13 Jun, 23

Slow Puncture: What to do?

Even the most alert drivers frequently take some time to notice that their car has slow puncture. Repairing or purchasing a new tyre is usually a nuisance, especially if we can convince ourselves that the tyre wasn’t actually damaged in the first place. The bad news is that you can be causing much more harm than you realise if you have convinced yourself that you have just slightly lost air while striking a pothole, riding a curb, or rolling around a sharp turn.

Slow Puncture

The risks of operating a vehicle on a tyre with a slow puncture

Any damage that could cause a tyre to rupture or a puncture poses a major risk. High-speed blowouts are challenging to manage and frequently result in hazardous collisions. Your tyres may sustain damage by running over something in the road or into a curb that is not always immediately apparent. Your slow puncture could become a serious catastrophe over time and with significant wear.

An early indication of a slow puncture

We must all perform a visual inspection of our vehicles before we drive them, according to the Highway Code. Although it’s the proper thing to do, how many of us actually do it? Less than 5% would be my estimate.

What, therefore, should we be on the lookout for?

worn-out tyres Do any of your tyres have a unique form compared to the others? Do they sag as a result of the car’s weight? Are certain tyres softer and flatter than others?

  • Sidewall abrasion

Do your tyres’ sidewalls have any damage? Has any of the numbers or detailing been damaged by road contact? Are there any visible foreign objects embedded in the rubber? Do you spot anything in your tyre’s tread that might be a screw, a nail, or another piece of road debris? If you see something, don’t pull it out because doing so will merely remove the one thing that is currently temporarily closing the hole, despite the fact that it is almost certainly the source of your gradual puncture. Replace the worn tyre with the spare. Or, if you can safely get it to a garage, do so right away.

  • Audible cues that can identify the source of your slow puncture may also be audible

Keep an ear out for ticking or clicking noises. Any clicking sounds emanating from your tyres that get louder as you drive faster could be an indication that something is lodged there. Every rotation enables the injurious object to generate noise when it comes into contact with the ground. Once you’ve determined which tyre is making the noise, you should be able to identify the offending item.

  • You can spot slow puncture symptoms while driving

Poor handling and performance One of your tyres may be softer than the others if your vehicle pulls to one side when breaking or “rolls” as you handle bends and corners. You should be able to feel that your car’s driver is a little softer than it would be if your tyres were inflated to the proper pressure.

What could result in a slow tyre rupture on your car?

Objects puncturing and becoming caught in your tyres. As was already indicated, a foreign body that damages or penetrates the tyre wall or surface will be the most likely candidate for creating a gradual puncture.

  • Rusting on wheels or tyres

Over time, the rubber in your car’s tyres will degrade. The integrity of your tyre can also be impacted by wear in other locations from persistent contact with another component, kerbs, or small walls. This will weaken the structure and, frequently, make it possible for air to escape from a previously sealed tyre. Another usual reason for the air to be released slowly is corrosion around the wheel rim. Any minor amount of corrosion, paint flaking, or alloy deterioration on your rim will allow air to escape at a nearly imperceptible pace.

  • Examining the tyre pressure in your car

Every driver should have a tyre pressure gauge in their toolbox because it is a really basic and straightforward piece of equipment.

Any of these will enable you to compare the air pressure in your tyres to the recommended quantity shown on the tyre wall or in the vehicle’s manual. A foot pump or automatic tyre inflator will also contain a pressure gauge. Any consistent drop in pressure will warn you that a gradual puncture is likely.

  • Air leakage from worn-out or broken tyre valve

It’s important to make sure that the air valve on your tyre isn’t leaking while you’re checking the pressure. Check to see if the valve produces little bubbles by adding a small amount of water. If so, replacing a valve might be all that is required to make the repair. They are just as likely to wear out over time as any other part of your car.

Do I need a new tyre if I have slow punctures?

The choice is best left in the hands of the experts, who can determine whether your tyre is sufficiently damaged to need replacing or merely has a gradual puncture that needs repair. A gradual puncture will simply encourage further damage if you continue to drive on it. Even a small amount of further driving on a slow-leaking tyre could make the difference between a £20 repair and a £200 replacement.

When to replace and when to repair a slow puncture

A tyre can be mended and when it can’t are governed by strict criteria. If your tyre cannot be fixed and must be replaced, the guidelines listed below must be followed.

  • There must be 11.6 mm of tread depth on the tyre’s whole perimeter.
  • The wall of the tyre cannot be damaged.
  • Damage must be restricted to a particular region of the running surface.
  • Running on a flat tyre cannot compromise the integrity of the tyre.
  • The tyre must not exhibit ageing-related indicators of degradation.
  • Damage to the beads must not exist.
  • There must be no exposed cords in the tyre.
  • There must be no indication of outdated or subpar repairs on the tyre.

How to fix a slow puncture

Only damage that occurs in the tread, or where the tyre surface touches the road, is eligible for repair.

  • Kits for slow puncture repairs

Slow puncture repair kits with glue that serves as a sealant are widely available from automotive retailers. A pressurised container is used to feed the sealant into the tyre through the valve, where it will be pulled to the spot where air is seeping out. If at all possible, only use this in an emergency; we’d never advise it as a long-term treatment. As soon as possible, have a slow puncture examined by a specialist if you have one or suspect that you have one. 

  • Cost of slow puncture repair

Most garages or tyre providers will charge between £20 and £25 to fix a small puncture. This inexpensive fix should work for the whole life of the current tyre and can save you money over the cost of a new automobile tyre.

Read more: Car Tyre Pressure – A Detailed Guide on Tyre Pressure

  • Your MOT and slow punctures

10% of MOT failures are caused by worn tyres. However, if a slow hole can’t be found right away, you might be able to use one to pass your car’s MOT. But that does not imply that you must. Put things right. Avoid taking risks with your safety or the safety of your family.

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