Not surprising but very annoying! Once again Norauto have appeared in my sights for lying to one of my customers.
Last time they annoyed me it was for telling people that tyres on an axle have to be from the same manufacturer as well as the same type & size. This meant that should you have a reason to change one tyre & Norauto were unable to provide the exact same one, you would be told to buy a pair “it’s the law”. It is not! It does not even matter if the tread pattern is not the same. They really should read their own industry guide book!
They quite often use the tyre changing process to “find” faults with your steering/suspension, sometimes just after a CT station with all its dedicated test equipment has checked it & found no fault! Hmmm…
The latest scam happened to one of my customers who took their sports car in to have a slow puncture fixed.
An operative looked at the tyre & said that the tyres were over 10 years old & were therefore illegal! A set of 4 was required. My customer, wanting to be both safe & legal, felt compelled to order them straight away. She had to pay a 100 euro non refundable deposit with the other 400 payable before fitting. I told her to cancel not knowing the cancellation clause.
It is possible to date modern tyres but there is NO law concerning the age of tyres. If your tyre is in sound condition they can be 50 years old & perfectly legal. Again, the actual law is in their own industry guide book.
Trouble is, motoring centre employees are told to sell, sell, sell but do they have to lie, lie, lie?
Not surprising but very annoying! Once again Norauto have appeared in my sights for lying to one of my customers.
I need 2 new front tyres at the moment, and I’d decided to get them from Norauto. Not so sure now. Are they the French equivalent of Kwik Fit? Any recommendations?
Surely that’s how commerce works. Chris, if you know what you want and Norauto sell them at the right price you will be fine. If they tell you that you need something else done use common sense or get a second opinion. Personally I use Euromaster, you select and buy the tyres online then arrange a rendezvous at the same time. My local one offers a great service and the prices have always been spot on too.
You are probably right David. I’m in danger of judging them without having used them, and that can’t be right!
Chris, if you know you need two tyres, not just one, & the price is right then David is right. If the fitter then starts pointing out that other work “needs” doing then be on your guard & get a second opinion. I have a devis here from Roady for repair on a customer’s car which went in for a tyre. It lists most of the front suspension but when I checked I found a tiny bit of play in one joint on one side & all the rest was in exellent condition.
These companies should do what the customer wishes.
Yes I agree. I had thought that fitters pointing out other work that needs (doesn’t really) doing was a uniquely UK thing. I once turned up for an appointment at a Quik Fit and was told that 2 of the fitters were late and still a bit drunk after a late night out. I declined their services…
I use Speedy - part of the Kwik-Fit group. Always been really pleased with them for both price and service.
We were urged to buy online by our local guys who admitted that they could not possibly match the prices.
So we then get them fitted by our local garagiste for a very nominal sum.
I’ve done that for years, pneus-online or 123pneus, allopneus etc. depending on who’s cheaper. Delivered to my fitter of choice, who then contacts me when they’re delivered. Much simpler and cheaper than ordinary tyre fitters.
I use Euromaster because they allow you to order online at ‘online’ prices then book your rendezvous. A great service. Earlier this year I tried sourcing some motorcycle tyres online then finding a fitter close to my home. It was driving me mad until I discovered the main dealer could beat them all on price and was far more convenient.
I highly recommend AlloPneus. Great online company who come and fit the tyres at your home. All experiences I have had are with polite professional people not trying to up-sell me to more stuff. I had one issue with balance weights catching on the brake caliper and they came back immediately and resolved the problem.
I had the same thing with the Renault agency in Gace. Recovered our motorhome from the autoroute with a puncture. We didn’t have a spare wheel, just a pump doodah as supplied nowadays. He took us to his garage, our insurance company paying the recovery charges. He then demanded over 800€ for 2 tyres. If we didn’t like it then go elsewhere, which we couldn’t. So, we had to pay up. 800 euros for a puncture!
The moral of this story is get a spare.
Many years ago I learned that the UK police always changed both tyres on the relevant axle after a puncture. So I was not surprised when my local Eurotyres concession informed me that it was now a legal requirement to change both tyres if one was irreparable. But legal or not, would you really want to be driving on tyres that would respond differently when braking in an emergency? An extra €50 doesn’t seem like a lot to save a life.
If you are lucky enough to have a car with 5 proper wheels, you can swap the good wheel with the spare (depending on which one is in the better condition.) But if your car only has one of those horrible “Get you to the garage” things, why not buy a spare rim from the “Casse Auto” and have the tyre people put the new tyre on that. You will then be able to keep the part-worn tyre as a spare. Could come in handy if you get a puncture at an inconvenient moment.
Two points here, Mike. The first is that police cars are expected to be driven at speeds well beyond those encountered by the average motorist, in fact at times very close to the car’s maximum capability.
