What to do if a tyre flatted

What to do if a tyre flatted


A tyre puncture is one of the most unpleasant incidents, but not a single driver is insured against it. We figure out what to do in such a situation.


How to identify damage

A tyre puncture dramatically worsens the driving performance of a car, but even experienced drivers cannot always notice a malfunction in time. Beginners, on the other hand, are often so focused on other road users and compliance with the rules that they may not pay attention to the dangerous situation until it is too late.

There are several obvious signs that something has gone wrong.

  1. The hole in the front wheel gives the car a characteristic skid to the side. The steering wheel in a calm position begins to turn itself to the right or left, depending on the side of the malfunction. An experienced driver has plenty of time to diagnose the problem and turn off to a safe area for repairs.
  2. A puncture of the rear wheel causes the body to settle to one side. Unfortunately, this breakdown is not always obvious to the driver and it often happens that they find out about it already when the wheel is completely deflated and sluggish rubber beats on the asphalt. This sound cannot be confused with anything. It indicates a critical hazard to traffic
  3. If the disc is damaged, the following symptoms occur: the front disc leads to a beating of the steering wheel caused by a violation of the geometry of the wheels; the rear disc provokes strong vibration of the body and is dangerous due to the rapid wear of the running gears operating at their limit.

Repair methods

Let's consider the possible methods of wheel repair, depending on the type of damage. If you have tubular tyres, it is better to immediately put on a spare tyre and go to a tyre fitting. Further operation of such a wheel is impossible and dangerous. Tubeless tyres can be repaired on site. This will give you enough time to get to the nearest service station. It is not worthwhile to be limited only to local repair — it does not guarantee the durable use of rubber!


  • Puncture

During a puncture, a characteristic whistle, hiss and sometimes a squeak are heard. This is air forced out through the hole. If you find a foreign object in your wheel during inspection — a nail, screw, wire, glass — do not eject it. The tubeless tyre design pushes the edges of the gap and keeps air out of its reservoir. Such a wheel is quite capable of reaching the service center without any problems. However, do not overclock too much: protection is okay, but there is no need to expose tyres to additional loads.

If the puncture remains, and the reason for it is not visible, then the sharp object either fell out on its own or remained on the road. In this case, it is necessary to close the hole before further travel. For such purposes, there’re two special awls and a harness in the repair kit of many cars.

Before repairing the tyre, pressurize it with a compressor. The spiral awl is screwed into the hole several times and removed. This simple manipulation enlarges the affected area and cleans the edges. Next, a piece of cord up to 4 cm long is inserted into the awl with an eyelet. The awl should be located exactly in the middle. The prepared cord is greased with glue, inserted into the hole until its bend rests against the inner edge of the tyre. The awl is pulled out of the hole with a sharp movement, while the harness with glue should remain inside. Now all that remains is to cut off the protruding edges, and you can continue to drive towards the nearest service station.

Special sprays can be used as an alternative to the harness, but neither is a lifelong hole plug. After a while, the wheel will begin to deflate again.


  • Sidecut

Side cuts are much worse because there is no tread here, the rubber layer is thinner and there is a risk of cord damage. Such «injuries» occur as a result of hitting sharp obstacles with an edge or due to the action of hooligans with stabbing weapons.

The most correct solution here would be to change the wheel and drive to service. You can eliminate such damage yourself if it does not exceed 35 mm with a long cut or 25 mm with a transverse one, however, for a full repair, you will need a camera or a construction dryer for vulcanization. So the most reliable way is to give the wheel to professionals who can assess the feasibility of the work.

  • Spool and nipple

The tyre inflation valve is often the cause of air release. Such an unpleasant paradox. This is due to the monstrous overloads from the centrifugal force, which constantly acts on the nipple during movement. In addition to a gap directly at the mount, dirt can accumulate inside the mechanism, or the part breaks due to impact on a solid obstacle.

To determine the source of the problem, it is enough to slightly dampen the nipple with water. Air bubbles serve as an unmistakable bleed indicator.

If the problem is dirt and dust, then most often blowing out the components with a few short clicks is enough. The air from the tyre will act like an air rifle and expel debris. However, after a while, the mechanism will clog up again, so it will be advisable to replace it.

If the air is leaking through a breakdown of the spool or a rupture of rubber at the place of the soldering, then you will have to go to the tyre fitting and wait until the replacement is carried out by specialists. The most that can be done is to fix the damage with tyre spray.


  • Deformation of the disc

We have already wrote about the characteristic signs of this breakdown. Violation of the geometry of these parts not only reduces the quality of control, but also leads to wear of the chassis, and in addition, it can irreparably damage the rubber itself.

Light distortions can be corrected by yourself with a hammer. Most often, 2-3 aimed hits are enough to return the metal to its original position. If the tool is not at hand, there is only a trip to the service station. To reduce the risk of tyre deflation, experts recommend creating a protective layer in the place of deformation of the rim.

This can be done with soap and water or paraffin. The pieces of soap soften in water to a state of porridge, are driven to the point of contact between the disc and the cord. With paraffin, everything is easier. You need to run along the entyre circumference of the cord, sparing no candles. When driving, the heated rubber will melt the paraffin chips, forming an impermeable crust.

If there are no tools

Fixing a wheel looks pretty straightforward until it comes down to the actual incident. This type of breakdown is so unpredictable that a situation may arise when there is not only soap or candles at hand, but even a jack. When your strength is not enough, you can call friends or call a tow truck. When traveling in another country, the driver is deprived of this opportunity. In an emergency, the service station can also be reached with a flat tyre (more likely even on the rim). If you observe the 5-10 km / h mode, then such a trip will be quite safe. Unfortunately, the rubber after such a tour will have to be thrown away - it will wear out to the state of a rag.

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