Flat tyre experience

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Posts: 96
Joined: Mon, 30 Jul 2018, 10:10
Real Name: Lou
Location: Sydney, NSW

Flat tyre experience

Post by LouB »

On Tue 26 Feb my wife on entering a local shopping centre's carpark veered to the left to avoid an oncoming vehicle and scraped the front kerbside tyre on a concrete aisle divider. It resulted in an instant flat tyre. I later ascertained that the sidewall had a slit in it probably caused by something sticking out from the concrete. These sidewalls are quite thin and there’s no steel reinforcing there.

She drove the Zoe a few meters to a parking bay and then phoned to tell me what had happened. Fortunately I was at home and was fairly quickly able to load up the Subaru with a couple of jacks, spare wheel/tyre and tools. Drove the 12 km to the carpark and assessed the situation.

I first tried to see if the tyre could be reinflated, but with absolutely no success. With a totally flat tyre the Zoe sits very low to the ground. I could not get my screw type bottle jack (1.5 Tonne rated capacity) under the sill, so trusting to luck I got a standard 700 kg scissor jack in place and lifted the beast just sufficiently to get the bottle jack into position. Big sigh of relief here. I had warned my wife to stay well clear and had readied myself to jump away if the little jack had given way. Maybe fortune does favour the brave, or should that be the foolish?

In an earlier thread: Emergency spare wheel

I had bemoaned the fact that these cars do not come equipped with a spare wheel/tyre or jack. So, soon after getting the Zoe, I set about acquiring a spare. In the aftermath, this turned out to have been a good thing. It wasn't easy. I first tried to get a wheel, identical to those issued with the vehicle, from the Renault dealer where the car had been purchased. They said that spares were not available at that time and that to get one from France would take at least 4 months and cost a fortune. Searching the internet I found an alternative alloy wheel that looked a goer. Through my local supplier, I then ordered the wheel and a Michelin tyre identical to those already installed. Because constantly carting the full-sized spare in the Zoe was impractical, it was decided to store it at home. The plan being that: if either my wife or myself found ourselves with a flat that could not be repaired on the spot, the other party would bring the spare + tools in our other car. This is precisely what happened.

With the spare wheel bolted on I asked my wife to drive home (approx 12 km) at under 40 kph in case of misalignement from the knock. I followed close behind, to see if there was any wheel wobble. It all went ok and the next day I got the tyre people to swap the tyre from the spare wheel onto the proper Zoe wheel. At the same time I ordered a new Michelin tyre. It arrived today (Mar 1), and gave us the opportunity to get all 5 tyres balanced and a wheel alignement.

For those interested these are the specs for the spare alloy wheel + tyre:

Brand = ROH Azzuro
Diameter = 16"
Width = 6.5"
Stud pattern = 4
PCD = 100
Offset = P40
Finish = Gunmetal
Price = $185.00

Michelin tyre
XL Energy E-V
195/55 91Q
Price = $200.00

Note: The offset is very slightly less at 40mm than the Zoe specs at 44mm. But this (according to my tyre service centre) makes no practcal difference. The ROH wheel is a multifit type and comes with a centering ring to fit the Zoe hub. It also comes with its own set of 4 conical headed wheel bolts, a special thin-walled tube spanner and a composition centering ring.

It means that to fit it you must have all listed special pieces and that (because of the tight holes in the ROH wheel) the standard Zoe wheel bolts cannot be fitted to it. Not perhaps very convenient but a small price to pay for a spare wheel that fits.

I must also add that when I bolted the ROH wheel to the Zoe hub I could only get 3 of the 4 wheel bolts to go fully home. The fourth bolt stuck at about 2/3 of the way when torqued to 40 ft/lb (54.2 Nm). Not wanting to strip the thread, I desisted, and the car, as mentioned before, was slowly driven home. Took the wheel off at home using a heavy duty hydraulic floor jack and tried the hub bolt holes with different wheel bolts. In one of the threaded holes none would go all the way. It appears to me to be a manufacturing fault. Maybe, after the initial roughing tap was run, the finishing tap had not gone all the way. Once I determined that the bolts were 12 x 1.5 mm I was able to chase the thread home using the appropriate tap. For all I know there may have been only 3 bolts fastening the wheel from the time it had been assembled by the manufacturer. Still think it's a great car, but do not think much of Renault quality control.

In summary:I feel that getting the spare wheel/tyre was worth the trouble and expense. The sealant, supplied with the vehicle would have been useless with a sidewall tear. Having a spare meant not having to call a tow truck and having the vehicle go to a repairer with all the concomitant delay and expense.

Possibly, by now, Zoe wheels may be available through Renault Australia. I don't know. For us, the aftermarket ROH wheel will just have to do.

Has anyone else had experience with Zoe faults and/or repairs?
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri, 14 Sep 2018, 14:47
Real Name: Tom

Re: Flat tyre experience

Post by TomZoe »

No I haven't but this is certainly good advice - I've wondered whether even keeping a spare rubber tyre at home (let alone the whole wheel is a good idea) but the Local Bob Jane guy said not to worry as he would have in in a day or 2.

What bolts did you use if the car originals wouldn't go on?

Also, I was read on UK sites never to jack the car like a normal car as the batteries sit on the chassis and a slight bend could wreck them.

Most of us wouldn't have the equipment that you have at home!
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Posts: 96
Joined: Mon, 30 Jul 2018, 10:10
Real Name: Lou
Location: Sydney, NSW

Re: Flat tyre experience

Post by LouB »

Yes, I too saw all those warnings about not lifting the car in case of damage to the battery. However, the Zoe has standard, reinforced jacking points under the sills. It is what they used at my local tyre service place to lift the car. In fact, these are pics from the Renault assembly process that shows these locations being used:

Zoe lift points.png
Zoe lift points.png (211.16 KiB) Viewed 1172 times

There are also several accounts on overseas forums where people talk about jacking up these cars. I should not think there is a problem as long as one does not go about it in an hamfisted way and, importantly, does not allow the jack's pad to go anywhere close to the battery enclosure.

Please do not take my opinion as an endorsement that it is safe to follow the procedures outlined. It is simply an account of what I do, and I am prepared to take the possible consequences of my actions.

The ROH wheel comes with it's own set of bolts that fit the Zoe hub. They have smaller heads than the standard bolts but the same shank diameter and thread.

It's true that I have a well equipped workshop but only because of a lifetime working on cars and slowly collecting tools as the need arose..
Posts: 332
Joined: Tue, 24 Jul 2018, 09:59
Real Name: David Kerr
Location: Sydney

Re: Flat tyre experience

Post by doggy »

Hi Lou,
Great information, very well presented.
I remember when you said you were getting the wheel so good that it worked out.
I too have wondered about flat tyre issues and what we would do, particularly on a long trip.
Interesting about the jack height and good to know about the jack points.
We have two service organisations covering the car (!) so we should be able to get roadside assistance- did query them on this when buying the car- but undoubtedly you had your car underway far quicker than calling for assistance.
Cheers & thanks,
Renault Zoe ZE40, 2017
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