Tag Archives: Protyre

2017 Tyre Safety Recognition Awards

Thank you Tyresafe for another brilliantly well-organised Tyre Safety Conference followed by Awards ceremony held at The Belfry Resort in Wishaw.

This is always a great occasion to pay tribute to the many organisations that are raising the tyre safety standard ahead of others.

It also encourages new tyre businesses to come on board and work towards better and wider coverage of the tyre safety message during Tyre Safety Month, October 2017.

Of particular note are three award winning tyre safety entries I’d like to draw attention to.

Bridgestone Tyres

The Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Highways England, went to Bridgestone Tyres for its pioneering Driveguard Tyre technology.

For motorists who don’t drive cars with run flat tyres (run flat tyres are likely to be on BMWs and some sporty Mercedes) but whose car has a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – fit Bridgestone’s Driveguard Tyres and a dashboard light will warn you about any imminent tyre puncture.

The clever bit is that the damaged tyre maintains pressure for a range of 50 miles, providing you don’t exceed 50mph – that’s plenty of time to get you safely off a motorway, perhaps, and to a garage to sort it out.

The peace of mind this gives is considerable – in theory you’ll never clamber into a car and attempt to drive with a flattish tyre that’s unsafe to drive.

Please see what FOXY thought of the Driveguard tyre when I reviewed it.

Westgate Tyres

The Independent Garage Award, sponsored by Kumho Tyre UK, went to Westgate Tyres in Morecambe.

Not only was this a popular Award because it went to a FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Centre but also because it involved Jane Bailey, FOXY’s Woman of the Year (2017).

To see why we singled out Jane Bailey and Westgate Tyres earlier this year, please read our blog.


The Tyre Retailer Award, sponsored by Pirelli Tyres Ltd, went to the Protyre network of 108 fastfit garage centres across England, Scotland and Wales.

Another popular award with us because Protyre Centres are FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly garages above others.

They demonstrate a clear commitment to customer service (proven by feedback), invest in quality standards, as in the CTSI (Chartered Trading Standards Institute) Code of Practice operated by The Motor Ombudsman, and work tirelessly (no pun intended haha) with the likes of Police and Fire services to check tyre safety standards and raise motorists’ education of this subject.

With a projected 1 in 4 vehicles likely to have illegal ie dangerous tyres, there has never been a more important time to communicate a tyre safety message to motorists.

So to all the Tyresafe Awards entrants and supporters, keep up the good work and here’s to ongoing improvements to road safety and accident statistics due to all our efforts. Otherwise these will continue to affect innocent motorists, their passengers and pedestrians more likely due to ignorance rather than wilfulness.


Feel free to publish, share or link to our tyre safety advice for women please. The more that read this, the better the female knowledge base.

If you’re a tyre centre who’d like to be FOXY Lady Approved please download details from the bottom of this website page/link.

A Tale Of Winter Tyres

Steph testing new runflat tyres
Steph testing new runflat tyres

We are often asked to recommend and review types of tyres for winter driving.

That’s not always as easy as it might sound because there’s a massive choice out there, it’ll depend on the motorist’s usual mileage and, often, where they live.

I’m not talking about brand names here – we don’t have any deals going on with tyre manufacturers so we can be truly independent.

We’re fussy about the garages we work with of course! Please note we run a network of FOXY Lady Approved tyre centres where women (and men) can rely on not being overcharged or sold services they don’t need.

About Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are recommended in temperatures below 7°C or if you drive in Europe on the likes of a winter-sports holiday or in mountainous terrain. They will increase your safety and make driving less risky and scary in wet, icy and snowy conditions.

Winter tyres use a different rubber compound to summer tyres. As such they don’t harden in colder weather so you enjoy better grip, shorter stopping distances and, let’s face it, less chance of having an accident in the winter.

The downside is that you’ll need two sets of tyres, which is likely to be too expensive if you don’t drive a lot and/or can cadge lifts and leave the car at home until temperatures rise.

