Simple Solutions to Avoid or Repair A Puncture
Got a flat tire while on your way to an important meeting? Don't worry, here's a quick fix to get you back on the road in no time.
Check and Adjust Tire Pressure Regularly:
Even if properly installed, a good tire can deflate over time, and colder temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop. Keeping the tires at the correct pressure will keep you safe and save you money. Note that the life of a tire can be reduced by 75% if it is inflated to only 80% of its optimum pressure.
- Your optimum tire pressure is normally listed in the manual that came with the vehicle, on a sticker on the inside of the driver's door, or in the gas filler cap flap.
- Measure the pressure of each tire at least once every two weeks using an accurate pressure gauge. Most gas stations have a combined device that measures the pressure and inflates the tire at the same time. Your tires should be as cool as possible when you take the measurement. So avoid driving the car for more than a minute or two towards the gas station as the friction will heat the rubber of the tire. Remember to check the pressure of the spare tire (if you have one).
Warning: always replace your valve caps after inflating your tires. These play an important role in the exclusion of water and debris, two elements that could hamper the proper functioning of the valve.
Repairing a Flat Tire When You're on the Road:
A puncture does not necessarily mean the purchase of a new tire. You might be able to have it repaired for a fraction of the cost of a replacement. Tires can be repaired as long as the puncture is in the main area of the tire tread, and you have not driven for a long time on the flat or partially deflated tire.
- If you have a puncture while driving, you will hear a thumping noise or your vehicle will pull to the left or right. Stop as soon as possible in a safe place on a level and stable surface. Don't be tempted to drive to your destination because you risk damaging the tire and wheel.
- If you have a spare tire in your vehicle, you can either call a roadside assistance service or change the flat tire yourself. If you change the flat tire yourself, you should follow the instructions in your vehicle's owner's manual.
- Many cars these days don't come with a spare tire, but rather a device containing a sealant that you inject through the tire valve. You then use a compressed gas cylinder to re-inflate the tire. It is not a permanent repair; take your vehicle to a qualified professional to have your tire checked.
Have Your Tire repaired as Soon as Possible:
- A screw or nail can get lodged in your tire without deflating it. Don't ignore the problem; the nail may move while you are driving and suddenly burst the tire.
- Rather, drive slowly to the next garage to have the nail removed. If the tire remains solid, you will have lost little; if it deflates, you are in the best place to get it fixed quickly.