Sunday, 11 October 2015

Kwik Tyre Fitting

So fitting time for the new tyres. I contacted my local Kwik Fit to arrange a professional fitment and setup, as I wanted to ensure the car was properly aligned to prevent the type of tyre wear I'd seen on the old tyres.

The chaps at the local Burnley outlet were very friendly and accommodating. Before they'd even started on the wheels they gave the car a complimentary screen clean and topped up my screenwash.

I'm sure plenty of you have had your car's tyres replaced, and it's the same process pretty much wherever you go, just that some places have more up-to-date technology, and that's why I chose a big national outfit instead of the man on the corner. Kwik Fit brag of having this awesome tracking alignment system, as my tyres had had such bad wear I was assuming the set-up was badly wrong - and Kwik Fit would be the people to put it right with their funky equipment.

Back to the tyres and whilst I waited for my turn to be served I was given an informative video to watch, about tyre balancing and alignment and why these are important factors impacting upon your tyre life. 

When my time came around the lads popped the wheels off one at a time and set about fitting some fresh 17-inch rubber. The first job is to break the seal between the tyre and the wheel rim to let all the air out. Using a specialist piece of equipment, with various tools for different parts of the job of tyre changing and wheel balancing, the seal was broken and the wheel moved ready for the next stage.


Here the wheel is clamped from underneath and rotated as pry-tool is inserted between the tyre and wheel in order to lift the edge of the tyre over the rim for easy removal. As the wheel rotates, more of the tyre is flipped to the other side of the wheel rim.

The rim of the wheel was then scrubbed to remove any residue or old rubber or tyre weld or what not that could have been inside. Cleaning the wheel is essential to ensure a tight seal of the new tyre against the wheel rim to prevent air leaks.


A little grease is applied to the rim to enable easy fitting a air tight seal. The new tyre is the fitted using a very similar technique to the one used to remove the tyre. The new tyre is placed on the wheel and the edge is pryed over the lip of the wheel rim until one side of the tyre is on. Then repeat with the other edge of the tyre.

The wheel rim and tyres are given a quick spray clean and a wipe to remove any excess grease or dirt before being inflated with a reassuring pop when the tyre seals into place against the rim. One of four done...  repeat four times.


But this is not the end. Of course the wheels each need balancing. This is done to ensure weight around the wheel is evenly distributed, otherwise the wheel won't rotate evenly, causing excess wear and poor driving feedback through the wheels. 

Over time, wheels that were perfectly balanced after manufacturing can pick up knocks and scuffs which can cause imbalances. To counteract this each wheel is rotated on a special machine to 'feel' whether the wheel is equally balanced. 

The highly sensitive machine can detect imbalances and inform the technician where a weight and of what size is needed, and where on the wheel. These small weights are stuck to the inside of your wheel's rim in the precise place it is needed to balance the wheel. These are removed and replaced at every tyre fitting/balancing.


So that was the relatively easy bit, fitting the new rubber. But I'm more concerned about the tracking. Given the shocking state of my rear tyres I am expecting the alignment to be really far out - and hopefully the can fix it! Find out next time...


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