With the darker evenings on the way it’s important to know how to prevent punctures and what your options are. Geraldine Herbert has some advice
There is never a good time for a puncture and there is nothing more annoying than driving along to the sound of a flat tyre. As a rule of thumb most motorists will experience a puncture about once every five years but that is little consolation when you are at the side of the road on a dark rainy night with a car full of kids.
Long and harsh winters have played havoc with our roads and potholes are becoming an ever more common feature. Tyre companies and breakdown services have received record calls in the past year.
There are some ways to prevent punctures;
1) A good habit is to inspect your tyres regularly for wear and tear.
2) Ensure your tyres are properly inflated.
3) If possible try not to drive too close to the kerb where all sorts of debris collects, also never park anywhere there is likely to be broken glass.
4) Beware of potholes and avoid them if you possibly can.
Unfortunately though punctures are a fact of life so you need to know what options are available to you.
If your car comes equipped with a spare tyre know how to change it but remember they are heavy and require strength so if you are not confident about doing it get roadside assistance. Most spare tyres are space savers and as the name implies they are smaller than standard tyres so they come with speed restrictions. These tyres allow you to drive home or to a tyre shop to purchase a new one but you can only drive a short distance and at a speed below 50mph per hour.
If you are buying a new car a spare tyre may not be included, instead a puncture repair kit may be standard. More and more car companies are opting for these kits as the weight saved by the removal of the spare tyre lowers fuel costs and reduces emissions. There is also greater boot space as a result. Repair kits are designed to be a quick fix at the side of the road without all the hassle of removing a tyre. In reality they are messy to use, require precise and detailed instructions and are not suitable for all punctures.
Finally another option is run flat tyres, some new cars including BMW and MINi come equipped with run-flat tyres. These are designed to cope with small punctures so in the event of a flat you can drive for a limited distance and at a reduced speed. However, while a run-flat tyre can be repaired, in some severe cases a replacement tyre will be required and these tend to cost more than standard tyres.
18th September, 2013