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Punctured tyre: what you should know

While motorists dread a punctured tyre, around 50% of flat tyres caused by punctures can be repaired fairly cheaply, and without the need to replace the tyre. The crucial step you can take when you suspect a puncture is to stop driving immediately (even travelling a further 100 metres on a flat can damage a tyre beyond repair).

What to do about a punctured tyre

A slow puncture is hard to detect. But a sudden rupture will leave you in no doubt you’re driving with a flat tyre – you’ll hear the loose rubber flapping. If you suspect a punctured tyre, pull in straight away. If you are comfortable with changing your tyre (and all vehicles are required by law to carry a spare) then do so, taking appropriate safety measures. Otherwise a phone call to your insurers will scramble a repair van. These tyre fitting vans are equipped to fix your tyre either at your home, place of work, or on occasion, by the roadside.

Puncture repairs are carried out in compliance with British Standard BSAU159. There are three main factors relating to whether a tyre can be repaired. Firstly, the tyre fitter will determine if the puncture was caused by a nail or screw rather than something much larger, like broken glass or striking the kerb or hitting a pothole. The affected area needs to have happened in the central part of the tyre tread, rather than near the edges or in the sidewall. Thirdly, the tyre cannot have been driven on while flat, which seriously weakens the sidewalls making any sort of repair unsafe. If a tyre meets these requirements, puncture repair is possible.

Punctured tyre causes

A sudden impact can cause a punctured tyre – anything from clipping the kerb to running over a pothole. Roads can also contain debris, such as glass or stones, which will pierce tyres, giving rise to slow punctures. Unfortunately the recent spate of harsh winters has led to deterioration in road surfaces, with potholes causing millions of pounds worth of damage.

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