What to Do if You Get a Punctured Tyre: Obvious and Non-standard Tips
It can happen to anyone: comfortable driving can be interrupted at any moment by a suddenly depressurized tyre forcing the driver to decide promptly what to do with this problem.
To begin with, one should pay attention to even notice a tyre puncture in a modern car. The driver shall monitor the steering effort, wheel noise and tyre pressure indicators on the control board (if available). If the driver doesn’t notice the punctured tyre in time, the tyre will be completely ruined and non-repairable: the only choice would be replacement.
If you notice the signs of a flat tyre — the car pulls towards one side, there is humming or rhythmic noise from the side of the wheels, or wobbling — smoothly reduce the speed and slowly pull over in a safe place. Dealing with a flat tyre on the roadway is dangerous.
- Listen. If there is some air left in the tyre, sometimes you can hear hissing and localize the leak. It is very important for deciding what to do next. You can more accurately determine the puncture by pouring water on a supposed place of puncture: the outgoing air will bubble a film of water on the rubber.
- Wiggle the valve by tilting it — it is often the case that the valve cracked at the connection point with the disc lets air through. Only highly professional drivers can replace it, and the rest should take the damaged tyre to the service station for repair, replacing it with a spare tyre.
- Check the valve core. It is unlikely, but air may escape through a faulty valve core. The old but sure way to check it with saliva on the valve hole is well known to all drivers: make sure the air is not blowing out resulting in a bubble, otherwise the valve core is faulty. If there is no spare valve core, try to stop the air leaking through the damaged valve core by slightly lifting the cap with a thin tool, as if trying to pull it out. This measure is temporary, but often quite effective.
- Inspect the tyre sidewalls. Damage to the sidewall is easy to notice. A hole in this place is usually the result of a wheel hitting the edges of a large pit. Due to design features of the tyre it is possible to eliminate only a small hole in the sidewall (about 5 mm) without help of the service station, and only if you have a special a sealing compound, which shall be blown into the tyre through the valve.
- Inspect the tread. A puncture appears most often on the tread, and the problem area can be detected by some object sticking out of it — a nail, a screw, a piece of wire. But do not rush to take it out immediately.
- Joint place of the rim of the disc with the tyre. It is one of the most likely places of air leaks. And the reason is usually not a puncture, but a rusted disc or dents due to a pothole. A serious dent can only be fixed on a special machine, but some discs (e.g. steel discs) can be fixed by a regular hammer — although it is still recommended going to the service station afterwards. Leakage due to corrosion is “treated” after disassembling the wheel, but the plus of such a malfunction is that the air leak is rather slow in this case.
- A damaged valve is an almost hopeless situation and cannot be repaired on the roadway. However, if you don’t touch or tilt the valve after having inflated the tyre, the leakage will not be very significant and will let you continue driving, although not quickly.
- When air is intensively leaking through the hole in the tread, a suitable screw screwed into the hole will help. It will not solve the problem completely, but it will allow you to get to the place where it can be repaired.
- If there is a repair kit in the form of a spray can with sealing compound on board, use it according to the instructions — it is quite effective and easy to use.
- If there are dents on the discs or severe cuts on the tyre from a rough pit, the problem can be temporarily resolved by inserting an inner tube of a suitable size. Not everyone can do this without aid, and you still need to find the inner tube somewhere. But still, keep in mind this option — it is possible even in a small tyre fitting station, where there is no equipment for disc recovering or thorough tyre repair.