Flat Tyre Repair: Cost and Common Concerns
Flat Tyre Repair: Cost and Common Concerns
We’ve almost all been there — that crushing moment when you either notice a flat tyres on your vehicle or feel the telltale bumpiness and lowering on one side of your vehicle.
Although inconvenient and annoying, flat tyres are a fact of life. Flat tyres repair doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you act quickly to mount your spare and either get the flat fixed.
Is My Flat Tyre Repairable?
The good news is that flat tyres are often repairable and don’t need to be replaced. The most common culprits that cause flat tyres are tiny nails and screws — those that are or less in diameter — that get lodged in your tyres’ tread.
If the tyres are not repairable, then you’ll be looking at the cost of new tyres, or two, since it’s best to replace tyres in sets of two or four to maintain even wear. It might sting initially, but replacing tyres in sets will surely save you money in the long run.
Flat Tyre Repair Cost
If your flat tyres are repairable, when you take your vehicle in to get it fixed, many shops and technicians will offer to check it out and patch it up for little or no cost.
If you’re desperate and need a temporary solution to get you by before taking your tyres in for proper, professional repair, you could attempt to seal it yourself. This will run you the cost of a tyres puncture sealant or a tyres plug kit — either can vary in cost from five to 25 dollars or more. If you already own or have access to the tools needed to detect the leak, loosen lug nuts and jack up your vehicle, a tyres plug kit may be a great short term option. If you find yourself needing to use a tyres sealant, do note that a tyres sealant can ruin your tyres pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensor, so if you choose this temporary solution, you may have to factor in that cost as well.
Keep in mind that driving on tyres that are completely flat for any amount of time can ruin the sidewalls of the tyres and cause wheel damage, which is far more expensive than the cost of repairing or replacing a flat. That said, be sure to immediately mount your spare tyres or call for roadside assistance.
How to Detect a Leak in a Flat Tyre
If you’re interested in finding out exactly where the leak is coming from and in order to find the leak, your tyres must be fully inflated.
- Step 1: Fill— Fill up your flat tyres. Get out that air compressor or bike air pump, and start inflating the tyres until it is back up to the proper pressure, as instructed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
- Step 2: Look— Visually scan your tyres for any obvious objects or holes. Once your tyres is inflated again, sometimes it’s super easy to see why it went flat in the first place. Perhaps you’ll see a little nail sticking out, an obvious cut in the rubber or a hard-to-miss hole.
- Step 3: Listen— Listen to see if your tyres is making a hissing noise. If you’re unable to visually detect the problem right away, then just be quiet for a moment — you may be able to hear a faint hissing sound coming from the tyres. If you can hear the hiss, you’ll be better able to track it to the leak.
- Step 4: Feel— Run your hand over the tyres to see if you feel any air. If you couldn’t see anything upon initial inspection and couldn’t hear a hissing sound, then you may be able to feel the air leaking from your tyres.
- Step 5: Soap and water— If all three of the aforementioned “look, listen and feel” methods fail and you’re still not able to locate the leak, then you can always resort to the soap-and-water solution. Get yourself some dish soap, and mix it in a bowl of water until it’s nice and sudsy. Simply coat your tyres with the soapy water, and watch for bubbles. As air escapes from the hole in your tyres, it creates bubbles, and voilà — you’ve found your leak.
How to Fix a Flat Tyre
Success! You’ve located the leak that caused your flat tyres in the first place. Now for the fun part — getting it fixed.
It’s best to have a trained technician repair your flat tyres at a tyres centre or an auto repair shop. If, however, you don’t have a spare tyre or can’t get immediate professional assistance from a trained technician, as mentioned earlier you can attempt to temporarily seal the leak using a can of tyres puncture sealant or a tyres plug kit. Keep in mind that both of these options should not be considered long-term solutions, but rather temporary fixes until you can take your vehicle into the shop to have your tyres professionally patched.
Tyre plug kits, on the other hand, require tools, many more hands-on steps and greater technical know-how. Still, we reiterate: take your tyres to be professionally repaired or replaced soon after sealing or plugging it