When Can a Tyre Puncture Be Repaired?
Posted by: Lydia on 26/04/2019
It goes without saying that tyre punctures are never a fun experience. They not only require you to stop and deal with the issue, delaying you on your way to wherever you were going, but they also add another task to your to-do list.
For many Aussies, the quickest and easiest way to deal with a puncture is to go buy a new tyre and be done with it.
But repairing the tyre is also an option, and may be a good one in certain circumstances. Here's a look at tyre puncture repairs, and whether taking this route to replace your damaged tyre could be the right option for you.
Making a safety assessment
After a puncture, it's worthwhile to understand how and why it occurred. While this won't change the fact that it happened, it will help you assess the risk of it happening again. This can be an important consideration when it comes to the potential for your tyre to be repaired and used safely.
If you're driving on smooth urban roads, a puncture is unlikely to occur. Sure, you could get one due to some stray debris on the road, but tyres are solidly built to withstand most common hazards. If you’re driving off-road, it's a different story; but even so, off-road tyres are built to pass over rough terrain with ease.
If you’ve sustained a puncture on a quiet suburban road, and you're able to safely backtrack on foot, take a few minutes to examine the road. It's possible you'll find some unnatural hazard on the road, like a sharp piece of glass or some nails that somehow ended up there.
If you notice something like this and can safely get it out of the road, the next driver to come along will thank you for it. This information can also be helpful if you seek to have your tyre repaired, so the tyre shop can understand what caused the puncture.
If you don’t notice a hazard in the road, then other factors are likely to blame. For example, although tyres are built to be tough, they're not all meant for every possible use. While it’s totally understandable an Aussie driver would want to take their sports car on a weekend drive along the coast, sports tyres are not meant for rough terrain. If a detour on less-than-ideal roads was undertaken and a puncture sustained, that tyre may need to be written off completely.
Patch and repair
Before you think about getting a tyre puncture repaired, consider whether a simple patch will fix it temporarily. If you’re on a road trip or holiday, this may offer you a quick and economical solution, and will enable you to avoid a major disruption.
Two facts are important to remember when it comes to tyre repair kits. First, they should only be used with tubeless-type tyres. Second, the puncture repair kit should only be used on the surface of the tyre’s tread (the part of your tyre that comes in contact with the road). If you have sustained a puncture on the sidewall, then the tyre should not be patched or used any further as the tyre's structure has been weakened.
If a simple tyre patch kit is too small to fix your tyre, it’s an early sign that something has really gone wrong with it. It doesn't mean your tyre definitely can't be fixed, but it does mean it’s not safe to drive on, patched or otherwise. In a case like this, it’s vital you swap out the tyre for your spare one – which is always the best thing to do anyway, whenever possible – or call a tow truck for help.
When to replace
Every tyre puncture can be a bit different, but there are common rules of thumb when it comes to a repair. If the damage has occurred within the central 60-70% of the tyre's nominal width and it's a small hole of 6mm or less, it can usually be repaired without any issue.
Damage outside of these parameters can mean the tyre is no longer suitable for repair. In those cases, it's best to opt for a new tyre. When you go in to the tyre shop, have your vehicle checked over. Damage to multiple tyres is definitely a possibility, even if you didn't notice it at the time, so it’s always good to get a once-over of all your tyres after the fact.
Weighing the peace of mind factor
Even though repaired tyres are deemed safe, many drivers prefer the peace of mind factor a new tyre gives them over a repaired one.
It’s no secret that owning a car can be expensive in Australia, with the average two-car household seeing annual car costs of over $15,000 in 2017. But while you can safely get a tyre repaired and save some money doing so, peace of mind is priceless. If you're the sort of driver who will feel nervous driving on a repaired tyre, it's probably not worth it. It can distract from your focus when driving, and that can definitely become a massive safety issue for you and other road users.
In cases like this, it’s ideal to opt for a new tyre, and repurpose your old one around the home or garden. But otherwise, if you have no concerns about using a repaired tyre that a professional gave the go-ahead to fix, it can be a great way to get your tyre back into rotation quickly and affordably.
What has your experience been like with tyre punctures? Let us know in the comments below: