Spare Wheel Checks And Tyre Repair Kits
Believe it or not but having a spare wheel and jack in your car is no longer a legal requirement. Fact is, more car manufacturers are tossing the spare wheel in favour of lighter and cheaper puncture repair kits. In some cases, many are also turning to run flat tyres.
In theory, tyre repair kits are easier and faster than replacing the wheel itself but they can be confusing to use. They also aren’t suited for all types of punctures especially those on the sidewall. Nobody wants to get a puncture but the risks are there and being well-prepared can you save you time, frustration and money. Whether you have a spare wheel or puncture repair kit, you need to know what steps to take.
What You Need To Know About Tyre Punctures
Punctures often happen at the most inconvenient times and can be really frustrating. Not all punctures are the same though and while a small nail in the middle of your tyre is cause for concern, a serious puncture can flatten the wheel almost immediately. These can result in making it extremely difficult or even impossible to drive. When this happens, it’s best to pull over as soon as it’s safe and consider your options for repair.
The most serious and dangerous type of puncture is a blowout. This occurs when the tyre bursts and all the air escapes in a moment’s notice destroying the tyre. In this scenario, you must keep both hands on the wheel at all times, avoid heavy breaking and pull over safely. From there, assess the damage to see whether you can change the wheel (if you have a spare) or call your breakdown service.
What Causes A Blowout?
A tyre blowout is most often the result of under-inflation but hitting a curb or a pothole at speed can also be a cause. Regular tyre maintenance will help you avoid blowouts and you could even identify a puncture before it ruins your tyre and puts you and your family at risk.
No matter what precautions you take though, even a new or well-maintained tyre can get a puncture. The least you can do is check the overall condition of all your tyres and the spare if your car has one. You can visit your nearest Elite for a free tyre check where our experts will look at your spare wheel as well.
Regardless of the situation, it’s also recommended that you keep some safety essentials and tools in your boot. This includes a reflective safety triangle to warn other drivers, especially when it’s dark, flashlights, high visibility jackets and a decent pair of gloves.
How To Use A Tyre Repair Kit
Before we get into the instructions, first identify the type of puncture. As mentioned earlier, if your tyre has a blowout or the wheel structure is damaged, a repair kit won’t be enough and you’ll need to call a breakdown service. However, the repair kit should be sufficient to repair small punctures from nails or screws.
Depending on your car, the repair kit is either under the floor of your boot or in the side panels of the car. It generally contains a bottle of sealant, a compressor and a speed limit sticker to remind the driver to travel at a certain speed, usually 40 mph.
How To Inflate Your Tyre Using A Tyre Repair Kit
While these instructions may vary depending on the car, there should be directions on the pump itself or in the car owner’s manual.
- Remove the dust cap from your tyre
- Attach the sealant bottle to the tyre valve
- Attach the compressor to the sealant
- Now attach the compressor to the 12V charger in your (the cigarette lighter or separate socket)
- Turn on the engine and wait 10-15 minutes at which time the tyre should inflate
- Disconnect the compressor and the bottle of sealant and remember to replace the dust cap
If your tyre is not inflating, try driving a few more feet at a very slow speed. In some instances, the sealant must still circulate a little more around the tyre. If this fails, we recommend that you call your breakdown service to get expert assistance. Just like run flat tyres, these kits are only a quick, temporary fix to help get you to a garage. It is a legal requirement that you replace the damaged tyre and repair kit as soon as you can.
What About Run Flat Tyres?
Many car manufacturers fit run flat tyres to new cars instead of a spare wheel. Run flat tyres are designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured which enables you to continue driving at low speeds. The tyres temporarily maintain their shape and strength even when there is a total loss of pressure.
Most run flat tyres will allow you to drive for 50 miles at 50 mph to help you get home safely or to the nearest garage. You have to replace them when exposed to any form of damage as the structural integrity has been compromised. As of November 2014, all new cars must have a TPMS which measures the internal tyre pressure and alerts drivers to any deviation.
Related Article: ‘TPMS: What Does That Mean?’
Tyre Safety At Elite Garages
To ensure the safety of you, your family and other road users, it is vital to do regular tyre checks, at least every two weeks. If you are ever in doubt, visit any of our Elite Garages nationwide for a FREE tyre check. Our expert technicians will do a thorough tyre inspection (including the spare wheel) looking at tyre pressure, tread depth and visual damage. Once completed, we will provide you with a detailed report indicating any concerns.
You can also rely on Elite Garages for MOTs, car services, exhausts, alignment, batteries and brakes among others. Remember the Elite price promise, “If you find a genuine printed cheaper price for the same product which is in stock we will meet or beat this price at the time of purchase.”