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Got a puncture: what should you do?

So you’re at the roadside with a flat tyre and you don’t know what to do? Or perhaps you just want to know what equipment you should keep in your vehicle to deal with a potential puncture? Various temporary solutions are available to allow you to quickly repair a puncture on the spot.

To temporarily fix a puncture, keep a repair kit in your vehicle. © www.istockphoto.com

Repair solutions

There is never a good time to get a flat tyre, and you never know when you’re going to hit a pavement or run over a sharp object on the road so, it's best to be prepared.

What you should have in your car:

  • tyre sealant foam or tyre puncture repair kit
  • tool to remove the object that caused the puncture
  • compressor (optional)

Good to know: these temporary solutions work on certain types of puncture. We recommend that you always get your tyre inspected by a professional, no matter what type of puncture you have.

Tyre sealant

A puncture repair tyre sealant is an emergency measure enabling you to temporarily re-inflate your tyre so that you can get to a garage to have the inside examined.

The product costs around £10 and is available at  supermarkets, service stations and on car accessory websites. Cheap puncture repair sealants have a reputation for damaging the rubber of the punctured tyre, making it impossible for a garage to repair it. Always check that your sealant has not reached its expiry date.

An emergency tyre repair sealant:

  • works on “tubeless” tyres (no air chamber),
  • is useful for cars with or without a spare wheel
  • can only be used if the tyre is punctured on the tread, i.e. the part of the tyre with the pattern. A tear on the tyre's sidewall cannot be repaired.

To use, empty the sealant into your punctured tyre, having first removed the object that caused the puncture. The sealant contains a foam that will plug the cut. Then, you just need to re-inflate your tyre with a compressor.

Instructions to use a puncture repair sealant:

  1. Remove the valve cap from the punctured tyre.
  2. Carefully remove the object that caused the puncture (nail, glass...) so as not to enlarge the hole.
  3. Insert the repair spray nozzle into the valve and completely empty the product into the tyre (not just around the puncture) which will plug the hole and also release air which will, in the short term, re-inflate the tyre. If necessary, use a compressor to add air.
  4. Start your vehicle again and slowly pull away so that the product is evenly distributed inside the tyre.
  5. Head to a garage or service station to adjust the tyre pressure if you didn't already do so with a compressor.

A tyre sealant is a temporary solution to repair a puncture: the speed and number of miles you can drive is limited. As soon as you can, we recommend you clean the inside of the tyre which will be covered with adhesive after using the sealant product.

Tyre puncture repair kit

A tyre puncture repair kit contains the following:

  • set of plugs
  • special adhesive
  • hole enlarging tool
  • plug insertion tool

This type of plug repair kit allows you to temporarily repair your tubeless tyre from the outside. It’s quite fast to do, and not excessively priced (around £30). You must first enlarge and smooth the hole, then insert the rubber plug covered with adhesive.

A tyre puncture repair kit can be used provided that:

  • the tyre is punctured on the tread, i.e. the part of the tyre with the tread pattern
  • the vehicle with the puncture has not been stationary for a long time (no damage to the tyre structure)
  • the tyre has not been driven flat to the point of damaging the tyre's internal casing

Instructions for using a tyre plug kit:

  1. Remove the object that caused the puncture.
  2. Enlarge the hole diameter with the tool provided.
  3. Insert the plug covered with adhesive using the insertion tool provided. Note that sometimes the plug pops back out due to the centrifugal force.

We do not recommend this technique because it is not as safe as a plug repair done from the inside of the tyre by a professional.  If you do try this method, be sure to get the tyre checked out at a garage as soon as possible.

Mushroom plug repair kit

This technique is more reliable and therefore more expensive. The tyre is meticulously inspected and is repaired from inside the tubeless tyre. However, this requires the help of a professional who will remove the tyre and then repair it from the inside, if possible.

Mushroom plug repair kits are available to buy and the contents vary depending on the kit, including for example:

  • a set of mushroom plugs with different diameters
  • an insertion gun
  • insertion nozzles
  • a bottle of vulcanising solution
  • ...

> Discover other professional and long lasting repair methods for a puncture

rezulteo tip: 
Don't forget to check the tyre pressure and wheel balance after the puncture is repaired.

Substitution solutions

The most common solution in the event of a puncture is still the spare wheel: either a wheel identical to the others on the vehicle or a “space saver” wheel which is smaller than a normal wheel but allows you to get to a garage.

Replacing a punctured tyre with the spare wheel requires equipment often found in the vehicle. Our instructions for fitting the spare tyre will help you get back on the road as quickly as possible!  

And if your tyre is damaged beyond repair, be sure to change it as soon as possible to remain safe when driving.

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What should you do in the event of a puncture? Find out everything you need to know about spare tyres, their maintenance, the various methods to repair a punctured tyre (puncture repair kit) and the precautions to take when driving on a repaired tyre. Learn also how to detect tyre faults and damage: spot abnormal wear, lumps and cracks…for your own safety!