It is no longer a legal necessity to have a spare tyre and jack in your vehicle. In reality, more car manufacturers now opt for puncture repair kits. Theoretically, they’re safer and cheaper than changing the wheel itself. They’re a lot smaller than a spare tyre, too.
Yet they may be frustrating to use, and they are not appropriate for all forms of punctures. Furthermore, if you don’t have a spare and the puncture repair kit/tyre inflator isn’t sufficient then you will have to fork out for a tyre fitting company to come out to you. If you can’t get a tyre-fitting company to come out, then you’ll need to call for a recovery company like the AA to take you to buy one and have it fitted to your wheel then return to your vehicle to install it so you can be on your way. If that can’t be done then you’ll have to be towed to a garage or even worse – you’ll have to call a family member or friend to help you!
Let’s take a look at the basics of using manufacturer supplied puncture repair kits and other alternatives to carrying a manufacturer-provided spare wheel in our quick guide below.
How To Tell If Your Tyre Has A Puncture?
A serious puncture will flatten the wheel right away, making it very difficult or even impossible to drive. At this point, you need to pull over and consider your repair options.
Perhaps the most challenging form of puncture is a blowout. That is where the tyre explodes, and the air escapes, damaging the tyre. If this ever happens while you’re driving, you should keep both hands on the wheel, avoid heavy braking, and try to pull it over safely. Once you’ve pulled over and it’s safe enough to do so, you can either change your wheel yourself, call your breakdown company or a tyre replacement company.
Underinflation is probably the most common cause of a blowout. Other causes include hitting a curb or a pothole.
Maintaining your tyres on a regular basis will help you avoid blowouts. Even a well-maintained tyre, through no fault of the driver, will fall foul to puncture.
How Do Puncture Repair Kits Work?
Firstly, what kind of puncture do you have? If your tyre is blown out or the wheel structure itself is damaged, you will need to call your breakdown service to get it sorted.
If it is a small puncture, such as a nail, the repair kit should help. You can find it either under the boot floor or in the side panels of the car.
What Do Puncture Repair Kits Consist of?
- Speed limit sticker (Usually around 40mph.)
How To Inflate Your Punctured Tyre:
- Remove the dust cap
- Attach sealant bottle to valve
- Attach compressor to sealant
- Attach compressor to 12V socket (cigarette lighter)
- Turn on your engine and wait until the tyre has inflated
- Remove the compressor and the bottle of sealant
- Replace the dust cap
Such instructions can vary from model to model, but you can find directions on the pump itself or in the car manual.
If you don’t notice your tyre inflating, try driving a few feet at a very slow pace. The sealant may need to flow around the tyre. If this doesn’t do the trick, then you may need to call your breakdown service.
These kits are a simple fix to get you to the garage. The tyre and repair kit should be replaced as soon as possible, as this is a legal requirement.
What Are The Disadvantages of Repair Kits?
As mentioned earlier, the kits do not fix every kind of puncture.
It will also be challenging to replace your wheel after using a repair kit. The sealant is difficult to clean, and many tyre fitters may deny or charge more for cleaning.
Driving on a flat can sound like a dangerous thing, but these strengthened tyres allow you to drive after a puncture for a limited distance. They had been built by manufacturers in the past and were not appropriate for all vehicles.
However, the ‘run-flat’ tyres have moved up a gear using the latest technology. The Bridgestone DriveGuard tyres are used on almost all vehicles, provided they have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
After November 2014, all new cars must now have a TPMS that monitors the internal pressure of the tyres and alerts the driver to any loss of pressure through the dashboard monitor.
Although these tyres will save you from being stuck on the roadside, you should notify your insurer if you have run-flats installed, because they may be counted as a modification.
How Will My Breakdown Company Repair My Punctured Tyre?
If you have a spare tyre or a Roadhero spare wheel, and you don’t know how to replace it yourself, your breakdown service will come out and replace the wheel.
If not, they’re going to try to patch the puncture on the roadside or get you to the garage for a new tyre. They might attempt a puncture repair kit, but most of the breakdown companies may only put a temporary plug in the puncture to repair it.
The advantage is that the tyre could still be fixed because it is merely a rubber plug inserted into the puncture to allow you to reach your destination safely.
What Are The Alternatives To Using A Puncture Repair Kit?
If you have just got your new car and you’re worried about not having a spare tyre or a space saver, you can purchase one from us. Roadhero space savers can be fitted at the roadside and once fitted you’ll be able to drive to your own garage or a garage near to where you are and get a new tyre put onto your own wheel or alloy.