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Sue and I went to pick up the van from Glossop Caravans this morning after its service. They actually rang me yesterday lunchtime to let me know it was ready for collection, but Sue was up to her elbows in theatre doing something fantastically tricky with someones blood while someone else fiddled and generally prodded and poked around with the heart… don’t ask it might put you off your sammich. A full service complete with Gas Check and Damp Check (and I’m happy to announce we are officially dry as the Mojave) came to the grand total of £201.20. Not too shabby really. The front sticking blind had been replaced under warranty and the magnetic strip on the shower door likewise.

I’d like to just mention that it doesn’t actually take 6 days for a service. We had no timescale so for us it didn’t matter. You can book your van in with Glossop for a specific day, or even better, travel there, overnight (by prior arrangement), and while you go off and try to empty Glossop’s shops of things that are way too heavy that you just absolutely can’t live without, they will service your van for you. All very civilised really…. just don’t ask them to balance your wheels!

No Shake or Rattle but plenty of Roll

Thomas inspecting the first wheel

Still wanting to get the wheels balanced, I did a bit of research (well that’s what they used to call it… now they call it Googling). After reading up on a couple of the motoring forums I frequent from time to time Mobi-Tyre’s name kept being banded about. Mobi-Tyre are an “RAC Authorised Roadside Contractor” and their operation is a franchise set up, so it’s in each technician’s own interest to offer good customer service. I rang them yesterday arranged for someone to meet us at the storage location at 11:00am and balance the tyres for us. Just before eleven, Thomas rang me to let me know he was five minutes away, and sure enough bang on eleven he rolled up to the gates of the storage compound.

I’d left the van coupled to the Freelander as jacking a van up on its own is a risky operation. It’s so easy for the caravan to pivot off the jack as the hand brake doesn’t always lock the wheels – the auto reverse mechanism can still allow the wheel to rotate backwards a certain amount even when fully applied. Wheel chocks can and do move, especially on some loose surfaces. Plus, that’s what it says in the owners handbook and who am I to disagree?

I pulled the van forward about 10 feet to allow Thomas easy access to each side. He jacked up the van in the correct place and removed the first wheel. After giving it a thorough inspection he fitted the wheel on his balancing machine and spun it. It wasn’t too bad…. only 40 grams needed.

Nearside wheel done – only 40 grams needed.

The offside wheel next. Again, Thomas gave the wheel a full inspection and pointed out the mark on the tyre known as the “balance dot” which is the lightest point of the tyre and should be placed next to the heavyset point of the wheel which is the tyre valve. Ok  why should a tyre be heavier at one point I hear you ask… well even if you didn’t I’ll enlighten you anyway (Sue will only ask when she reads this anyhow). When they manufacture a tyre there is a point where the carcass plies and belts overlap and this is the heaviest point. When you fit a tyre onto a rim, you place the heaviest part of the tyre opposite the heaviest part of the wheel rim. To help you do this, manufacturers place a small painted dot opposite the heaviest part of the tyre so that all you need to do is position the dot next to the valve. So now you know and you can rush out and see if the guy that fitted your tyres knew about this.

Thomas’ van is fitted out with all the latest equipment – and a big plus is it was well organised, tidy and clean. Which for me is always a good sign.

Unfortunately the guy that fitted the tyre to the offside wheel didn’t and he was about 90 degrees out. However, the offside only required 30 grams, so wasn’t too far out, enough to rattle the glasses but not cause the champagne to explode!

So for a few pounds and less than an hour of our time we now have two perfectly balanced wheels. The near side required 40 grams and the offside 30 grams to keep the wheels rolling smoothly. Hopefully this will give us a nice smooth event free trip down to Devon in a few weeks followed by our first venture into French France a couple of weeks after that.

The engineer in me still cannot understand why manufacturers don’t do this or even specify that the wheels are balanced by the supplier before assembly, although the message is maybe getting through as I believe two manufacturers are having their wheels balanced now. If you haven’t had your wheels balanced on your caravan… why not? For what it costs, its one of those ‘no brainers’ as they say. Also, next time you are in your dealers, just ask them if they balance wheels and if not… why not?

What do I think of Mobi-Tyre? They are an RAC Approved Roadside Contractor, they answered the phone straight away when I rang them (0800 055 6099 and they have a local charge mobile number too on their website – www.mobi-tyre.com). They arrived on time. Thomas was efficient and thoroughly checked each wheel before balancing it, the only thing I couldn’t do was tell him what to torque the wheel bolts to… I’d forgotten to take the manual with me (I put it down to advancing age!). So Thomas torqued them to 100Nm…. For future reference I need to torque them to 115Nm or 85Lb/ft.

Would I recommend Mobi-Tyre to others?…. Yes based on my experience today.

Thanks for reading

S

PS… I now have a sticker ready to put inside one of the locker doors with the torque and tyre pressure on!