Having a puncture is an inconvenience at the best of times, none more so than at the end of a long day of filming, when your car is filled to the brim with equipment, and all you’re thinking of is getting home.
Well, that’s exactly what happened recently when we were filming a Nissan Leaf rescue vehicle – yes one does exist – on a derelict building site on the south coast. As we were leaving the site, the tyre pressure sensor light on the dash starts flashing like a Christmas tree and, straight away, I knew my day was just about to get a whole lot longer.
I managed to limp the car off-site and started the process of working out my next move. The first step was to look for a spare. So, after unloading all the kit, I hunted around for a space saver, however, the only thing under the boot floor was a pair of extra seats. I pushed and prodded all the cubby holes looking for a tyre inflation kit but couldn’t find one anywhere. So, there was nothing else for it, but to phone the Ford Press Garage manager, which I’ve no doubt he appreciated at 9pm on a Wednesday evening, while he was on holiday.
He pointed me in the direction of the foam kit which was sneakily hidden under the floor mats behind the drivers’ seat. The pack came with an inflator which plugs into a cigarette lighter too, which is handy with there being one in the boot. In went the foam, and out it went again in what can only be described as a bullet-hole sized gash in the tyre.
It was pretty clear from that point that there wasn’t a quick fix and my dinner would literally be in the dog by the time I got home. I phoned breakdown recovery through my Nationwide bank account and they were there within 45 minutes, which I was pretty impressed with considering how long I’ve had to wait in the past.
Our wounded S-Max was loaded up and we were on our way in no time. Now, I live in the middle of the countryside, and the roads are somewhat narrow in places. Just how narrow was proved when a rather large HGV travelling in the opposite direction got rather close and ripped off the wing mirror of the breakdown truck. It was only a couple of days later that I noticed the damage caused wasn’t just to the recovery. The wing mirror had bounced down the side of the S-Max leaving a couple of scars to the bodywork.
Nevertheless, we made it back to my house just about in one piece, and with the S-Max was unloaded and recovery driver was on his merry way, no doubt while working out how he was going to explain to his boss how his breakdown truck had suddenly become a lot slimmer.
The next day, I spoke with Kwik Fit mobile who were able to come out to repair the tyre, and the extent of the damage soon became clear. Not only was there a nail lodged in the tyre, but there was a huge hole in the tyre which was pouring with tyre sealant. Nevertheless, within the hour the tyre had been replaced and I was back on the road.
Model: Ford S-Max 2.0 EcoBlue Auto Vignale
Base price: £40,660
Price as tested: £42,560
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel engine
0-60mph: 10.3 seconds
Top speed: 128mph
Fuel economy: 47.9mpg
Emissions: 151g/km CO2