How to Spot a Slow Puncture and Avoid an Accident
Don’t Put Your Life at Risk
Slow punctures can be difficult to spot and are dangerous if they continue to go unnoticed. Learning the signs to look out for and how to correctly maintain your tyres can help you avoid an accident and keep your car safe on the road.
Signs You Have a Slow Puncture
It can be hard to tell if you have a slow puncture, but there are some definitive signs to look out for to warn you that your tyre may have a puncture. For example:
- Your wheel is shuddering or feels wobbly while you are driving
- Difficulty steering your car
- Your car feels as though it is pulling to the left or the right
- Sudden swerves when you are driving
How to Check If Your Tyre Has a Slow Puncture
Through visual inspection of your car tyres, you can usually find out if you have a puncture. When inspecting your car and tyres, you should ask yourself the following:
- When inspected from various angles, does the size of the tyre look different?
- Are any of the tyres obviously deflated?
- Are any of your tyres bulging?
- Are any of your tyres sagging?
Inspecting Your Tyre’s Air Pressure
Air pressure plays a major role in avoiding punctures, improving the longevity of your tyres and the safety of your car.
A study by the Australian government found that that accident involvement increased when the tyre pressures in cars differ substantially from that recommended by the manufacturer. Imbalance of more than 5 psi was found in 14% of road traffic accidents, showing the importance of checking tyre pressure.
Most service stations in Australia have a pump that you can use to both check and inflate your tyres. You should check your tyre pressures at least once a month and ensure they are at the recommended pressure. If you are unsure what the pressure for your tyres should be, in most Australian cars, a label with this information can be found inside one of the front door jambs or in the owner’s manual.
What to Do If You Have a Puncture
You should be prepared for any situation when driving your car, especially when taking it on long journeys. You should carry a spare tyre in your car at all times, and know-how to change it so that in the event of a puncture, you can quickly and safely get back on the road.
However, spare tyres are usually space savers these days and are not meant for long-term use. As soon as you are able, you should take your car to a garage and get a new tyre, or get the punctured tyre fixed. Most space saver tyres are not suitable to be driven more than 80 kilometres.
Not all cars come with a spare tyre. If you do suffer a puncture and you don’t have a spare, a tow truck from a garage can usually collect your car and fix or replace the tyre as soon as they can reach you. However, if you go on a long journey or to a remote location, you could end up stranded for hours.
If the damage is minimal and it is a slow puncture, you may be able to fix it by the side of the road and continue driving until you get to a garage, using a tyre puncture repair kit. These kits are often provided with cars that do not hold a spare tyre and offer a speedy and hassle-free way to get your car on the road again. However, like spare tyres, this repair is only a temporary fix. If you use a repair kit you should not drive for longer than necessary. Make a garage or tyre shop your next destination to get the tyre properly repaired or replaced.
To avoid a serious accident, you should always have a spare tyre or puncture repair kit in your vehicle – and know what to do with them. It is essential that once you notice a slow puncture, you make getting to a tyre shop your top priority to get the puncture fixed or the tyre replaced. When neglected, a slow puncture could be the most dangerous thing on the road.
Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.
Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,