Do you have a flat tyre? You will be able to learn how to safely and successfully use a tyre repair kit as well as how to change a tyre on a car using our videos and straightforward step-by-step tutorials.

How to fix a puncture_repair kit

Thwump-thwump-thwump-thwump… if you’ve ever heard that noise from your wheels while driving, you know it typically indicates just one thing: you’ve got a flat tyre. But there’s no need to panic, and you may not need to call out a breakdown service either; changing or fixing a tyre is easier than you may think. Read on to discover how to change a car tyre safely by yourself, or patch a puncture using a tyre repair kit. We also share our top advice on keeping your tyres in good health, to help avoid the chance of problems in the first place.

Flat tyre

What to do if you have a puncture

If you significantly damage a tyre by striking an obstacle or particularly vicious pothole, it may deflate quickly. You’ll likely feel a tug on the steering wheel and will probably hear it as well — a crash or thud followed by a repetitive ‘thwump-thwump’ sound. If the tyre is deflating slowly, for instance after driving over a nail, the steering may only seem heavier than usual or drag to one side. Either case, you’ll need to pull over and halt as quickly as possible.

Do so somewhere safe if you can, such as a lay-by or side roadway.

Try to avoid stopping on a busy, fast or poorly sighted road. If you’re on a freeway, move as far over to the left of the hard shoulder as you can to maximise the distance between you and moving traffic, while still giving yourself room to access the flat tyre. Turn your engine off, put your hazard lights on, activate the handbrake and put the car into neutral (or ‘park’ if you drive an automatic).

Make sure everyone is out of the car and safely away from the road, and place a warning triangle on the road behind the car if you have one. What you do next depends depend on whether your automobile has a spare tyre or, as many current cars do, a tyre repair kit. It will also depend how badly the tyre is damaged: repair kits only work with small holes, so if you can see a visible slash in the tyre and have no spare, you should call a breakdown service.

If this isn’t the first time you’ve been left stranded, you’ll realise the importance of decent breakdown cover. Discover which suppliers we recommend, in our guide to the finest auto breakdown services.

How to fit a spare tyre

There are some new cars that do not come equipped with a spare wheel. In order to cut down on weight and save money, several manufacturers now provide a tyre sealant kit with their products. If this is your situation, continue scrolling down the page to read our detailed instructions on how to use a tyre repair kit.

To begin, locate your vehicle’s spare wheel as well as its tools, including the jack. They are often located in the trunk of the vehicle, directly beneath the trunk floor. The next step is to identify the jacking point on the vehicle by consulting the owner’s manual and then grabbing it. It is possible that the manual has instructions on how to change a tyre as well.

In order to remove the locking wheel nuts from your vehicle, you will also require the adaptor. This is generally kept with the jack, but in case you’ve transferred it to a different location for “safe keeping,” it will be found here. If this is not the case, consult the instruction manual.

Make sure that the handbrake is all the way on before continuing. After that, lift the vehicle by positioning the jack so that it is beneath the jacking point that is closest to the wheel that needs to be changed. Turn the handle of the jack in a clockwise direction. As the car’s weight is transferred onto the jack, check to see that it is positioned correctly on the ground.

As soon as the wheel that you are changing has been lifted off the ground, remove any trim that is covering the wheel nuts. Then, to completely remove them, use the tool that was supplied as well as the adaptor for the locking wheel nut.

After you have removed the fasteners, you should now be able to remove the wheel that has a puncture and replace it with the spare wheel that you have. Caution is advised because the weight of an automobile wheel is typically rather significant.

After you have reattached the wheel nuts, drive the vehicle down to the ground. After the automobile has been lowered, you should then tighten the bolts, preferably following a diagonal pattern. If your vehicle has five nuts organised in the shape of a star (which is very typical), begin with tightening the first nut, then move on to the third, fifth, second, and fourth nuts, and finish with the fifth nut.

Changing a car tyre

How long can I drive on a spare tyre?

Spare wheels supplied with cars are often ‘space savers’ – narrower than normal and with a low speed rating, which will normally be displayed on the wheel rim (typically 50mph) (typically 50mph). These tyres are only designed for emergency use, and won’t give the braking or grip that a conventional tyre will. It’s advisable to get the damaged tyre replaced and a full-size wheel put back on your car as soon as feasible. Even if your automobile has a full-size spare wheel, we’d recommend visiting the garage anyway and getting the bolts re-tightened to the manufacturer’s recommended torque settings.

How to use a car tyre repair kit

Many cars are now marketed without a spare wheel and are instead furnished with an emergency tyre repair kit. These often consist of:

Car tyre sealant – normally this is pressured liquid latex, which may come with a connector to link it to the tyre valve.

Car tyre pump — a compressor driven by the car’s 12V socket, which will progressively reinflate the tyre once the hole has been sealed. Using a repair kit is very fuss-free, but like a space-saver wheel, it’s merely a temporary remedy. Go to a garage to get your tyre fixed or changed as soon as feasible.

If you don’t feel comfortable replacing your spare wheel – particularly in a risky scenario like a freeway hard shoulder – tyre sealant kits and compressors are available inexpensively at both online and at automotive outlets, and are a valuable, less-labour intensive backup.

We wouldn’t suggest using tyre sealant on a punctured space saver, however. Nor should you use a tyre repair kit if your car is furnished with ‘run flat’ tyres.

