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Our Cars: Mazda6 2.2 D SE-L Auto

6 October 2013: HJ Gets a Puncture

The Details

Current Mileage 10,536
Claimed Economy 58.9mpg
Actual Economy 50 5mpg

Happlly it was a warm, sunny October day when the TPMS warning light came up on the dash of my long-term Mazda 6.

Having set off just before 06.00am, I had been about 2/3 through my journey north on the A1M, making sedate but good progress with the cruise set at 73 (a true 70 on the TomTom). But a warning light doesn't flash without a reason.

So I pulled over, off the hard shoulder onto the grass, and kicked all the tyres. 

None seemed flat, or even soft, so I drove back onto the carriageway figuring to check the tyres at Wetherby Services.

All OK. All registering 35PSI. Until I got to the rear nearside. That was 15PSI. And the reason cound be seen poking out of the very lightly worn tread.

Mazda 6 Cause Of Puncture

I had a multi-tool in my bag. And, after a bit of a struggle, I managed to pull the offending spike out of the tyre. It looked like the handle of of a miniature nail clipper.

Then, figuring that the 'tyre repair kit' must be able to seal such a small hole, I set to work, following the instructions precisely:

Let the air out of the tyre; unscrew the core; squeeze the bottle of latex-like glop into the tyre; replace the core; re-inflate the tyre; and Bob should have been my uncle.

Except the air, now accompanied by white latex-like glop, was still fizzing out of the tyre.

Mazda 6 Punctured Tyre

So, find the Mazda emergency number. Discover it had changed in March, but get put through to the right number. Tell the chap I will need a new Toyo 225/55 R17 97V tyre. And wait. 

It wasn't long before a helpful fellow from the RAC was on the line and he set to work looking for a Toyo 225/55 R17 97V.

20 minutes later, he called again to say he couldn't find one that size; only a Michelin. So I asked him to make that the fallback and keep looking.

20 minutes later he called again to tell me he couldn't find any Toyos and was sending a patrol to make a temporary repair or otherwise get me to Kwik-Fit in Harrogate.

I'd never read so much of the Saturday Telegraph on a Saturday.

20 minutes after that, a cheerful, friendly, helpful RAC man arrived and made a temporary repair to the now ruined tyre (you can't permanently repair a tyre full of glop).

Mazda 6 RAC Man

Then we drove 9 miles to join the usual Saturday traffic jam into Harrogate.

By that time it was pushing 01.00pm, and Kwik Fit was busy, so I had to wait a further hour (fair enough).

The price was going to be a card-hammering £257 for a 225/55 R17 Michelin Primacy 3.

Mazda 6 Kwik Fit Harrogate

Just after 02.00pm I was on my way again, joining the Saturday traffic jam out of Harrogate, £257 lighter.

The rest of the journey went fine. On the 46 mile cross-country section the car felt fine, despite one odd tyre. And I finally arrived at just after 04.00pm, ten hours after I set out, which is twice the normal time for the journey.

But what if this has happened in the small hours of the morning? And instead of a sunny 16C, I'd been stuck in freezing rain?

My point here is that not only was the tyre repair kit useless at repairing a small puncture, it was worse than useless.

It was a con.

Using it ruined the tyre, making it unrepairable, forcing me to spend £257 on a replacement.

Cars are supplied with this rubbish to get the CO2 down a few g/km in the EC emissions test to qualify for a lower tax bracket. And, of course to save the manufacturers money.

But they are Type Approved with these useless kits, so the manufacturer cannot supply a full size spare or a space saver as a factory option. All a dealer can do is offer it as a dealer supplied accessory.

Skoda does this at the point or sale. The sales people warn buyers of the consequences of no spare wheel and recommend a space saver, jack and brace at an extra £100 or so. Mazda charges £350.

I urge all manufacturers to do the same. And all car buyers to take up the option.

I lost 5 hours and £257. You could lose a lot more.

 

« Earlier: Mazda 6 Gets its First Service     Later: 11,000 Miles in 8 Months, and Cameras »

Updates
HJ bids a tearful goodbye to his Mazda 6, a car so good his spare car spent almost a whole year in the garage.
As HJ's Mazda 6 Skyactiv 2.2d 150 auto nears 13,000 miles and winter sets in the fuel economy has dipped to around 49mpg, but the car remains a delight to drive.
HJ's Mazda 6 is now up to 12,212 miles, had a service, been photographed by CP Plus, and acquired a camera of its own.
6 October 2013: HJ Gets a Puncture
HJ gets a puncture and discovers how much worse than useless a 'tyre repair kit' can be.
A slightly early service was not only prudent, it gave us a chance to check out Mazda's new online booking system.
HJ's Mazda 6 has been clocking up the miles very pleasurably, but it will soon be time to start thinking about a first service.
HJ gets rear-ended at a roundabout
HJ feeds his Mazda 6 on Shell V-Power Nitro+ and notices a 3mpg improvement in economy.
HJ gets his long term Mazda6 absolutely filthy clocking up another 1,000 miles in a week.
HJ took delivery of his Mazda6 Skyactiv 2.2d 150PS SE-L Nav automatic in February. Here's how he got on over the first 965 miles
 

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