BBC Watchdog and Nitrogen Inflation for Tyres

You may have seen, or be aware of, an episode of BBC’s Watchdog programme which covered Kwik Fit and the benefits of inflating tyres with nitrogen.  We feel that parts of the programme gave a false impression of the process and have laid out the facts below.  However, we do accept that in some cases the delivery of our service fell short of the high standards we set ourselves and apologise for that.

Benefits of nitrogen

The benefits of nitrogen inflation are proven with studies* showing that tyres filled with nitrogen hold their pressure for longer and do not age as quickly as those filled with air, helping to maintain good tyre performance such as better handling, rolling resistance and durability.

Many motorists do not regularly check their tyre pressures and so any measure which reduces the natural loss of pressure will help decrease tyre wear.  Clearly, slowing a tyre’s ageing will also save motorists money as their tyres last longer.

*See one such study here

Pricing and quotes

Our usual practice in centre is to quote and charge all-inclusive prices, as this is what our customers tell us they want.  The tyre prices paid by the BBC researchers were the all-inclusive prices which they were quoted up front, with nothing added subsequently.  However, we acknowledge that we could have been more detailed regarding the fact that the quoted price included nitrogen inflation and we are taking steps to improve this transparency.

Service delivery

It is of great concern to us if a customer does not receive what they pay for and we unreservedly apologise to any customer affected.

We believe in the safety benefits of nitrogen, which is why we have made significant investments in nitrogen inflation machines and spend around £400,000 a year ensuring they are calibrated regularly.  We have assessed all the machines at the centres Watchdog visited and all are working effectively and delivering the correct concentration of nitrogen.

Action we are taking

In light of Watchdog’s findings, we are carrying out retraining to ensure that all our centre staff fully understand the benefits of nitrogen and that all customers receive the standard of service which they would expect.

We are also assessing the nitrogen inflation machines across our centre network to confirm that they are all working correctly.

We want to make sure that all our customers are satisfied with the service they have received.   If you are worried that your tyres have not been filled to the correct concentration of nitrogen, we invite you to return to one of our centres. On production of your receipt we will refill your tyres to ensure they contain the correct level of nitrogen and also provide you with a £5 voucher by way of apology – this voucher can be used for any purchase in our centres, valid for 12 months.

Furthermore, while we review our procedures across all our centres, where it is available we will be offering nitrogen inflation free of charge to any Kwik Fit customer.

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