These include stronger sidewalls and are designed to be driven for limited distances at low speed, even when deflated. These can be identified by marks on the sidewall, albeit these can differ between manufacturers.

Step-by-step: how to fix a car tyre puncture

Nail in tyre

Follow the same approach for halting safely as outlined above. Grab your repair kit – it’s normally found under the boot floor. Follow any offered instructions. In most circumstances, utilizing it is simply a mater of attaching the bottle of tyre sealant to the valve on the wheel rim. Most bottles are pressured, so the latex will flow through the valve into the tyre. Once inside the tyre, the sealant should find and seal the hole. Now, attach the compressor to the 12V socket. Start the engine, then the compressor, and pump up the tyre to the necessary pressure. If the hole does not seal quickly, disconnect the compressor and try driving the car forwards or backwards a few metres to spread the sealant across the inside of the tyre. Then reattach the compressor and try again.

Top tip: tyre repair kits often contain ‘best before’ dates, beyond which the sealant dries up and must be replaced.

A tyre repair kit may typically get you out of immediate danger but is no good for holes larger than roughly 4mm. If you have a serious blowout or have damaged a tyre sidewall, you will have to call a breakdown service. Check out our article on how to find good auto breakdown cover.

How to check your automobile tyre pressure

Tyre pressure gauge

Ensuring your tyres are at the proper pressure is the easiest action you can do to maintain your tyres. It won’t prevent a puncture, but even if they’re only slightly underinflated, it can have a significant influence — not only on your fuel economy, but your car’s braking performance too. Over-inflating tyres might mean they wear unevenly and may become more prone to damage from striking kerbs or sharp stones.

How can I know the tyre pressure for my car?

Your car’s handbook will tell you the correct tyre pressures, or you may find it printed on a sticker inside the driver or passenger door. This may typically include advice on tyre pressures to use based on the load you’re hauling and for different tyre sizes. Some newer cars have built-in automatic tyre pressure monitors, but we encourage regular manual checks as well.

Ways to check your tyre pressure

A hand-held tyre pressure gauge is an easy way to check whether your tyres need inflating — they’re available from a range of online and physical merchants and normally cost less than £20. Simply attach the tyre pressure gauge to the valve on the wheel rim (after removing the dust cap), press down evenly to create a tight seal and read the measurement. Alternatively, tyre pumps on petrol station forecourts will generally read the tyres starting pressure before you begin inflating.

How often should I check my tyre pressure?

Ideally, you should check your tyre pressure every couple of weeks, particularly if you use your car regularly. It’s also sensible to verify before you embark on any long excursions. Check when the tyres are ‘cold’ (so they haven’t been driven on for a couple of hours). If you need to go to a gas station to check the pressure in the tyres, select a station that is as close to your starting position as possible. How can I get the air back into my car’s tyres?

In most cases, the simplest and quickest method for filling a vehicle’s tyres is to use the automatic pumps found at gas stations and garages. Typically, they are operated with coins, and a computerised display gives the operator the ability to set the maximum amount of pressure. It is important to pay attention to whether the data are given in PSI or BAR because these are the two different metrics that are employed. You only need to hook the hose to your wheel; the pump will handle the rest of the process.

will even deflate a tyre if it determines that the pressure inside is higher than what the user has set it to be. Inflating a tyre at home with a foot pump is a low-tech method, and it is also a pretty slow one. However, it is a really handy instrument. It is recommended that a tyre be inflated when it is cold, regardless of the method that you choose. When tyres get hot, the internal pressure rises, which might cause inaccurate readings of the tire’s pressure.

Advice on the care and security of automobile tyres
Reduce the amount that your tyres wear out.

If you want to get the most miles out of your tyres, you should avoid harsh braking, rapid acceleration, and fast cornering. All of these things will increase the amount of wear that your tyres experience.

The presence of bulges in the sidewall is an indicator that tyre failure is impending.

Make sure you inspect your vehicle’s tyres on a regular basis for excessive or uneven wear. Take out any pebbles or other material that has been lodged in the tread, and be on the lookout for any deep scratches or bulges. These are some of the warning indications that a tyre blowout is about to occur. Check to see if any of your wheels have been damaged after hitting a kerb or a particularly bad pothole. If the rim is scratched, has this resulted in any edges that are jagged or rough? Any damage that is close to the sidewall of the tyre should be repaired as soon as possible, and after that, you should have the wheel rebalanced at a repair shop.

Damaged tyre sidewall

Monitor tyre tread depth

By law, your car tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in a continuous band across three quarters of the width of the tyre. However, tyre performance deteriorates much before the legal minimum depth is reached, particularly in wet conditions. This is because the volume of the tread grooves is reduced, therefore they are less effective at dispersing surface water from the road. Don’t wait for the MOT test to find out if your tyres are up to scratch. Check your tyres regularly and consider getting new ones before they reach the required minimum.

Tyre tread depth check

Look after your spare tyre

The only thing that could possibly be worse than suffering a puncture would be finding out that the spare tyre also had a flat when you went to put it on. Always be sure to check the pressure and condition of the spare tyre on a regular basis. If your spare is getting on in years, the rubber may start to degrade, which can lead to potentially hazardous cracks in the tread or sidewalls.

This is particularly important to keep in mind if the spare wheel for your car is kept on the exterior of the vehicle, as is the case with several models of large SUVs. Are you in need of a new set of wheels (as opposed to a new set of metaphorical wheels)?