Stuart Lovatt

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What happened?

I recently took delivery of a hire car as I was taking a journey for work. This was to be a round trip of about 300 hundred miles so our policy is to use a hire car for these journeys and not use our own private vehicles. I took delivery of the keys on the morning of my journey and as required I did the hand over checks, fuel damage, boot etc. I also inspected the tyres, not just the usual glance  and random kick of the tyre but a more thoughtful check remembering the well-known acronym ACT, Air, Condition, Tread. All seemed fine until I got to the front off-side tyre. Tread and Condition were fine but to me it looked a little under inflated even to a visual inspection so I raised this with the delivery driver whose immediate response was a perfunctory kick at the offending tyre and then turning to me stated it would be fine as I only had a single day hire and he would get it looked at when I returned the car that evening. Surprised and unconvinced I stated I was going a long way most of it by motorway and at higher speeds so would like it checking properly. He stated he didn’t have a tyre pressure gauge with him so he would have to take it away again,  I kindly offered him mine upon which it clearly showed the tyre was significantly under inflated and so I asked him to get it looked at properly. This was obviously very frustrating for him but as the customer is always right as they say off he went with  a promise to return shortly.

I waited some thirty minutes getting more worried that I would be late for my noon appointment but then got a call from the garage to say they would be with me shortly with a new car. Upon arrival I asked why they had changed the car and it turned out that the driver had not returned to his depot but had called into a local tyre dealership that was closer and asked them to double check the tyre and put some air in it.  Upon inspection the garage condemned the tyre as there was some hidden damage that could not be seen from a glance and could not be repaired and had to order a new one before the car could leave.

I thanked them for my new car and prepared for my journey thinking I was glad I had insisted on getting the tyre checked.  I was going a long distance mostly on a motorway, what could have happened if that tyre had failed at speed! So as you see it did ‘happen to me’ so always ACT on tyres especially before long journeys.

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