Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

If it’s stopped, it’s parked IX

This one’s a little different from the usual amusing parking attempts, since the potential for problems from this parking attempt apply to the driver, rather than pedestrians.

It’s not uncommon to see vehicles parked with one tyre only partially on the footpath, or to be perhaps a little more accurate, the kerb. I’ve been impressed/surprised to see them with only a few centimetres of their width on the kerb, yet the tyre is undistorted (makes me wonder what pressure they are inflated to). This is usually relatively harmless, with the damage to the tyre likely to arise from it being forced to ride up over the kerb to get from the road to the footpath. While this is relatively harmless if the tyre is driven slowly and straight on to the kerb (as happens when driving into an entrance), this manoeuvre is usually carried out from side, while parking parallel to the kerb, potentially nipping the tyre sidewall between the wheel and the kerb. This damage can lead to the failure of sidewall, with the potential for a sudden deflation (or blowout) at speed, or a slow deflation of the tyre if the nip causes a puncture to be made in the sidewall.

I spotted the example below while heading home one evening, and would not like to be driving this car on this tyre, which was left with the full weight of the car on the trapped sidewall.

Worse still, while I was trying to get a better pic, the jumbo sized driver added their weight (and their take-away meal) to the car, and proceeded to run the poor trapped sidewall back and forward on the kerb a couple of times before getting out of the parking space and driving away.

I dread to think what state the sidewall and internal structure were in after that treatment.

Peugeot tyre damage

Tyre damage

Peugeot tyre damage

Tyre damage

I had a fairly graphic illustration of the sort of damage this can cause a few years ago.

My company car was used as the company runabout for a time, and I did not trust the person employed for this job.

A few days after a new set of tyres had been fitted, I had to make a few long trips on business, and found that by the time I got home (and had covered over 500 miles) the car was almost undriveable above 40-50 mph, and at 70 mph I could not even read the instruments, such was the level of vibration from the steering wheel.

The car was leased, so I was able to take it to the nearest tyre outlet to have the tyres balanced, as I thought it had just thrown a balance weight.


After the guy tried balancing both front tyres he gave up on one and carried out a more detailed check – and found that the sidewall was broken.

I (then) didn’t understand how a rubber sidewall could even be broken, but he showed me how to manipulate it, and was able to see how it was indeed broken below the surface, just like a piece of wood. It could have blown apart at speed, which would have happened catastrophically and totally, and could have been fatal since this was a front tyre.

Since I consider my tyres to be life-critical items, I knew I hadn’t damaged this one, and had a few choice words for our temporary driver the next day, although she pleaded ignorance, and probably had no idea about how to look after tyres anyway. And there was no way I could prove it was her carelessness that ruined the tyre.

But, on another occasion, she handed me the keys and mentioned that the steering was a bit stiff, and headed for the door.

When I looked at the front tyres I found one was completely flat, and had been driven like that for so long that the rubber on the sidewalls had been completely worn off, and the tyre was a write-off.

A ‘bit stiff’ was an understatement, as that car did not have power steering, and took two hands to turn a corner with the tyre in that state.

She didn’t give a damn, and would only have wanted to get back to the office in Glasgow and hand me the keys, as she was clueless, and could not have changed the tyre.


May 28, 2014 - Posted by | Transport | ,

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