How can you tell if you have a puncture?

23 March 2018

When you’re on a long car journey you pay attention to the road, how much petrol you have and whether any lights appear on your dashboard in order to warn you of impending doom.  One thing that’s hard to ascertain though - unless it’s accompanied by a loud bang - is whether or not your tyre is about to go kaput.

My tyre has exploded

The sound of your tyre exploding after going over something it doesn’t like is one of the most panic-inducing moments you’ll ever experience when driving a car.  It can often come out of nowhere and announces itself with a loud fanfare.  A puncture of this magnitude is usually a combination of old tyres, misplaced nails or glass, and bad luck.

Usually, no matter what precautions you take before using your car, you can’t stop a puncture of this nature.  The first thing you’ll hear is the thud of the rubber on your tyre slapping against the concrete, but whether it’s a puncture that announces itself with an exclamation mark or slowly unravels itself, there’s not much you can do to prevent it if you’re driving in the correct manner. 

What if you’re suspicious of your tyre’s performance before you turn the ignition key though?  Well, you might have the following …

Do I have a slow puncture?

Possibly.  Even if you don’t think you have a slow puncture, you still might have one.  It’ll occur over a period of time and usually won’t reveal itself until your car has been left idle for more than a few hours.

You can test to see if your tyre is losing pressure over time by consistently taking your car to a garage in order to put air back into them and checking their PSI levels (Pounds per Square Inch – unit of measurement for pressure).  If any tyre is going down by 1 or 2 PSI per week, then there’s not much to worry about.  However, anything near 10 PSI being lost in a week and it’s likely that you have an issue that needs repairing.

How did I get a slow puncture on my tyre?

There can be a myriad of reasons as to how you managed to get a slow puncture on your tyre.  The most common one though is the tyre valve. 

Faulty valves have a tendency to leak air.  Thankfully though, they’re fairly cheap to replace and may even be covered by a warranty if you’ve had the tyre recently fitted.  Placing water around the valve will sometimes produce air bubbles and is a sure sign that it’s the cause of your slow puncture.

Another likely reason is a nail being lodged into the tyre itself.  These are often difficult to spot, but along with a faulty tyre valve, is one of the most common causes of a slow puncture.  A nail within the tyre will require a visit to the garage in order for a professional to remove the nail and repair the tyre, or more likely, fit a completely new tyre.

Maintenance and changing your tyre

When it comes to knowing whether you have an issue with any one of your tyres, comes down to how regularly you check your car.

Getting into a routine of checking your tyres by sight alone, at least a few times a week, will allow you to spot potential problems early.  You might not know the root of the issue, but you’ll be aware that something’s not right.  Spotting a problem early will allow you to seek professional advice before the tyre is beyond standard repair, saving you the problem of additional costs if you just simply ignore it.

You also have the option of changing the tyre yourself if you feel that it’s at the point of no return.  We’ve recently covered how to change a car tyre safely, so make sure to check that out in order to get back onto the road.

Who to contact if you have issues with your tyres?

If you are concerned about the condition of your car tyres and need replacements, or simply want to get some advice then feel free to contact one of the many tyre dealers and tyre repair professionals listed on Thomson Local

Tagged with:

  • Road Safety
  • Tyre Care
  • Tyres
Author -
Content Writer Thomson Local

Away from his role as a Content Writer for Thomson Local, you’ll find Craig writing about either football or video games at a myriad of sites and publications. He’s had words featured in The Guardian, Eurogamer, Nutmeg and his own site Pause Resume. He’s also currently in the process of attaining a degree in Creative Writing with the Open University.

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