Everything You Need To Know About Replacing A Car Tyre

Car tyres have a tough job, from managing potholes and busy city streets to the many surprises that rural roads have to offer. Your car’s tyres take all sorts of punishment even just going to and from work or the shops. While your tyres mostly get to your destination unscathed, flat tyres do occur and more often than you may think.

What Are The Main Causes Of Flat Tyres?

When you get a puncture, it’s understandable that you’d rather repair it than replace it, especially if the car’s tyre is still pretty new. At Elite Garages, we always try to repair a punctured tyre before suggesting a replacement but sometimes it’s not possible. The question is, can you repair flat tyres and why do they go flat in the first place?

Poor Road Conditions

The most common cause of flat tyres is bad road conditions where there’s a greater risk due to uneven paving, potholes and debris. Even though you can get a flat immediately in some instances, other times you might have a slow leak from a small puncture caused by a nail or other foreign object.

High Temperatures

Your car’s tyres are most likely to go flat during the hottest months of the year. Remember, high temperatures result in expanding air inside your tyres which increases the internal pressure and the likelihood of a leak or tyre blowout.

Many Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) in cars only measure if your tyres become underinflated, not overinflated. The worst thing you can do is wait for your dashboard warning light to appear as it often does on cold winter mornings.

For a more accurate reading, check your tyre pressure in the morning before setting off on your journey. Make sure the pressure is correct and avoid over-inflation at all costs, especially in warmer weather. To find out more, have a look at the article, ‘How Often Should I Check My Tyre Pressure?

Leaking Valve Stems

Sometimes, flat tyres aren’t always caused by a hole in the rubber or slow punctures but rather a leak or faulty valve stem. As this part unscrews when adding air, any damage or even dirt could cause your tyre to lose air until it’s completely flat. As with many parts on your car, valve stems also age over time and can become brittle or cracked. If you suspect any issues, take your car to your nearest Elite Garage so our tyre experts can have a look.

Normal Wear And Tear Can Affect A Car Tyre

Just like brakes, shocks and other components, the strains of daily wear and tear can also result in flat tyres. Normal wear and tear can easily get the better of your car tyre as the tread gradually wears down. This makes your tyres more vulnerable and susceptible to the usual hazards of daily driving resulting in a flat tyre.

While you can’t do much about normal tyre wear, there are a few simple things you can do to extend the lifespan of your tyres. This includes avoiding fast stops and starts, better monitoring and maintaining of recommended tyre pressures, rotating your tyres regularly and routine wheel alignment checks.

Recommended: ‘How To Check Your Tyre Tread Correctly

Can Run Flat Tyres Be Repaired?

It’s a popular question and the answer may not be what you want to hear. When your run-flat tyres get a puncture or any damage, we recommend that they should always be replaced rather than attempting to repair them.

For normal car tyres, it all depends on the location of the puncture as stipulated by the policy of the British standard (BSAU159). This defines how and when a minor tyre repair can take place and its proximity to the tyre sidewall.

Any type of puncture outside this area is deemed too close to the sidewall and it cannot guarantee a safe and lasting fix. For that reason, Elite Garages only carry out tyre repairs to the central ¾ of the tyre which is called the ‘minor repair area’.

Can A Car Tyre Be Repaired Twice

Tyre punctures can only be repaired if the hole is a quarter-inch across or less and, according to some manufacturers, not more than twice! Another reason that may prohibit tyre repairs is if two punctures are within 16 inches of one another. In the following instances, a garage may refuse to repair a car tyre:

  • When car tyres are down to their tread wear indicators
  • If there is a tread depth of one-sixteenth of an inch
  • When a previous puncture repair was not done properly

If you can’t repair your tyres, have a look at our extensive range of budget, performance, run-flat and winter tyres. We stock various brands you will be familiar with, including Avon, Dunlop, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Firestone and Continental among many others.

How To Spot Slow Punctures

You can spot a normal puncture quite easily but a slow puncture is more elusive and can remain undetected for a long time. When a tyre is damaged, there will be a slow loss of air and eventually a drop in pressure, so how do know when you’ve got a slow puncture?

  • When driving on a flat road with a relaxed grip on the steering wheel and you notice the car pulling to the left or the right. This is a sign that the pressure is low in at least one of your car’s tyres
  • Another tell-tale sign is vibrations from your steering wheel as a loss of air in the tyre can cause your wheel to become unbalanced
  • If you notice any changes in your car’s handling capabilities, check your tyre pressure as soon as possible
  • If your suspension feels harder than usual, check your tyre pressure

When To Replace Car Tyres

In the UK, passenger car tyres should be replaced by the time the tread reaches 1.6mm, which is the minimum legal limit. However, many experts recommend replacing tyres when the tread is at 3mm as the amount of grip already reduces at this stage.

Beyond punctures or excessive wear, car tyres are also susceptible to damage such as blisters, bulges or splits in the sidewall. In some cases, damage occurs from something minor like hitting a pothole or driving over a speed bump too fast.

According to Michelin, an average car tyre should last 25,000 miles but there is no specific lifespan as it depends on driving habits, wheel alignment and tyre pressure. Also, if you don’t use your car often or own a classic car, experts recommend replacing all tyres after 10 years.

Recommended: ‘How To Check Your Tyre Tread

Car Tyres Near Me

It’s important to check your tyres at least once a week as damage can result in a loss of pressure or a sudden blowout. We highly recommend that you also get your tyres checked at least once annually if they’re older than five years.

At Elite Garages, we have over 1 million tyres in stock across the entire group and you can also reserve your tyres online. Our expert technicians are here to assist with all your motoring needs from MOTs and services to wheel alignment and free tyre checks.

If you’re looking for quality, affordable tyres near you, we have branches across the south and south-east. Click here to find your nearest Elite centre to find the right car tyres for you.