TI – 06 That Deflated Feeling


By Mike Sampson

I was going to take the Renown out for a spin last Thursday afternoon but when I got it out of the garage I discovered that the rear nearside tyre was completely flat. I must admit to being a bit disappointed as the tyres and tubes are all new with less than 200 miles on them. I took the wheel off and replaced it with the spare. On first inspection I couldn’t see any evidence of a puncture so suspected a fault with the tube.

I hadn’t realised how few tyre ‘specialists’ there are these days who are prepared to deal with tubed tyres but luckily, living in a farming area, there are one or two about who are used to dealing with tractor tyres, most of which are tubed. On recommendation of my farmer neighbour I enlisted the services of a mobile tyre specialist who arrived this morning with a new tube.

Removing the tyre from the rim immediately identified the cause of the flat. The tube had been scuffing on the rivets which fasten the rim to the wheel centre creating a hole. Modern, that is post mid-1950s steel wheels are of a welded construction and are usually airtight so don’t need a tube.

An old steel wheel – not one of Mike’s – showing the central rivet-heads, and also the width of the deep central well into which the tyre bead can drop, if you drive with it completely deflated. This is less likely if you have tubed tyres.

The other issue was that the person who fitted the tyre hadn’t used a plastic ferrule around the valve which was a smaller diameter than the hole in the wheel that it goes through, this will allow movement and would eventually cause failure.

The problems were easily remedied using insulation tape wrapped around the inside of the wheel over the rivets to prevent them chafing the inner tube. Anyone who is familiar with bicycle wheels, tyres and tubes will know that rim tape is fitted to the inside of the wheels to prevent the inner tube chafing on the spoke heads, exactly the same issue. The new tube was correctly refitted with the tyre and the fitter even suggested and used talcum powder between the inside of the tyre and the tube to reduce friction between the two components.

I have asked the fitter to return and refit the rest of the tyres correctly as a matter of safety and to avoid the inconvenience of flat tyres. I will be taking the matter up with the firm who fitted the tyres and tubes originally while the car was away for repainting. I don’t expect much joy but it will be worthwhile if it alerts them to this issue.

Another day at school for me, never too old to learn something – and it might be worth bearing in mind when you come to get new tyres fitted on your Renown.

Regards, Mike Sampson