Different tyre centres offer different customer services. Some operate trendy titled ‘Tyre Hotels’ where you get your winter tyres fitted in October and they store your summer tyres for you until you change them back in March. And so on.

But probably the better as well as cheaper model, space permitting at home or in a garage, is to take your summer tyres home with you in October and your winter ones in the summer.

For example Micheldever Tyres, who own the Protyre garage group, give you smart tyre carriers so they’re easy and clean to carry and store.

About All Season Tyres

As the name implies, all season tyres are a combination of summer and winter tyres. They are recommended for motorists who live in particularly wet and cold weather conditions, all year round.

So if you’re short of storage space and don’t fancy the hassle of changing tyres twice a year, all season tyres may appeal more than winter tyres.

The downside is, they don’t perform as well as winter tyres in harsh conditions when you need them most. But they do better than normal tyres in cases where you’d aquaplane otherwise.

“You pays your money…”

About Runflat Tyres

An added consideration is if your car has runflats or a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). In this instance a light on your dashboard tells you when a tyre pressure level is of concern and you might have a puncture.

At which stage you can either top up an offending tyre, there and then, or know you have a range of 50 miles (at a speed of no more than 50mph just in case) to get to a garage to verify or rectify matters.

This is very reassuring for me, on a motorway, for example. In my case I don’t have a choice because runflats are compulsory for BMWs and MINIs.

But the good news is that if you have a TPMS on a car that doesn’t specify runflats you can now buy Bridgestone DriveGuard tyres with the same properties and reassuring benefits as runflats.

NB: In this instance, I’m talking about a runflat as an ordinary tyre ie neither an all season nor a winter tyre. You can’t mix them with ordinary tyres, it’s to be all four or none, but you don’t need to carry a spare wheel or know how to use a puncture repair canister (see FOXY’s earlier blog about this).

The downside is that they can be quite a bit more expensive than ordinary tyres.

Conclusions about Tyres in Winter

FOXY tells Club members to buy the best tyres they can afford. If you don’t do much mileage then budget tyres will likely do nicely. If you ply motorways as I do, then you want the best premium (well known) brands as their tyres will last longer.

Remember that you get what you pay for re tyres. And NEVER EVER buy cheap part worn tyres because you don’t know where they’ve been.

Hopefully this blog will help you decide what’s best for you when considering having winter or all season tyres fitted. And if you’re a Club member you can always ask us for a second opinion.

By all means let us know what you decide and your tyre shopping experiences via Twitter and @FOXYSteph or @FOXYTweets.


Tyresafe Online and Social Media Award Winner 2016

When is wheel alignment necessary?

wheel_alignment_machinery_400I received a worrying email from a well known member of the motor trade last month suggesting that many wheel alignment services were unnecessary.

Granted this person isn’t part of our FOXY Lady Approved network so this could have been schadenfreude, but any suggestion of rip off practice (that I’m not already aware of in the motor industry) deserves FOXY’s investigation.

So I asked our Helpdesk team to give me the benefit of their considered technical opinion. Which is in the pipeline for the Information section of the Club website but in the meantime here’s the background to this debate.

What is tyre alignment?

FOXY Lady Approved garage group, Protyre, explains wheel alignment as follows:

“Wheel Alignment can also be referred to as ‘tracking’. Either name relates to the alignment of the wheels to your car and is very important to the lifespan of a tyre as well as the overall handling of the vehicle. If the wheels are mis-aligned, the tyres will wear unevenly and may result in changing tyres long before they need to be.”

What does tyre alignment and tracking involve?

Clearly a good salesman will make a compelling business case for tyre-fitting garages to have an alignment system installed on the premises.

“It’ll cost you £x and you can expect to charge motorists £y. So, assuming industry figures, you’ll be into profit in Year z.”

This is often a clever system that you drive over and/or using equipment that tells the operator if your wheels are correctly aligned to prevent your tyres from wearing unevenly.

