Tyre Service Guarantees.
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IN ANOTHER page we deal, more fully than has hithetto been possible, with what may be described as the principles underlying the action of the large majority of British makers of solid tyres in the withdrawal of the guarantee of a definite mileage to be run by tyres of their manufacture.
There has become created in the minds of some the feeling that the user is losing something over the withdrawal of the guarantee and is getting nothing tangible in the "guarantee of satisfactory service" which has taken its place, but the explanation of the tyre makers is sound and, if they act up to their profession of good intentions—and we see no reason why they should not—the user of tyres, whose vehicles are not running over atrociously' bad roads, and are not excessively overloaded or over-driven and whose tyres receive adequate attention, should be even better treated in the future than he has in the past.
The original purpose of the mileage guarantee was to demonstrate to user and chassis maker the fa.ct'that the solid rubber tyre (then a very expensive production compared with steel tyres) was an economical proposition. That purpose has now been achieved very'eornpletely, and there is no more need to guarantee a certain tyre mileage than to guarantee a piston for so many movements up and down a cylinder. Satisfactory service is the one test; and on the satisfaction of the user the maker must ,stand or fall.
Under the new form of guarantee, the responsibility on the tyre makers is much greater. They are apParently prepared to accept that responsibility, feeling that it is a sound method of trading and one which not only will be to the interests of the user, but will, in consequence, bring increased demand for their wares. _ An Insufficient Report on the M.T. Vehicles.
WE FEEL we are doing quits the right thing in. drawing 'attention, in this issue, to a memorandum sent by the administrative H.Q. of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to the H.Q. of the N.Z. Military Forces at Wellington, N.Z., on January 15th last, a copy of which reaches us through a source which we need not disclose.
The officer responsible for the report on the vehicles appears to have -written it in hospitaa on January 10th, and, with an expedition scarcely to have been expected outside of commercial -eiecles, the Administrative H.Q. of the N.Z.E.F. (in the person of a Colonel, who signs for the Brigadier), deanatched It within four days of its receipt. We do not wish to condemn him on the ignorance suggested in the description of the Commer Car as the " Commerce," as that May merely be 'a clerical slip, but there are, in the body of the report, so many omissions and inaccuracies that we are not going too far when we say that the report stands quite discredited.
'Cognizance is shown of less than a third of the. makes of vehicles actually employed, and a true knowledge of the service rendered by each make is by no means revealed in the report. Some of the inaccuracies contained in the description of models are inexcusable in an officer who professes to write such a report, whilst one stands aghast at the dictum that "chain drive is much more powerful than either the worm drive or the bevel-to-Pinion live axle:" Let Us, if this be a fact, employ very large chain drives and we shall get, economically, all the power we want! But let. us not overlook the wily manufacturer who,, learning from this New Zealand source that what is evidently a war-time product, the bevelto-pinion live axle, is inefficient, decided to revert to common practice in bevel drive design!
The Association of British Motor and Allied Manuacturers would do well to look into this matter, in order to secure the withdrawal of the report and to provide the military forces of New Zealand, and of any other British dominion beyond the seas requiring tt, full information concerning the work done by British motor vehicles in the war areas.
The Driver Who Does Not Look Back.
NE FULLY recognizes that it is asking a lot of the driver of a heavy vehicle to keep a con stant look-out rearward, but he must remember that he differs from other traffic, in that, whilst there are faster types of vehicles on the road, his is the one which occupies a considerable proportion of the road width, and which can be a very substantial obstruction, over a period of time depending on the ability of the obstructed to make his presence known.
At the present time the obstruction is aggravated by the, dust, of which there is now nearly as much as there was before the money of which the motorist was relieved by taxation was devoted to dust laying. In the endeavour to pass the obstructing heavilyladen lorry or, perchance, train of vehicles, the following vehicle must be kept up in the dusty atmo sphere—land in the worst of Hence the annoyance of delay is aggravated by an even worse evil. We must say that we have always been consumed
with surprise at the comparatively small amount of use made of the rear-view mirror.. We would never be without one of these devices. Its use on the open road to give warning of the approach of overtaking vehicles is actually equalled by its use in traffic and in streets, where it,is necessary to keep on pulling out in order to pass stationary or slow-going vehicles. It is quite unwise forlhe driver of a 12 m.p.h. vehicle to pull out without first ascertaining that he is not at the moment being overtaken by a faster vehicle. The driver of the latter has a legitimate cause for complaint if a mishap occurs—one which might secure his own exoneration from blame.
Owners should Make a point of providing a rear view mirror for each vehicle of the fleet, and drivers should ask for them till they get them.
The Restriction of Headlight Glare.
