Frequently asked questions about FIAT Tipo 16V

What causes funny noises from the wheels?

Alexis Grant says that he heard funny noises coming from the front of his car whilst driving. It would occur when he accelerated or deccelerated but now whilst keeping the speed constant. He thought it might be the alloy wheels rubbing against something, possibly the brake claiper. He pulled over, got out the wheel brace, and tighted the nuts up, only to find that all the nuts turned about half a turn. Since then the problem has not shown itself again.

Nareman Virk says that he had a similar problem. The nut that holds the hub on is coming loose on both sides and there is movement/play in both front wheels. It made the whole driving experience very wishy washy and non-confidence inspiring.

How do I keep my wheels clean?

Alloy wheels using for racing are made from magnesium and titanium and weigh 50% less than standard alloy wheels. Standard alloy wheels are made from 80% aluminum. The remaining 20% consists of other metals such as magnesium, silicon and copper. These are then painted silver and finally coated in lacquer.

The best way to keep them clean is to treat them the same as paintwork. Whenever you wax the body of the car wax the wheels as well. Try to clean them using normal car shampoo (NOT fairy liquid) as often as possible to prevent build up of brake dust. This can be very difficult to remove if allowed to bake onto the wheels. Sad as it may be I clean my wheels once a week and this seems to work okay. I tried using one of the after market wheel cleaners on my last set of alloys to remove some stubborn brake dust. Unfortunately I left it on just a little too long and it badly marked the surface of the alloys. If you have to use this type of product please be very careful and only attempt one wheel at a time. Make sure you have plenty of water before you begin to rinse the product off.

Should I refurbish my wheels or buy new ones?

Richard Brierley says he had his wheels refurbished last April. They must have been re-sprayed before, not very well either. He had to put nitromores on the wheels to get the paint off and then this bloke came around in his van to buff them. Basically he kept polishing the surface until they are perfectly shiny. They looked great throughout the summer, but as the wheels are not coated at all as soon as the rain and grit off the roads started to have a go at them they started corroding fairly rapidly and are looking a bit of a mess now. He advices that any refurbishment you have taken out includes a coated finish.

Alex Wakefield says that it costs about £35 a wheel.

Nareman Virk says that it would have cost him £50 a wheel for them to be refurbished and a further £30 if they were also buckled. Even though he would have liked to keep the car looking as original as possible it made more sense to buy new wheels.

Who should I get to refurbish my wheels?

Nareman Virk strongly recommends Diamond Styling in London for the quality of their work.

Alex Wakefield used Spit&Polish. However after a couple of months the corrosion was once gain visible. Alex sent the wheels back to Spit&Polish who tidied them up. The wheels came back initially looking very smart however even with regular cleaning the corrosion soon came though the lacquer.

What Locking Wheel Nuts should I buy?

Alex Wakefield asks which locking wheel nuts should he buy? Does anyone have any recommendations?

I say I have two types fitted to my car. One is called a Tri-lock. It's a circular bolt head with three small round holes in it. Around the outside is a loose sleeve to prevent mole grips taking grip. Over the top you place a push on shiny cap to prevent dirt getting into the holes and also to look better. You are supplied with one bolt head containing 3 pins that locate in the "unique&wuot; pattern of the bolt. I drove off the one day with this still attached, saw it fly past the window and fortunately found it. Quite lethal as it's quite heavy - you only do it once!!

The other set I have I brought with the Evo'R' wheels. They are TSW locking wheel nuts and have a "unique" spine on the outside. You would think that mole grips would take a hold but they have special sloping edges to prevent this. The bolt head you are given has a pattern that matches the grooves. The gaps between the spines and the widths of them look identical but the head only fits on in one position. I feel this is the better of the two designs.

It is legal to use a space saver spare wheel?

Nareman Virk. I asks whether anyone knows the legality of using a space saver spare tyre? He was pulled over and told by the friendly policeman that it is illegal to use a spare tyre that is NOT the same width as the vehicle's other tyres. Nareman explained that he had only just had a puncture and that the spare tyre was for temporary use only, and additionally, all Tipos come with space savers as standard. The policeman then went on and on saying that even the spare should be the same size/profile as the other tyres. I asked the AA about this issue and got the following response:

Dear Mr Lee
It is not illegal to use a space saver tyre supplied for use with your vehicle by the manufacturer. A temporary use spare tyre is marked "temporary use only" in letters at least 4mm high and on a background of contrasting colour.It is designed for use only in the event of failure of one of the normal tyres.It is important to note that - a vehicle fitted with a temporary use spare tyre must not exceed 50mph. a standard tyre must be refitted as soon as possible. Only one temporary use spare tyre may be fitted at a time.

I hope the above is of assistance

Mike Woodward
Legal advisor

What do the alloy wheels look like on the 5 door and 3 door models?

The picture below shows the differences between the series 1 wheels (on the left) fitted to the 5 door models and the series 2 wheels (on the right) fitted to the 3 door models. The series 1 wheels have a flat polished surface with dark grey painted edges. The series 2 wheels are slightly concave, softer edges and are completely silver in colour.

How do I prevent the valve caps being stolen?

I fitted some smart aftermarket valve caps on my wheels only for them to go missing in the night several days later. It makes you mad even though they don't cost that much. It's just the thought of someone nicking something off your car, probably because the same thing happened to them and rather than do the decent thing and buy some more they nick someone elses.

My solution was to put them on with a 10mm spanner. Don't do them up too tight as you don't want the valve to rotate in the wheel and you want to be able to undo them. Obviously keep a spare 10mm spanner in the glove box!

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