Nothing like the surprise of a blowout on the motorway to keep you on your toes during the early evening charge up a busy M40.
It happened just at the start of the fast bit of the London-Birmingham expressway (you know, the bit that runs from High Wycombe to, err, South Birmingham…) and I was alerted by the telltale droning hum from the rear.
For a fleeting second, I hoped it was something else, though I’m not sure what, given the racket that was quickly rising in intensity. Anything this loud could only be serious.
I was in the third of four lanes, so slowly eased it to the hard shoulder. A glance in the rear view mirror saw a load of dust and smoke in my wake: yup, this tyre was totalled.
This came after four days in Geneva and I was looking forward to getting back and eating the Davidstow-baked chicken that was waiting for me. So, down to work. I carefully eased out of the car and went round to the nearside rear. Eyes fell onto one totalled Continental.
In quick order, it was Geneva detritus from the boot onto the passenger seat, spare wheel out, wheel nuts loosened (thankfully, the locking wheelnut key was there…) and car jacked up. Off with the scorching-hot ex-tyre, on with the surprisingly shiny new one, fry hands again by putting the old tyre in the boot and we’re away. Hardly F1 speed but I was still pleased with 10 minutes from stop to start.
Back home next day, I nosed at the tyre. Yup, big puncture mark right through it. Must’ve heated up and popped over time: on the way to Geneva, I’d been convinced the rear wheelbearing may have been starting to drone. Now I know it was the tyre.
Question now is, do I take the logical route and get a new set of four tyres? Or do I follow Andrew and upgrade my wheels by searching on eBay? The allure of those dual-arm alloys fitted to a GTI 1.8T means the latter is tempting…