I Have a Puncture, What Should I Do (And Can I Still Drive My Car)?
Getting a puncture while driving can be a nerve-wracking experience, but knowing how to respond can make all the difference. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what to do when you get a puncture repair, how to spot one while on the road, whether it’s safe to continue driving, and how to change a tyre when necessary.
What to do when you get a puncture
Your first course of action when you discover a puncture is crucial. Regardless of the puncture’s type, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. Professionals have the expertise to assess the damage and make the necessary repairs. This approach ensures that the repair adheres to safety standards such as the BSAU 159. It also helps determine whether the tyre is repairable or if it requires replacement.
When you take your vehicle to a professional, they will typically follow these steps:
- Remove the tyre from the rim and assess it to determine if it can be repaired.
- If repairable, they will seal the hole from the inside to maintain proper air pressure.
- Seal the tread area to prevent moisture from causing structural damage to the tyre.
Depending on the puncture’s location and severity, the tyre may or may not be repairable. If it’s beyond repair, the professional will recommend a new tyre for your vehicle, and if you agree, they will fit it for you.
How to spot a puncture while you’re driving?
Noticing a puncture while driving may not always be straightforward, especially in the case of slow punctures. These types of punctures occur gradually, resulting in a slow leakage of air. One way to detect a slow puncture is if your vehicle is equipped with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). If the TPMS warning light comes on, it could indicate a slow puncture. Do not dismiss this warning; get it checked out promptly.
For vehicles without TPMS, there are other signs to watch for:
- If your vehicle pulls to one side while driving.
- If you experience increased difficulty in steering or maneuvering.
These signs may indicate the presence of a slow puncture, and it’s advisable to have a professional assess it.
On the other hand, a blowout is hard to miss. It involves a sudden and complete loss of tyre pressure. If you experience a blowout, follow these steps:
- Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel.
- Do not slam on the brakes; instead, allow your car to slow down gradually.
- Safely pull to the side of the road once you have slowed down.
- Activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers to the situation.
After a blowout, only exit your vehicle if you are certain it’s safe to do so and you are out of harm’s way. Before calling for recovery assistance, be sure to set up reflective cones or a warning triangle to increase visibility.
Can I still drive my car?
In most cases, it is not advisable to continue driving with a punctured tyre. Doing so can be dangerous and may lead to further damage, especially if the puncture worsens. Driving on a punctured tyre can compromise its integrity and take it beyond the point of repair. Moreover, it increases the risk of a blowout, which can be a hazardous situation.
While it is acceptable to drive to a nearby garage to have the puncture repaired, any further travel with a known tyre fault is discouraged. Continuing to drive with a punctured tyre is not only reckless but may also result in legal consequences, including fines and points on your driver’s license.
Changing a tyre (if it’s safe to do so)
In certain situations, you may need to change a tyre yourself, but only if it is safe to do so. Changing a tyre can be a straightforward process, but it’s important to follow the correct steps to ensure safety.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for changing a tyre:
- Ensure you are in a safe location, and all passengers are a safe distance away from the vehicle.
- Locate the designated jacking points on your vehicle; using the wrong points can lead to damage and collapse.
- Consider wearing a high-visibility jacket for safety.
- Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary equipment, including a spare tyre, jack, wheel brace, and locking nut key.
By following these steps, you can change a tyre safely when needed. However, if you are unsure or in a hazardous location, it is advisable to seek professional assistance.
In conclusion, knowing how to respond to a puncture repair is crucial for your safety and the well-being of your vehicle. Seeking professional help is often the best course of action, and if you must change a tyre yourself, prioritize safety at all times. Remember, it’s better to be cautious and seek help when needed than to risk your safety on the road.