Alright, I admit that winter tyres may not have been necessary as yet, though I did feel vilified in having them fitted to our long term test Golf when the temperature plummeted to zero in the middle of December. Then it decided to come back up to a balmier 14 degrees around Christmas Day...
Still, it's only the first week of January and many are predicting cold weather and snow for later this month.
However, I'm not as ready as I was, as one of the tyres suffered a puncture before the holidays. Annoyingly, it happened on the 23rd of December. Thankfully there wasn't a tear in the tyre so the sealant kit in the boot worked and got us home. I'd personally rather have a spare wheel, but the trend for providing a repair kit instead is spreading - even beyond eco-models like the BlueMotion Golf.
The instructions were easy to follow and there was no jacking up the car necessary: remove the valve, squeeze in the sealant, screw in the new valve and attach the compressor (powered from the 12v socket in the dashboard) to inflate the tyre. It took about 10 minutes and the tyre was still fine the following day. Though the warnings stated that the car shouldn't be driven for longer periods or speeds over 50km/h.
Somewhat inconveniently the sealant needs to be replaced at a Volkswagen dealer and it was deemed necessary to replace the tyre completely. Winter tyres are not all that common in Ireland as yet so there's not a large stock of them.
Thankfully Volkswagen had the excellent Golf R-line hanging around we could borrow instead. Should make an interesting comparison given that it's powered by the same 105hp 1.6-litre TDI engine as our own car.
For starters, it has a spare wheel...