Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

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fatjon
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Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby fatjon » 12 Oct 2020, 11:47am

The metal parts inside the tow ball clamp broke up. The whole lot fell off and smashed my bikes up. Halfords forced me to drive to the North of Scotland to pick up the knackered bike rack and all the mangled bikes. Having just got back from my 20 hour round trip over the weekend I'm now taking my bikes to fixed and repainted. They will shortly be receiving my bill followed by a summons if they don't pay it. Buy this at your peril, deal with this company at your peril.

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bike-r ... iMQAvD_BwE

metal parts.jpeg

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Graham
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby Graham » 12 Oct 2020, 3:12pm

Looking at the Halfords link to the rack, I'm puzzled as to how this long lever could ever work. The strain at the attached end must be huge.

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Paulatic
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby Paulatic » 12 Oct 2020, 3:55pm

As above I’ve seen that rack and marvelled at the thought of all that leverage can be held by such a small device.
Now I’ve got my answer. Good luck dealing with Halfords I hope you find satisfaction.
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FerociousDog
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby FerociousDog » 12 Oct 2020, 6:22pm

What were the circumstances for the failure?
Was it correctly fitted?
I have a similar 4 bike carrier,from another manufacturer,that is around 8 years old and has covered 1000s of miles.There are plenty of these carriers around from various manufacturers.I can’t see why the Halfords model should be any less sturdy than mine or a Pendle/Thule!?
It states it has a 5 year guarantee.Have you contacted Halfords?

rualexander
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby rualexander » 13 Oct 2020, 12:38am

Graham wrote:Looking at the Halfords link to the rack, I'm puzzled as to how this long lever could ever work. The strain at the attached end must be huge.

Surely as long as it's been designed properly there should be no problem.

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Paulatic
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby Paulatic » 13 Oct 2020, 8:44am

rualexander wrote:
Graham wrote:Looking at the Halfords link to the rack, I'm puzzled as to how this long lever could ever work. The strain at the attached end must be huge.

Surely as long as it's been designed properly there should be no problem.

You would hope so IME it’s not always the case.
I bought a Pendle towbar rack, similar to that, back in the nineties. It came with a bolt on block behind the ball not suitable for a swan neck. Before purchase I had discussed with them and made sure it was suitable for the LandRover I had at that time. After a few uses it was noticeable that all that weight levering on that point was bending the rear cross member. To Pendle's credit they did plate and strengthen that crossmember free of charge but i had a long journey to receive it.
I’m no engineer and can only imagine the forces but I can tot up the weight of bikes and rack and imagine that in itself is getting close to maximum nose weights of many cars and tow balls. That’s stationary now start lobbing that weight up and down from the bounce of the road and with no trailer wheels to take some of the strain surely all the energy is going to the ball.
Those clamp on racks are good, I use one myself, but with mine the weight for up-to 3 bikes is going vertically down to the clamp with little leverage.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Oct 2020, 9:58am

I see that Thule do something similar at around three times the price. Indeed, a couple of years ago I asked for advice on here from anybody with experience of them. The only thing that stopped me leaping in was that for some reason I never discovered, the towball on the car was not suitable because it had the sunroof option. Presumably something to do with the wiring.

I looked at the fitting vid for this Halfords product and I was surprised by the extent to which tightening up was left to the user's judgment. Thule instructions usually prescribe torque wrench settings. IME, which doesn't include a catastrophic failure like this, if something is returned under guarantee, big retailers tend to replace/ refund and just send the duff item back to the manufacturer to sort out, always assuming it doesn't go in the bin. The difference here is that there is consequential damage - all the bikes - which might have been worse eg people in a following vehicle injured.

The foot soldiers in the local branch might have no clue, but a more complicated claim like this may concentrate minds. Checking that instructions were scrupulously followed might only be a starter.

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horizon
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby horizon » 13 Oct 2020, 11:01am

The maximum weight capacity is listed as 60kg which in my case would easily be exceeded by four of my bikes. While counting one's bikes is easy, knowing how much they weigh I would have thought is tricky for most people. In any case one wouldn't want to come near to capacity even allowing for the manufacturer's safety margin. My impression from travelling on trains with a bike is that even engineers are clueless about the size and weight of bikes and I might even believe that the rack makers themselves don't actually know how much bikes weigh - I doubt they would have put the capacity at 60 kg had they known. Am I right?