And the garage then charges you some £30 for this diagnosis, possibly leading to other chargeable services and solutions.

Of course, if your wheels really do need aligning then this is going to save you a lot more in terms of premature tyre wear.

How to tell if wheel alignment is needed or not?

It is normal to assume that there is nothing wrong with your wheel alignment if your car drives in a straight line with no steering input from you (other than a bit of a wander to the left due to road camber).

And it’s also reasonable to expect the nearside (that’s nearest to the kerb) front tyre wearing a wee bit faster than the offside tyre, due to a combination of annual mileage, road camber and the effect of the UK having so many roundabouts.

But if you get a vibration through the steering wheel at certain speeds, the problem is more likely to be wheel balance (not alignment as such). Professional tyre fitters will always balance the wheel/tyre assembly accurately when new tyres are fitted and whilst that SHOULD last the lifetime of a tyre it is possible that one of the balance weights might fall off ie gets lost. Or he wasn’t a professional tyre fitter in the first place of course.

So, the need for wheel alignment SHOULD be very rare but is most likely to arise when your car has suffered trauma (yes they get stressed too) by a case of bad parking ie hitting the kerb aggressively or suffering a severe pothole jolt. After which tyre wear can be rapid, reducing braking efficiency and affecting your safety if neglected.

You will find more information about this at the National Tyres & Autocare website.

Who can you trust to take care of your car tyres?

In short, come the day when your tyres need attention, all motorists need to decide for themselves whether to trust the advice of the individual giving it. One way to give you that peace of mind would be to choose a business from our Tyre Services Register https://www.foxyladydrivers.com/female-friendly-tyre-services.php or garage network where listed businesses have all signed the FOXY Promise to ‘never sell women anything they don’t need.’

Either way, I’d hope that the fab feedback we received about Tyreland in Southampton this weekend might be typical of the customer service given by staff in other FOXY Lady Approved garages now and in future.

“Isaac was extremely professional. He made the experience much less daunting as a female because he was so friendly. He was really thorough. I’m pleased he also suggested I get my tracking sorted. There was no pressure to get anything done & as a result I felt like I totally trusted him. He should be used as an example to others, as to how to make females feel comfortable. An asset to your team.”

Well done Isaac.

Otherwise, if none of the above scenarios apply or ring true in your case, you probably do not need wheel alignment. So just say ‘Not this time, thank you’.

Finally, remember that Club members can always ask our Helpdesk for a second opinion about their tyres. Which is one of many good reasons to join the Club before you need us of course.

We know what we’re talking about when it comes to tyres, so, where in doubt, you can trust us.


Ladies evenings during tyre safety month

October is Tyre Safety Month – carefully chosen to remind us to check the condition of our tyres before the most challenging driving time of the year approaches – winter with cold, wet and icy roads.

And if you need new tyres beforehand my advice is to always buy the best you can afford.

Just like used cars and garage services, you might be lucky buying cheap but it’s more likely you’ll find out later why they were cheap and the price might affect your (and others’) family safety.

Ladies evenings

tyre_hidsonsWe run a garage network of FOXY Lady Approved garages that have to demonstrate quality credentials and an adherence to rigorous standards when it comes to value for money, cleanliness and customer welcome.

We award bonus points for evidence of women in customer service roles and for ladies evenings because this always suggests a female friendly business that cares and is prepared to invest in getting service levels right for us.

So far only one tyre group ie Protyre has joined us and signed the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’ They are also members of the Trading Standards Institute approved Code of Practice for garage service and repair work. This is a sector of the motor industry with a poor reputation for selling us expensive tyres we don’t need but so far only Protyre has been prepared to put its head above the FOXY parapet here.

So it doesn’t surprise us at all to see them go that extra mile by organising a garage roadshow for ladies this month including practical, friendly advice and ‘how-to’ demonstrations from trained technicians to help us with under bonnet checks, wheel changes and general tyre care.

Free for all, each evening runs from 6.30pm to 8pm and includes light refreshments & snacks, a quiz, prizes & a free information pack.

