A puncture doesn’t have to mean buying a brand-new tyre. There are ways to repair a punctured car tyre. But unfortunately, there are also wrong ways too.
You can legally repair a punctured car tyre as long as the work is performed to British Standard BS AU 159. The British Tyre Manufacturers Association says that tyre fitters must follow this standard to determine whether a repair will be safe and ensure a lasting fix.
Any tyre repaired in this way should be able to operate at its original speed and load capabilities for its remaining lifetime.
Top 6 signs of a slow puncture
- The steering wheel or back of the car is vibrating
- The car is pulling to one side of the road
- There’s an unusual clicking sound as the tyre rotates
- One of the tyres looks flatter than the others
- You checked your tyre pressures and one is lower than the others
- The car’s tyre pressure monitoring system has issued a warning
Puncture repair guidelines
Puncture repairs are defined by rules set out by British Standard BS AU 159 (2014). Depending on the width of the tyre, puncture repairs for cars and vans are only allowed in the central 60-70% of the tread area.
The puncture itself can’t be bigger than 6mm, which usually means that damage caused by a screw, nail or another sharp object can be safely repaired. Any additional repairs can’t overlap with it though.
The sidewall of the tyre is load-bearing and could change the structure of the tyre so it can’t be repaired.
My tyre was damaged by a pothole – can it be repaired?
Unfortunately, potholes can cause more substantial damage than a screw or a nail piercing the tyre. If they create a hole that’s larger than 6mm across, it would be considered unsafe to repair.
Check your tyre pressure
Kicking your tyres to try and work out whether there’s a problem isn’t going to keep you, your passengers or other road users safe.
You can check your tyre pressure with a mechanic you trust, or you may wish to invest in a tyre pressure gauge to find out whether any of your car’s tyres are below the pressure level recommended by the car’s manufacturer. If it is, inflate it to the correct level and check again shortly after to find out whether there’s a lasting problem.
Tyre pressure gauges with a tread depth indicator can be purchased from around £10.
What to do if you get a puncture while driving
If your car alerts you to a puncture or you think a tyre is flat, pull off the road to a safe place and turn your hazard lights on. Don’t continue your journey. If you have to stop on the road, if you’re not on a motorway, put your warning triangle at least 45m behind your car. On a motorway? Don’t try to change the tyre on the hard shoulder. Use the emergency phones to get assistance from the motorway control room or a breakdown recovery service.