Seeing that there is little snow in the UK it’s easy to dismiss them on that basis. The fact is, though, that they can be useful way before frosty conditions come round. The general rule is that if it’s under 7C degrees, they grip the road better than summer tyres. They will improve handling and braking no matter whether it snows or rains.

Do you need winter tyres?

Winter tyres have clear advantages in some weather conditions. Their design can really help to cope with bad and cold weather. And can help stop your car much sooner if you brake on snow or ice.

That said, it is less clear if you actually need them. Remember, in large parts of the UK it is barely cold enough in winter for winter tyres to have much effect. On top of that snow in most parts of the country is a rare sight. After all, the UK is not quite Austria. It might just be that weather conditions in your area might be so mild that there is not much point getting them.

Consumer advice organisation Which? has suggested that it will depend on where you are whether they would be useful. It would mean that it makes sense to get some if you are in a colder part of the UK. There where bad winter weather conditions are far more likely. If you mostly drive in a city environment where it’s less cold, the tyres may have less use.

When to get winter tyres?

Winter tyres are not compulsory in the winter months in the UK, so it is always a personal choice. Unlike in most other European countries where they are mandatory. If you do decide to have them fitted, then the time most people get them is around October. That way you’re in time for the first bits of cold weather and are all prepared for when it starts freezing.

What to do with your summer tyres?

That leaves you with your summer tyres, though, which have to be stored somewhere. If you have a garage or shed this is no problem. If you haven’t got the space the decision to get some may be a lot more complicated. Many tyre fitters nowadays offer summer tyre storage for a small price.

Top Tips

For any tyre to work well, it needs to be in good condition and inflated to the right level. A winter tyre that is worn and underinflated may work no better in winter than a brand-new summer tyre. On the other hand, a summer tyre that has almost worn beyond the legal limit will be no good even if it is summer. That’s why it’s very important to ensure at any time of the year that the tyre tread depth is well within the legal limit. On top of that, make sure your tyres are inflated to the right level. This will help the tyres perform better, your car will be a safer place to be in and will waste less fuel in the process.

 

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50% of Used Cars Fail at Least One Category During a Pre-Purchase Inspection

We have tapped into our pre-purchase inspection data to reveal that 50% of used cars will score poorly in at least one category during a pre-purchase inspection.

Pre-purchase inspections tend to be broken down into several categories which will analyse the working condition of all aspects on a used car. ClickMechanic’s is broken down into twelve categories to include all necessary checks such as the electrics, brakes and the handling of the vehicle. By using our data from the last 2,000 inspections, we have determined which areas often cause the most trouble for motorists looking to buy.

In fact, looking at each category individually, the electricals/controls as well as the wheels and tyres are the most likely to cause an issue with 23% of used cars scoring poorly in these areas during inspection. This is followed by the body exterior with 18% along with the road test and engine compartment categories equally with 17%. After which, the suspension and brakes appear to cause the most problems; 12% of cars will score poorly on inspection of the front suspension, brakes and steering and 11% will do the same for the rear suspension and brakes.

The less likely areas to need addressing after an inspection include the underside condition of the car, with 8% of cars facing issues in this region, as well as the clutch and transmission with 5%. Mechanics will also find faults with the exhaust system in 3% of used cars during a pre-purchase inspection as well as problems with the brake hydraulics and fuel system in 2% of used vehicles.

Given this, pre-purchase inspections tend to reveal more wear and tear in the electrics and the physical state of the car, such as the wheels and exterior, than the actual handling of the car. This includes faults with the clutch, which, despite being one of the most common repairs for every motorist, is not a very common issue to face during a pre-purchase inspection. This suggests that the seller is more likely to repair any mechanical handling issues rather than any faulty electrical components such as the heating or lights, or the wheels themselves. However, it is worrying to see that 13% of cars will score poorly in at least one category involving the brakes.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic said: “Any motorist looking to buy a used car should take care to ensure that it is in full working order – no one wants a surprisingly expensive repair bill, not to mention the importance of safety! A pre-purchase inspection should always be conducted and you should remember to take the additional costs into account before buying the vehicle.”

Faulty Brakes Are the Most Common Vehicle Defect in all Road Accidents, but Defective Tyres Takes the Top Spot for Cars

We have analysed the latest figures from the Department for Transport and can reveal that faulty brakes are the number one vehicle defect to contribute to 2016’s road accidents. However, looking just at cars, flawed tyres are in fact the most common defect to cause an incident.

With a total of 446 incidents, faulty tyres are the primary vehicle defect and contributing factor to car accidents in 2016. This is followed by defective brakes with 365 incidents, imperfect steering or suspension with 180 accidents and overloaded vehicles with 54 incidents. Defective lights or indicators (46 accidents) and mirrors (8 incidents) are less common and feature at the bottom of the table.

Looking at all recorded vehicles in road accidents, damaged brakes are more likely to cause an incident. This is because other vehicles such as motorbikes, buses and particularly bicycles, have recorded more issues with brakes than tyres. However, interestingly all vehicles in the UK are much more likely to have an incident involving defective tyres on the motorway, rather than as a result of imperfect brakes (85 incidents versus 17). This is because under inflated tyres will overheat quickly, particularly at high speeds, and can consequently ‘blow out’ and cause an accident. Whereas on A Roads, faulty brakes assume the top spot once again, as drivers brake more regularly.

Focusing on location, the South East has the highest number of accidents caused by vehicle defects, with 297 incidents. In contrast, the North East appears to take better care of their vehicles as only 46 vehicle defect related road accidents are recorded. Looking at our capital, defective brakes (85 incidents) are much more likely to cause an issue than faulty tyres (34 incidents); the constant braking and lower speeds when driving in London perhaps being the greatest influence to this. The only two regions in which defective tyres are significantly more likely to cause an incident than faulty brakes are Scotland and the East Midlands.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Tyres and brakes control the movement of the car and so can easily cause a collision if they’re not in proper working condition. Being the top two occurring vehicle defects in 2016 emphasises that some UK drivers are not servicing their car regularly, or conducting simple checks, such as measuring the air pressure in the tyres. All drivers should follow their manufacturer’s recommended schedule and ensure that any anomalies are assessed by a professional as soon as possible. Doing so severely reduces the likelihood of these defects and keeps both yourself and other drivers safe on the road.”