Secondly, the customer has the right to choose! There is so little difference between the grip provided by one manufacturer’s tyre compared to another that to mix them makes very little difference to the overall handling of a car at the sort of speeds which are legal. Roads are irregular in surface, camber and condition so that the tyre to road surface contact for each tyre at any instant is not uniform anyway . When you add to that the different forces applying at any moment on each wheel through cornering, acceleration and load then I suspect tyre make is relatively unimportant on its own.Tyres have a speed, grip & noise rating which must be the same on both tyres of whatever make to avoid any significant difference in handling. Provided that the tyres on the same axle have the same specifications they will not respond very differently. If they did then it would be law to have the same manufacturer as well as all the other criteria. If there was a difference I would agree with you but then you would have to change ALL your tyres to ensure a balanced car. Having said that the French tyre trade’s White Book does strongly advise using the same manufacturer as well as the same specs but that is very different to being told that it is law.
I do not hold with lying to customers! The point is that to be told that something is THE LAW when it is not is misleading at least going on to being a criminal act! This is the point of my post.
For information. There are various manufacturers who market a wet weather tyre. These are graded for wet stopping distances on a scale of A to G. The difference in braking distance in the wet between grades is 3 to 6 metres. The difference between a new tyre & a tyre worn to its legal minimum is 10 metres
I’ve always used http://www.allopneus.fr. No salesmen - you decide what you need, order it at the cheapest prices around and they fit at your house or deliver to a local garage for them to fit. Massive choice of tyres. To me it’s a no brainer.
" Roads are irregular in surface, camber and condition so that the tyre to road surface contact for each tyre at any instant is not uniform anyway." is a very good argument for not making the situation worse by having unmatched tyres on the same axle.
Modern family cars far outperform the sports cars of my youth, but the only contact with the road is still just a few square inches of rubber.
To my shame, I have to confess that there was a time when I only changed the tyres on my Mini when the canvas was showing through the rubber! But times have changed and I am more risk averse than I was in my youth.
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that with front wheel drive vehicles, it is advisable to put the new tyres at the back and move the old ones to the front of the car. Apart from reducing the chances of a rear wheel breakaway in slippery conditions, it means that rear tyres get replaced more frequently - and rubber does deteriorate over time, there is plenty of information about that on the Internet.
It is possible, even likely, that tyre fitters are economical with the truth, but put yourself in their position. If you drive out of their place and get involved in a major accident the following day, they will take the blame for failing in their duty to ensure that your car was as safe as they could make it.
I take your point, Mike, one is responsible for ensuring the general safety of one’s vehicle, aided by the CT & your garage if you use one. I cannot recall a situation where a serious accident has been the result of different brands of tyres having been fitted on one axle - different tyre pressures are a far more likely & common cause. Certainly there has never been a case when the tyre fitter or his company has been found in any way liable when a customer has chosen to allow different makes of tyres to be fitted then had an accident. Perhaps you know differently? Either way, it is a very weak justification to accept blatant lying!
When Norauto told my customer that she had to change her tyres because the law says so was a lie, pure & simple. Old tyres can begin to break down but the process is affected by so many variables the actual age that this can start can be as little as 5 years or as much as 25 years. This is why we have a thing called a Controle Technique. Tyres are then subject to inspection every 2 years & if there are any signs of problems the inspector will inform the owner. I have often found that a car examined by a CT station on one day & given an almost clean bill of health but may have a tyre with a worn outer edge, for example, will be taken to Norauto to have the tyre replaced & the tracking checked only to be told that the tracking cannot be carried out because the track rod ends, top or bottom swivels or wishbone bushes, (all of which are thoroughly tested on special machines during the CT) are badly worn - this by somebody without any test equipment! If play in these components was that bad the car would have had these parts noted on the failure certificate. Who would you believe?
I have no expert knowledge about differences in roadholding characteristics between tyres from different manufacturers, but I do know from personal experience that it is not a good idea to have one worn tyre and one new one on the same axle.
The CT is required every two years, which is far too long. High mileage drivers will need to change tyres in less than that time to be safe and legal. You have only to go out at night to know that two years is too long. Too many cars are being driven with badly adjusted or missing lights and if the problem occurred just after a CT, they could be driving around like that for a very long time. If their tyres get the same attention as their lighting, they are putting themselves and every other road user at risk.
My earliest memory of a tyre failure is from the days before tubeless. In a busy city street we saw a pre-war banger with an inner tube herniating out of a split in the sidewall. Onlookers were waving and shouting, but the driver carried on oblivious. It was only when the swelling was the size of a football and finally burst with a sound like a pistol shot that her stopped to investigate. Those were the days!
I certainly agree that the 2 year test is a bit of a stretch! The condition of one’s car is the responsibility of the driver first & regular visual checks are important. If one does not know what to look for your local garage should be happy to help & advise. Trouble is, companies such as Norauto cannot be trusted to give that advice honestly & to tell my customer whose tyres were in perfect, safe & useable condition that the LAW says they must be changed is criminal! This culture of lying just to sell more stuff does nothing to enhance a trade whose reputation is less than perfect. I knew of a “mechanic” who would charge top money to change a cambelt but not actually do anything! The customer has to take it on trust that the job has been done. This guy would hope that the old belt would last long enough for the customer to sell the car on or move away!
Tell the customer the truth, if the car is less than safe,say so! Don’t create jobs for yourself just to earn money from someone (who may be struggling financially).
The aim of my post is to warn of misdirection purely for financial gain. By all means advise the customer, don’t intimidate them!