Tyres can experience punctures for a whole number of reasons, affecting your ability to safely drive your car. It’s important to know when a puncture repair is possible, or if the damage is too severe, if a tyre should be replaced with a new one.
It’s happened to many of us: you’re driving along and you notice your car is more difficult to control. You get out to check the tyres, finding that one of them is flat. On closer inspection, you notice a small nail embedded in the tyre, which has caused a slow leak. Another common occurrence is one that is more immediately noticeable: you drive over a rock or other sharp object, through a pothole, or hit a kerb too hard, and you hear the loud pop of the tyre bursting.
After the flat tyre has been replaced either by a spare tyre or a “space-saver” tyre, you’re left with two choices: to repair the wheel puncture or to buy a new tyre. Part of the decision will be determined by where the damage has occurred on the tyre.
If the puncture occurred in the tread (the relatively flat surface of the tyre that is in contact with the road), then it is usually possible to repair a puncture. The main exception to this is if the damaged area on the tread is large, that is, over 5mm in diameter. This is because the tyre will be removed from the rim and the puncture will be sealed from the inside, so a large puncture will be more difficult to seal.
If the puncture occurred on the shoulder or sidewall of the tyre, then it is not possible to repair the puncture. This is because an undamaged shoulder and sidewall are essential for the structural integrity of the tyre, and once they are damaged, the tyre needs to be replaced instead of repaired.
There are two important points to remember regarding flat tyres: it’s not a good idea to drive around on a flat tyre, so if you have a spare, it’s best to change the flat tyre before you start driving again, otherwise you can do damage to the wheel rim. Driving on a flat tyre is also difficult and unsafe as it will greatly diminish the manoeuvrability of the car, putting yourself and other drivers at risk.
Also, many car manufacturers include space-saver tyres as a way of reducing the need for a larger tyre (they can also be purchased from tyre companies), which can take up valuable space in a car. Many people like driving with one attached as they can reduce fuel use due to the decreased weight of the car, however space savers do not offer the same safety benefits of a normal-sized wheel. They will often have limits on speed, tyre pressure, safe travel distance, and load, as they are designed for temporary use only and should not be driven over long distances.
We hope it is now much clearer when a puncture repair is or isn’t possible, and Jim’s Mobile Tyres are happy to help with all of your tyre needs, whenever you need us.