Here's a common scenario: you replace all four tyres on your car with brand new tyres, and two days later, you have a flat. There are few things more infuriating. And to make matters worse, it soon becomes apparent that the cause of the leak was due to the tyre being incorrectly mounted onto the rim.
These things shouldn’t happen – but they do – and there are many other reasons why your tyre could run flat.
In this article, we take a look at some of the more common reasons, as well as how to avoid them as best you can. Of course, it’s almost impossible to avoid them entirely, but understanding some of the causes of flat tyres could help you in the long run.
Even on a seemingly clear road, there’s always something just waiting to take the wind out of your sails. Hidden out there on the horizon are a multitude of nails, broken glass, screws, sharp rocks or stones – these could all cause a puncture that will slowly leak over time or worse, cause a blowout while you’re driving.
Of course, if you see debris in the road, don’t drive over it. Do your best to actively avoid driving through anything that could damage your tyres. Even something as seemingly harmless as an orange in the road could be packed full of nails. This is a favourite trick among hijackers all across South Africa.
In most cases, whatever causes a puncture is usually something small. This means that, if you’re lucky, you won’t have to replace the tyre completely. Small enough punctures upon the shoulder can be fixed with just a tyre plug. You cannot, however, repair a puncture in the sidewall.
Of course, you’ll need to get this repair done as soon as possible and avoid driving on that deflated tyre at all costs. Continuing to put all that weight on a flat tyre could bend your rims, rupture the sidewalls and expand the initial puncture beyond repair.
Many among of us know the feeling. You’re driving along and suddenly, you hit a pothole so hard that you end up driving the rest of the way home in stunned silence.
Every single motorist should know how to properly fit a spare tyre, and every single motorist should know all about proper tyre maintenance. With the state of some of the roads in South Africa, it could only be a matter of time before you hit a pothole and find yourself stranded.
One of the worst things you could do after incurring a flat is to limp your car along home or to the nearest service station. It’s far better to pull over to the side of the road where it’s safe and put your spare on. This way, you minimise the damage already done.
When it comes to hitting paving, ruts, bumps, potholes or an open manhole – hey, these things happen – the damage could be far more extensive than you know. You could bend your control arms, damage the suspension, bend the rims and drastically impact the vehicle’s handling.
Even if your tyres seem fine after a nasty bump, get it checked out by a professional. Until you do that, make sure to take caution while driving.
We’ve spoken a little bit about the wear and tear of tyres and the warning signs you need to look out for. These warnings include bubbles, bulges or blisters in the sidewall, vibrations, worn tread, cracks, or corrosion due to UV overexposure. When they appear, a replacement is probably long overdue.
As we drive, the quality of our tyres degrade with time. We wear the tread away, and so the tyres become more and more susceptible to punctures.
It’s important to check your tyres frequently and inspect them for any problems. You can ensure an even spread of wear by rotating them around your car every now and then, and maintaining the correct alignment and air pressure goes a long way toward good tyre health.
The valve stem is something we also tend to overlook. The little rubber nozzle used to check your tyre pressure – or fill them – does become damaged over time. This could be due to dirt or corrosion or other wear with use. A small bit of dirt trapped inside of the valve could also cause the air to leak out, slowly but surely.
It’s good practice to check the state of these and also have them replaced before you need to.
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