Inside infirm nation

I bought a new model Skoda Superb and took delivery on 1st December last year. Model is 2.0 Elegance with the 170BHP CR engine. I live in Welwyn Garden City where the roads are in a scandalous state. We were forced into a pot hole around January time. After that the car pulled to left slightly. We took it to the main dealer, who arranged for the tracking to be checked and adjusted. It was slightly out, just out of limit. My partner and I drive the car gently. We regard it as a "very comfortable cruiser" And typically drive it to see how good a MPG we can get - typically achieving around 58MPG on long trips (at the speed limit) and 50MPG overall. So we are not mad speed freaks tearing around corners and screaming away form traffic lights. In April this year the car had its first service @10,000 miles. During this service they noticed that the front tyres had worn down very badly on the inside edge. At the outer edge there was around 5mm tread left, in the middle it was around 4mm and the inside edge was <1mm. The band affected is very narrow. This was on BOTH front tyres. The Dealer contacted Skoda UK asking for advice. Skoda UK told the dealer to have a full geometry check done. This was arranged with a specialist. The figures came back that the car was "in spec" - albeit not quite optimal and getting close to certain limits. They tweaked it slightly. I have full print outs of the "before and after". Also, on consultation with the dealer, we decided to use the "full load" tyres pressures. The Tyres were replaced. At my expense. Best part of £310 for a pair. After a lot of nagging, we finally heard again (via Dealer) from Skoda UK. Their position is A) The tyres were worn. B) They have been replaced. C) The Geometry is OK. "So everything is OK, job done, no problem." - I paraphrase slightly. But only slightly. I'm trying to get the response in writing currently. Bloody cheek. I am aware of the problem with those awful "speed pillows". They are rife around here. I've seen several comments about this in your columns. Since the tyres were replaced we have actively avoid them and where avoidance is not possible, arranged to go over them, very slowly, with on tyre going over the middle of the cushions. I.E. We do not "centralise them" any more. Near me there is a branch of ATS where I know the manager who has given me great service over many years, and who I trust. I explained the situation and asked him to take a look, which he did. Despite everything above and despite the fact that the new tyres have only done 1500 miles, he was quickly able to show me that they are rapidly wearing badly on the inside edges. You can easily both see and feel the damaged area. The Dealer has gone back to Skoda UK - this time to the "Customer Care" rather than the "technical" department. But I don't have much confidence. Any ideas - either regarding what we should do or what might be the problem? Regarding speed humps and speed cushions, is there a campaign to have these blasted things removed from our roads?

Asked on 25 July 2009 by

Answered by Honest John
Combination of factors. Partly bent suspension from the pothole incident. Though the geometry can be adjusted to get it theoretically correct, it will always be affected by a bent component.

Partly speed cushions. However slowly you drive over them, the inner
shoulders of the tyres are forced outwards by the considerable weight of the car engine and transmission and they simply scrub off rubber. This has been worse since the February frosts when the edges of speed cushions started to crumble and abrade inner shoulders of car tyres to shreds.

All the suspension arms and links for the wheel that went into the
pothole. You might be able to get this on insurance, but than lose your NCD.

CASH (Campaign Against Speed Humps) is still running. But all I can do is continually bash away against them in my newspaper column. I don't have the time or resources to do more than that.

My current tactic is to challenge there effect on road safety, because I
think that tyre and suspension damage caused by humps merely displaces crashes from the locality of the humps to open roads and causes more injury and death than the humps prevent.

I am also exposing the sleaze behind them. Local government got labour government grants 'ring fenced' to only be used for installing 'traffic calming measures'. They then put the work out to favoured contractors who got as much as £500 per speed cushion. This is taxpayers money that should have been used to keep the roads in good condition, not festoon them with humps. And is the reason why there isn't enough left in the kitty to repair the potholes.

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