If, OTOH, it is case of metallurgical failure, then presumably more cases are in the pipeline.

PS As I suspected (from reading a review):

As another has said - I cannot believe this got off the design board as it is! The maximum allowable bike wheelbase in the manual is 109cm (this is not shown on the website anywhere - only in the manual when you have purchased and unpacked the item). This is very short. My electric bike with 29” wheels is 109cm and that’s a small frame as I am 5’2” tall. That fits - just! Anyone with a medium or large frame bike - it won’t fit. My husband’s regular MTB is too long at 120cm wheelbase and he is only 5’10” tall so again, not an extreme size bike!. No mention of such restrictions anywhere in the website or on the box. The rails need to be 2 inches or so longer and it can then fit the majority of adult bikes. We are going to have to make adaptations to get it to fit 2 adult and 2 kids bikes safely.
Concerned too the plastic wheel straps will last but let’s see - it has At least got a 5 year warranty!
So far, only fit it to test out. Will try to use next week - wish me luck!
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

thirdcrank
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Oct 2020, 11:11am

When I was checking the broadly similar Thule, that mentioned 60Kgs and suggested it was ok for electric bikes, although presumably not four of them.

Features:-

High load capacity enabling transport of E-bikes and Mountain bikes ...

Maximum loading weight 60 kg. Maximum bike weight 30 kg


https://www.roofracks.co.uk/velospace-xt4/p/663

fatjon
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby fatjon » 13 Oct 2020, 3:16pm

It is kind of hard to fit it incorrectly. You put it over the ball and hand tighten a knorled wheel it then do up a clamp bolt until it no longer swings around and clouts the back of the car. It had one adult full size bike, one smaller ladies bike and two childrens bikes (by which I mean a 7 year old and a 12 year old. All alloy framed and having recovered them and weighed them they are nowhere near the weight limit.

The annoying parts is not the failure, stuff happens. It's the Halfords attitude, they really could not give a damn. Refuse to pick up the bikes at all, refuse to do repairs and wanted me to palletise the rack and ship it from Scotland to them for inspection. It's patently obvious what happened! It broke and dumped my bikes.
If this was a portable product I would be a little more understanding but it's a bloody great bike rack and the reason it was stranded in Scotland is that by it's very nature, if it fails both it and the bikes are stuck where they are. If I had bought an EBay special from WeDontCare Traders for a knockdown price I would expect this attitude but from a major UK retailer I really do not.

thirdcrank
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Oct 2020, 3:26pm

Once the Coalition Government had trashed the local trading standards, help in this sort of case became hard-to-find. Your local Citizens Advice may be able to help, although that can be pot luck.

Best wishes for a good result. It would have been bad enough if this had happened outside your house

FerociousDog
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby FerociousDog » 13 Oct 2020, 4:21pm

Come on now you really didn’t expect Halfords to send someone to pick up the mess did you?That just won’t happen!It just doesn’t come under any after sales commitment!
Why did you leave everything in Scotland?I certainly wouldn’t have!
I assume you took photos of everything to help your case with the repairs?Is everything covered by your motor or home insurance?
I understand your anger and frustration but there are limits to what can be expected from any retailer!

fatjon
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby fatjon » 13 Oct 2020, 4:33pm

The answer is pretty simple. I cannot fit a 4 bike rack and 4 bikes in the boot of my car! So I left them all in the shed of a helpful local.
And this is not a warranty claim it's a negligence claim for north of £500 (922 miles at Revenue agreed rates) in travel plus 4 new bikes or repairs.

rualexander
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby rualexander » 13 Oct 2020, 4:39pm

fatjon wrote:The answer is pretty simple. I cannot fit a 4 bike rack and 4 bikes in the boot of my car! So I left them all in the shed of a helpful local.
And this is not a warranty claim it's a negligence claim for north of £500 (922 miles at Revenue agreed rates) in travel plus 4 new bikes or repairs.


Surely cheaper to box them all up and courier them back to your home address?

fatjon
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Re: Halfords Advanced Towball bike rack failure

Postby fatjon » 13 Oct 2020, 4:55pm

I did investigate getting someone out to palletise them lot and courier them home. The best deal (of 8 quotes) just on the courier was £506. This is 4 hours north of Glasgow in the middle of nowhere. One of those postcodes that is always excluded from free delivery when you buy stuff online. It was 10 hours each way in a transit van last Friday/Saturday.