NATURALLY, those who do not habitually use powerful headlights are the ones who most quickly . and unfailingly see their disadvantages. Only a week or two agoan L.G. omnibus overturned through the temporary blinding of the driver, causing him to deflect from his true course and run up a bank. The instances that could be quoted against powerful headlights are numerous. At the same time, we recognize to the full that night driving without adequate illumination is a great strain.
With the withdrawal of the restrictions on lighting of motor vehicles imposed under D.O.R.A., the headlight trouble has recommenced, and the question arises whether the Commercial Motor Users Association should not take a hand in the framing of the new regulations which the Home Secretary must feel called upon to introduce. The position cannot remain as it is, The location of side and tail lamps must be gone into, for the present regulations, aiming at the indication of the widtti of a vehicle by the position of its lamps are not satisfactory. Side lamps should definitely be compelled to centre on the mudguards, and the tail lamp should be placed no further inside the width of the body than is necessary to secure the adequate shielding of the flame from draught.'
All . headlights should be equipped with devices for limiting the vertical height of the beam say, to 5 ft. at 50 yds. from the source of the light. We have had extended experience with anti-dazzle devices, and the one which consists of a large number of horizontal deflecting plates silvered on their undersides and coated dead black on their upper faces was so successful that we ask for nothing better. The adoption of devices of this sort should be advocated by commercial vehicle users ; to ask for the prohibition of headlights altogether, as we have seen urged, would be going to an extreme that would be damaging to a reasonable claim for restriction.
Co-ordinating the Empire's Transport.
THERE IS, at least, one aspect of the subject of ,Imperial Preference, as bearing upon the sup'ply of motor vehicles to the Empire overseas, which see= to us to have received insuffieient attention.
Prior to the war, there were still some people who,. thought that such motor transport as might be required for military purposes could quite well be secured by commandeering any serviceable vehicles that happened to be available. The obvious flaw in .. this argument is, of course, that it isi one thing to operate a fleet of standardized vehicles and quite another to operate a mixed collection of vehicles of a few dozenanakes or types.
In. practice, the latter is impossible for any prolonged period, unlesswe have at our disposal extremely well equipped shops and a very' comprehensive spare parts store. Under active service conditions, the mixed convoy -cannot possibly be kept on the road for any considerable length of time.
Unless we are to assume that the last war has been fought, we ought to take this fact into .account in developing the mechanical transport, civil and mili-tary, of every portion of the Empire. A sufficient degree of standardization could best 'be secured by giving substantial encouragement to the purchase and use of certain selected Makes of vehicle.
. This object could be; at least, fairly well achieved by granting a really appreciable preference throughout the Empire to vehicles cf British origin. This would mean that, in any particular district, only a few makes of proved quality and emanating from substantial factories -would be represented in any
numbers. • The grant of the highest preferential terms might be madecontingent on the maintenance within the district by themanufacturer of an adequate store of spare parts. In this way, the nucleus of a really useful fleet for military service would be kept constantly in existence. At the present moment this argument may, perhaps-, be particularly recommended to the Government of the Indian Empire, which, as yet, treats the British vehicle and the foreign vehicle in exactly the same, way in the matter of import duties.
Development of the Motor Coach Business.
AT MANY of our seaside resorts there are distinct opportunities awaiting local garage proprietors of which full advantage ie not yet taken. Premises that are equipped for the maintenance and repair of the engines and transmissions of motor vehicles are -equally well' suited for similar work on the Power plants of nabtor boats.. In many cases the passenger-carrying motor launch could be worked to. advantage with the motor coach.
Let us take, for example, the Portsmouth and Southampton district. Oe the mainland, we have large towns with big industrial populations and also attracting large numbers of visitors during the summer. It should not be difficult to arrange motor 'launch and coach trips to and in thb Isle of Wight and the. New Forest. The change from one form of conveyance to another would, in itself, be an attraction: One motor launch could probably serve two or three motor coaches so that half-day and whole day trips could be organized at reasonably popular prices.
Such trips would attract custom and create business that might never exist at all, so long as people had to make their own arrangements -for the crossing by steamboat and the subsequent motor ride. If the whole day is pl.-armed in advance, the intending pass senger has hot-to consider the details ,iif times and place. This is. all done for him, which. is exactly what he wants when taking a holiday with a view to rest and Change.
On a. bigger scale there are certainly opportunities in the way of continental motor coach trips, passengers being conveyed to the port in this country, the fare including the crossing by steamboat -and a eireular tour in another motor coach on the other side of the Channel.
All this would, of course, require a good deal of organization, but, when the.. present difficulties with regard to passports cease to exist, we ought to see some considerable developments along the lines briefly indicated.