Everyone knows that ‘prevention is better than cure’ but sometimes things are simply out of our control. In the motoring world, a tyre puncture is always a possible outcome whether you drive on urban roads or going off-road. Even if you are the most careful driver, you can’t always avoid getting a tyre puncture.
At some point, your tyres will hit a nail, screw and sharp stone or mount the pavement in such a way that a puncture is unavoidable. It’s important to check the condition of your tyres at least once a month, inspecting them for wear and tear, cracks, splits or bulges. If you get a tyre puncture, do you know how to fix it and do you have all the necessary tools?
Preparing For The Worst
Not all tyre punctures will cause serious damage but it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If the puncture is in the centre of the tyre, you can fix it using a tyre puncture repair kit. However, any form of damage to the sidewall of a car tyre should be taken seriously and inspected by an expert. Chances are that you will need to replace that tyre.
Always pay attention to the advice from tyre experts as stated by KwikFit: “The sidewall is the part of the tyre which sustains the most load when the tyre is in use. When a tyre undergoes a minor repair, the damaged area is prepared using an air drill. While perfectly safe when used in the minor repair area of the tyre, the process could potentially weaken the structure of the sidewall. The sidewall also endures the most flex in the tyre which means a repair patch applied to this area is far more likely to detach as a result of this increased movement, leading to tyre failure.”
Being prepared is one of the most important factors especially in the motoring world. The first step is to ensure that you have all the right tools including a car jack, wheel spanner, wheel chock, warning triangle and, of course, a puncture repair kit. You should always keep these items in your boot as you never know when you might need them.
Prevent Tyre Punctures
While you can’t always completely avoid punctures, there are a few preventative measures and that includes knowing where to drive. Construction sites are quite possibly the biggest culprit as there are countless nails, screws and other items that could easily cause a puncture.
Accidents scenes are no better as they often cause shards of glass and sharp metal objects to spread all across the road surface. You should always approach an accident scene with caution and be on the lookout for anything that could damage your tyres.
Another handy tip is to remain as close to the white line as possible when driving in the rain as storms push debris toward the side of the road. It’s best to avoid any clutter close to the pavement as you don’t know what lies beneath.
Tips For Fixing A Tyre Puncture
A tyre puncture repair kit should only be used on tubeless tyres and you should never try to repair a tyre that shows signs of internal or external structural damage. This includes exposed belts, ply separation and bulges or cracks on the sidewall. Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s how to repair a car tyre puncture using a repair kit:
Step 1: Identify The Puncture Location And Source
Once you’ve identified where the puncture is and what caused it, grab your puncture repair kit and get ready for some patching.
- If the object is still stuck in the tyre, use your pliers to pull it out
- Take the tube of rubber cement and the reamer
- Squeeze some of the rubber cement onto the hole
- Use the reamer to work the rubber cement in and out of the puncture to clean and widen the hole
Step 2: Plugging The Hole
The next step requires the plug and plug insertion tool from your puncture repair kit.
- Pull the plug through the needle-eye on the insertion tool
- Squeeze a little more rubber cement onto the plug
- Push the plug snuggly into the hole but not all the way. Let approximately 1cm of the plug stick out of the tyre
Step 3: Twist, Pull And Slice
Once the plug is in place with the bit sticking out, turn the insertion tool about a quarter of the way and pull it out as fast as you can. If done correctly, you’ll notice some excess bits of the plug which must be sliced off using a blade making sure it is flush with the tyre surface.
Step 4: Inflate And Check
Leave the area to dry and inflate your tyre to see if the patch will hold. If possible, pour water over the tyre to check for any possible leaks. It’s pretty simple really – if you see bubbles forming, there is still a leak.
Top Tip: If you get a puncture in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have a repair kit or a good spare tyre, don’t just yank out the object. With a slow puncture, there is often enough air in your tyre to drive slowly to the nearest service centre. In many cases, pulling out an object could cause air to leak much faster leaving you stranded.
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