Flat tyres are a leading cause of breakdowns on UK roads, and they’re stressful when they happen while driving. If you’re reading this from your car at the roadside or just curious about how to repair a flat tyre, our guide provides step-by-step advice on what to do when you get a flat tyre – including fitting a spare wheel and using an emergency puncture repair kit.
Punctures can happen anywhere at any time, so knowing how to change or repair a tyre at the roadside could get you out of a tight spot. There are a couple of ways to deal with a flat tyre at the roadside depending on the kit you have in your car.
Some cars have a spare wheel stored beneath the boot floor, as well as a couple of basic tools for changing wheels in an emergency (including a wrench and jack). Changing a wheel is straightforward if you know what you’re doing, and is the safest option for continuing your journey.
Here’s how to fit a spare wheel when you have a puncture.
Tip – if you have a space-saver spare wheel, make sure you adhere to the speed limit printed on the sidewall. Many spare wheels are speed restricted to 50 mph. You should also get the original wheel repaired and refitted as soon as possible.
If you don’t have a spare, chances are you’ll have a puncture repair kit. These are provided by the manufacturer to help you get back on the road in an emergency, and will temporarily fix and re-inflate the wheel after a minor puncture. You can also buy aftermarket puncture repair kits, like Holts Tyreweld.
Tip – some garages and tyre specialists may not be able to repair a tyre that’s been treated with a puncture repair kit, meaning you’ll need to buy a whole new wheel. Ask around before committing to a certain technician, as some may be able to repair the tyre at a fraction of the cost of a replacement.
Tyres can often be repaired after a puncture, but it does depend on the size of the hole and where the puncture happened. Small holes on the tread can be easily repaired by a trained tyre specialist, while those on the sidewall are unfixable because the structure of the tyre has been compromised.
You’re looking at around £20 for a tyre repair, depending on its severity and the work involved. This is much cheaper than a replacement, which will cost anywhere in the region from £40-£200 depending on the make and model of your car.
Tyres are exposed to all sorts of wear and tear in regular driving conditions, and are much more rugged and durable than you might expect. However, there are hazards out there that are likely to cause punctures, including:
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