It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s inconvenient and always seems to be raining. A flat tyre. The first thing you’ll need to do is swap it over for the spare (which is hopefully in good working order), and then pop in to see the team at Eastern Tyres to have the puncture examined.
Unless you’re in the profession, you probably don’t know that there are Australia-wide legislated rules and guidelines for tyre repair. Considering these tyres are keeping heavy metal boxes travelling at speed glued to the road, these guidelines are a good thing; it’s incredibly unsafe to be driving on tyres that would be better used for a retaining wall.
However, because these rules stipulate what can be repaired, they also stipulate what can’t. To put it simply, some damage is beyond saving.
Here’s what we cannot repair:
- A puncture to the sidewall, shoulder or bead areas of the tyre. This is because these areas flex a lot and therefore put too much pressure on the patches. If the sidewall or shoulder is punctured, the tyre will have to be replaced.
- Punctures larger than 6mm on the tyre tread.
- Tyres with inadequate tread depth. See our page on tread depth for more information.
The good news is that punctures, holes and cuts up to 6mm on the tyre tread can be repaired.
How do we repair a puncture?
A tyre repair needs to achieve two things:
- Seal the tyre so that it holds air.
- Seal the tyre casing against moisture and contaminants which may lead to tread separation or further damage.
The process involves completely removing the tyre from the rim. This allows a thorough inspection of the whole tyre and the puncture, ensures the plug used in the repair bonds properly, and allows us to repair the puncture from the inside, as Australian standards require.
After we have refitted the tyre onto the rim, it has a spin on the balance machine to ensure it’s weighted correctly, and then fitted back onto your car. In all, the process takes around 30 to 45 minutes.
What should I do if my tyre has a bulge?
Tyres don’t have it easy, especially when it comes to rough roads or drivers who like to take corners like Lowndesy. A nasty pothole or a brush against the curb can deal the sidewall of a tyre a nasty blow. It becomes weakened, and the internal pressure of the tyre causes it to bulge like an egg.
A bulge in a tyre is dangerous. It’s a ticking bomb, liable to explode (quite literally) without warning and causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Needless to say, you should never drive on a bulging tyre.
Unfortunately, they can’t be repaired, either. Once a tyre’s sidewall has been compromised, either by blunt force or a puncture, the whole tyre must be replaced.
So if you feel the rude jolt of a nasty pothole or get too close to a curb or gutter, always check your tyres for a bulge as soon as you can. Replace it with the spare, and come in and see us about a new tyre.
Can I drive on a flat tyre?
Technically, yes. Should you? Absolutely not. Driving on a flat is like running an engine without coolant or lubricating oil: it may seem to be functioning, but the damage you are causing your car is extreme. It’s also very unsafe.
Wheels aren’t meant to rest on their rims, let alone drive on them. They could be damaged beyond repair, and set you up for a bill far dearer than the cost of replacing the tyre alone. Damage can also be done to brake lines, rotors, callipers and suspension components.
Tyres give you control, so when one of them isn’t in proper working order, you aren’t in control of your car. If you get a flat, drive as far as necessary to pull over safely, then stop.