What to do if you experience a tyre puncture while out and about on the roads.
Being made of rubber, tyres are susceptible to damage caused by rubble left lying in the roads. Sharp objects like nails can easily piece the tyre tread if driven over but even blunt items like screws and other metallic objects can become embedded in the tread. This is likely to cause a loss of air in the tyre, but don't worry, here's what to do if you get a puncture.
Can you drive with a flat tyre?
In short, if you experience a flat tyre while out and about on the roads, you should not continue to drive the vehicle. Instead, you should stop in a safe location as soon as possible. The truth is, a set of tyres that are in good working condition are crucial for the safety of you, your passengers and other road users, so itís important that you stop in a suitable place and seek a tyre repair as soon as you can.
Although driving on a flat tyre to get to a place of safety in order to review the damage is acceptable, travelling a longer distance with a known fault is considered dangerous and reckless. This action can carry a penalty, including a fine and points on your driving licence.
So, to find out what you should do in the event of a flat tyre, keep reading.
How long does tyre foam last?
When you suffer a puncture, tyre foam can be used to temporarily fix the problem. However, no matter what type of sealant you fill your tyre with, itís important to remember that itís only a short term repair as the tyre hasnít been removed from its wheel and examined for damage inside.
Typically, tyre foam or sealant will last between 50 to 100 miles before it starts to become ineffective. Itís essential that you get your tyre fixed or replaced properly as soon as possible. After discovering a puncture and making the temporary repair, you should head directly to a tyre fitter or garage.
How to use a tyre inflation kit
These days, tyre inflation kits are often included in vehicles by car manufacturers instead the traditional spare. Invaluable when you find yourself at the mercy of an unexpected puncture, this piece of kit has everything you need to get back on the road so you can get your car to a safe location and looked at by a professional.
If you experience a puncture, the first step is to find yourself somewhere safe to park. Always remember itís wiser to cover more distance to find a safe spot and risk further damage to your tyre than to pull over in a dangerous location such as down a narrow lane or on a blind corner.
Once parked, put on your hazard lights and, if youíve got one stashed in your car, pull on a high-vis jacket and position the reflective frame of your on-board warning triangle to make sure oncoming traffic can see you clearly.
The good news is, tyre repair kits are not difficult to use but if you donít feel competent at carrying out the task, always call for assistance rather than put your life in jeopardy.
If you decide to use the tyre repair kit, youíll need to make sure your car is ready first. To prepare your car for this temporary repair, apply your handbrake and ensure all passengers exit the vehicle. Next, remove the kit from your boot. Inside, you should find a compressor and the sealant.
The next step is to locate your puncture, so thoroughly examine the affected tyre to track it down. There are circumstances in which the damage will not be so easily repaired by your kit and you will need to call for a tyre change. These can include the wheel itself being damaged, a tear in the sidewall of the affected tyre or if there is a hole larger than 4mm in the tyre tread. In such situations, replace your damaged tyre with the spare tyre if youíre carrying one.
Connecting your repair kit is the next order of business. The majority of kits will require you to squeeze the entire container of sealant into the damaged tyre by hand through its adapter. To do this, you might be required to remove a tyre valve, but this will be indicated in the instructions included in either your vehicle handbook or the repair kit itself.
When the entirety of the sealant has been squeezed into the tyre, you can attach the kitís compressor into either a 12-volt socket or cigarette lighter located inside your vehicle. To make certain the sealant makes its way through the whole tyre, itís a good idea to roll your car forward a little.
Some repair kits may benefit from an extra adapter which will enable you to attach the sealant bottle to the compressor. Instead of manually adding the sealant, you can pump it in with assistance from the compressor.
Now youíre ready to inflate your tyre. After making sure your vehicle is in neutral, start up your engine and turn on the compressor. Inflate your tyre to the correct pressure recommended for your car, making sure you donít over inflate it. You can usually find the ideal pressure for your make and model on a sticker on the inside of your driver-side door, and it should also be listed in your vehicle handbook.
With your tyre properly inflated, get your passengers if any on board again and make your way to the closest garage. On route, make sure you donít overstep the advised maximum speed limit for driving your car with a temporarily repaired tyre. This information is often listed on your repair kit for your convenience.
Can you drive with a screw in your tyre?
On examining your puncture, you may find the item that caused it still embedded in your tyre. A screw is one of the most common suspects.
Your first impulse may be to remove it, thinking you canít drive with it in place, but in fact your best course of action is to leave it right where it is. Contrary to popular belief, removing a screw, piece of glass or nail may actually enlarge your puncture and make it worse. If the screw is pushed into the tyre far enough, it may also be stopping it losing air.
While driving a short distance to somewhere you can get your tyre fixed properly or replaced entirely is within reason, continuing to drive longer distances with a screw on board is not advised. A screw left in place can potentially become a blowout, leading loss of vehicle control and a potential collision with other motorists.
Getting the screw removed as soon as possible can also be cost effective. If you catch it early, it may be a simple and inexpensive procedure to fix your puncture. If left, however, it could lead to you forking out for a whole new tyre.