If you own a vehicle, then one can easily relate to the the pain of fixing a flat tire when least expected. According to the stats, almost 85% people across North America had a bad day to start with when they noticed their flat tire before heading to the office. Thus it would be fair to say, almost all riders would have come across a flat tire which we are uncertain of, on our scandalous roads. This post will walk you through flat tire problem and ways to resolve it without needing the spare tire.
What is a flat tire?
A flat tire is a deflated pneumatic tire which causes the rim of the tire to run on the ground inflicting excessive damage to it. It is advisable to reduce the vehicle’s speed gradually and pull off the vehicle under such circumstances.
When does a tire become flat?
You might have run into one of the below scenario: You wake up and walk out to your car in the morning, open the door and spot it – sagging tire on the floor. Or you’re driving and suddenly you observe the flap, flap sound of an airless tire. There are various reason for a tire to become flat and it is necessary to handle our vehicle’s tires in an exceedingly safer manner.
1. Puncture due to sharp objects such as nails or screws
Puncture by sharp objects such as nails or screws is one of the most important causes. Avoid driving around the debris in roads or parking lots whenever possible.
2. Damage in the valve system
A valve is a small protrusion in the tire through which air is inflated. Damage in the valve of the tires can cause air leaks in the tire causing the tire to be flat. Damage in the valve may be due to external damages or due to corrosion of the valve tube.
3. Ripped tire
It is strongly recommended not to drive when the tire is ripped as it can cause a dangerous situation while driving. Check regularly for damages in tires, like deeply scuffed or uneven go down on the tires.
4. Leaks in the tire bead
The tire bead is the edge of the tire that rests on the rim. The tire can become flat over a while due to leaks in the tire bead. To check out any leaks in the tire bead, spray the tire and the valves with soapy water. If a tiny bubble emerges, there can be a tire leak.
5. Blowout of tires
It is necessary to fill the correct amount of air in the tires. Excessive filling of air will result in inflation of tires which makes it flat. A blowout can also occur due to inclement weather which can be ineluctable.
Being stranded on roads due to flat tires is one complete mess in our hectic routine. In case, when there is no spare tire, the following methods can be done to resolve a flat tire.
1. Having a repair tool kit
These are easier to use rather than being in a hassle of replacing the tires. A repair tool consists of a sealant and an air inflator to handle the small patch that causes the tire to be flat. Some of the best manufacturers include Slime, Tooluxe and Boulder. If you are not interested in purchasing a repair tool kit, you can make your own tool kit with a sealant and an air inflator. The vehicle can then be taken to the tire look destination.
2. Using run-flat tires
A few years before, spare tires had been given as a default feature while buying a new car. But in recent years, it would not be a surprise if there are no spare tires provided. Manufacturers have been leaving the standards of providing spare tires in their cars. Instead, Run-Flat tires were provided which came into the picture in the mid-1980s and is now used by all manufacturers.
About 13% of new cars have no spare wheels now, and the number is raising day-by-day. Run-Flat tires have been installed in almost all cars including luxury cars like BMW, Mercedes-Benz.
Run-flat tires can be used to continue driving after the puncture so that we could step to a service garage more cautiously, but cannot be used for the usual drive. We can drive at a maximum speed of 50miles/hour (80kmph) for a distance of maximum 50 miles (80kms).
Types of Run-Flat tires
- Self-Supporting tires
These are tires that are reinforced with a fabric inner lining that will allow continuous operation even after air leak, with mentioned speed and distance range as prescribed by the manufacturer.
- Self-Sealing tires
Self-Sealing tires contain an extra lining within the tire that self-seals when there is a small opening in tires due to damages caused by nails or screws. By this way, air loss is prevented by from the outset so that either the tire is repaired permanently or at least the air loses slowly. Self-sealing tires can work better when the damage in the tire is below 5 millimetres.
It is necessary to drive safe and careful and follow the procedures in case of a flat tire. Allow the car to slow down naturally on the road rather than slamming on the brakes, and never change the tires unless you are not struck in moving traffic. Have the tires checked from time to time, making sure that the air pressure is adjusted properly for both front and rear tires. Another is to never exceed the over the load capacity and the speed limit mentioned for the tires.
3. Using Roadside Assistance
Typically, Roadside Assistance are included with your warranty for the first 3 years when you buy a new car. It will help you with anything you need to get your vehicle up and running and their services operates 24×7. You can call your Roadside Assistance call center and describe the issue with your car, in our case, changing a flat tire. It is their job to send down a experienced person to help you with changing your tire. It is advised to keep your Roadside Assistance services active even after it gets expired. Depending on the manufacturer, typically after 3 years this service would be void and you might would want to look at your Insurance company to enroll you into Roadside Assistance Program. They can solve any issues such as Changing a flat tire, Battery jump start, towing service, lockout service, winching and Fuel delivery. Having this program ensues peace of mind and will not leave you stranded in middle of the road.
What to do?
Well, as outlined above, there are few options to treat your flat tire and fix it without any need of spare tire. Nowadays, new cars coming with full-sized spare tire are very unlikely and largely due to the fact that it could help manufacturers increase the fuel efficiency and to decrease the overall gross weight of the vehicle, just by avoiding full-sized spare tire. However, in place of that, these vehicles are often equipped with tire repair kits.
If you have a new vehicle that came with a tire repair kit, familiarize yourself with the kit and the direction for how to use. That way, when you get flat tire away from home, you may be able to help yourself out with this kit. To end this, keep following our TheCarsInsider for latest news on the cars and electric vehicles.