Puncturing a car tyre is more than just an inconvenience; blowouts can actually be life-threatening if not handled correctly. Thankfully, even though some punctures are unavoidable, there are simply safety steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting a car tyre puncture, or at least reduce the severity if you do.
Top tips to prevent a car tyre puncture
Maintain the correct tyre pressure
Correct tyre pressure reduces the chances of getting a puncture. Make sure your tyres aren’t over or underinflated by doing regular checks. Tire inflators will help you to measure your tyre pressure and inflate or deflate your tyres as needed. You’ll get the most accurate readings in the cool of the morning. It’s what most car makers recommend, so you don’t have to worry about rising temperatures causing overinflation.
Check for wear
Don’t turn a blind eye to worn rubber. While new tyres aren’t exactly a ‘fun’ purchase, they keep you safer on the road while reducing your risk of getting a puncture. Remember to look for signs of uneven wear. It could be an indication that your wheel alignment needs attention. Use a coin to check the tread depth of your tyres and ideally, replace them before they absolutely should be replaced. It’s not just a matter of avoiding traffic fines, it’s important for your safety and the safety of other road users.
Never overload your vehicle
Exceeding your car or truck’s load rating places strain on the entire vehicle. Apart from being bad for the engine, overloading also increases your chances of getting a puncture or a blowout. Look at how your car sits on its suspension and the distance between the wheel arch and the wheel. If your car seems to be sitting lower than you’d normally expect, it’s likely to be overloaded.
Pay careful attention to the road when you’re driving. Potholes can do a lot of damage. If you see any debris on the road, avoid it. You should also avoid driving over curbs—your tyres may not be the only thing to suffer if you do. On paved roads, stick to the middle of your lane. The edges and center of roads are where most debris ends up.
Dirt roads are big culprits when it comes to tyre wear, so avoid them if possible. When driving on rough roads, you may want to lower your tyre pressure slightly for a smoother ride and better traction. Take it slow. The faster you hit sharp stones, the harder the impact and the greater the chance of getting a puncture.
Park your car in a safe place, especially when you are leaving it to stand overnight. Vandals sometimes let the air out of tyres or even slash them. Choose a well-lit parking lot, preferably with security personnel on duty. Always walk round your car to check the tyres before setting out and use the opportunity to look out for any sharp objects that may be in your path when you leave your parking bay.
Be prepared in case you do get a puncture
Careful though you may be, you’re likely to experience a puncture at some time or another. Be sure to have your jack and wheel spanner, and remember to check your spare tyre too. If you think you have sustained a puncture while driving, slow your car down as gently as possible and pull off the road. While you may be able to drive a short distance, it’s safer not to and stopping might save you the cost of a damaged wheel rim.
If all of this sounds a little hair-raising, you might be in the market for the airless tyres that are currently being developed. At present, they’re likely to be on the costly side, but perhaps we’ll all be using them before much longer.