To reserve your place (and by all means invite a friend) email your name(s) and a phone number to the nearest Protyre centre as follows.

October 2, 2013 in Bristol
Protyre Bristol
27 – 31 Church Road
Lawrence Hill
Email bristol@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 3, 2013 in Gloucester
Protyre Gloucester
324 Bristol Road
Email gloucester@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 8, 2013 in Plymouth
Protyre Plymouth
Units 1 & 2 Clare Place
Email plymouth@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 9, 2013 in Exeter
Protyre Exeter
5 Trusham Road
Marsh Barton
Email exeter@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 10, 2013 in Enfield (see below for Nottingham evening at Evans Halshaw)
Protyre Enfield
770 – 780 Great Cambridge Road
Email enfield@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 15, 2013 in Warrington
Jeffreys High Performance Tyres
1a Station Road
Email warrington@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 16, 2013 in Weston Super Mare
Easyfit Auto Safety Centre
Winterstoke Road
Weston Super Mare
BS23 3YG
Email weston@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 16, 2013 in Alcester
Eclipse Tyre Services
Unit 3 Arden Bus Centre
Arden Road
B49 6HW
Email alcester@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 23, 2013 in Poulton
Barry & Wilkinson Tyre & Exhaust
Blackpool Old Road
Email poulton@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 24, 2013 in Slough
Protyre Slough
515 Ipswich Road
Slough Trading Estate
slough@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 24, 2013 in Tavistock
Tavistock Tyres
Unit 23
Plymouth Road Ind Est
PL19 9QN
Email tavistock@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 29, 2013 in Swansea
Harris Brothers Richardson Road
1a Richardson Road
Email swansea.richardson@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

October 30, 2013 in Winchester
Micheldever Tyre & Auto Services
Micheldever Station
SO21 3AP
Email sales@micheldever.co.uk to reserve your place

October 31, 2013 in Westbury
Protyre Westbury
Station Road
BA13 3JS
Email westbury@protyre.co.uk to reserve your place

If you have any doubt about the tyre challenges you can face throughout the year and when driving on ‘just about legal’ cheap tyres, please read my blog about this here... And save money from your motoring budget in another way, not by buying cheap tyres.


A racing doctor chases her dream

A former karter and rally co-driver, Dr Barbara Kubicka is now set to fulfil her lifetime ambition of becoming a racing driver, after entering the 2013 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

Not only is she setting a positive example to patients at her clinic in Knightsbridge but she is also embracing her personal passion for motorsport by entering the British GT/F3-supporting series.

With her first race set on the horizon at the end of March at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire, Barbara explained;

“I have always wanted to do this but never quite found the time to take it more seriously. Now I am setting an example for my patients, hoping to inspire women to see that the seemingly impossible really can become reality if you are determined to make it happen.”

Polish-born Dr Kubicka has already demonstrated determination to succeed in her career; after qualifying in medicine in Warsaw, she took a 2-year post-graduate course in Aesthetic Medicine in Paris when working for the NHS in London. However, she then moved into cosmetic and medical skincare treatments, finally setting up her own independent practice in 2011,and single-handedly building up the practice and establishing the clinicbe® brand in 2012.

Her commitment to women’s causes include being part of a humanitarian aid team in 2012 helping people cope with the after-effects of an earthquake and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011 as part of the Climb4Freedom team, raising over £100,000 for the A21 campaign to stop human trafficking.

Leaving the final word to Barbara…

“Having worked closely with women throughout my career, I am saddened to see how they often struggle with the pressures of daily life with work and families to care for. Very often women compromise and sacrifice their personal dreams. I have been overwhelmed by the positive responses and support of those around me and hope that my experience helps other women, and men, to feel empowered and motivated to pursue their own ambitions.”

Hear, hear – with such a positive approach to life and a clear determination to succeed, we’ll be watching Barbara in 2013, starting with her first race on 30 March.