Our motoring editor answers your questions and gives advice on fitting a new tyre and carrying a spare wheel
How can I prevent a puncture?
There’s never a good time for a puncture and there is nothing more annoying than driving along to the sound of a flat tyre. As a rule of thumb, most motorists will experience a puncture about once every five years, but that is little consolation when you are at the side of the road on a dark, rainy night with a car full of kids. Long winters have played havoc with our roads. Potholes are becoming a more common feature but there are some ways to prevent punctures, including inspecting your tyres regularly for wear and tear, and ensuring your tyres are properly inflated. If possible, try not to drive too close to the kerb where all sorts of debris collects. Never park anywhere there is likely to be broken glass. Always avoid potholes whenever you can.
Do all cars come with spare tyres?
If your car comes equipped with a spare tyre, then learn how to change it. But remember, these are heavy and require strength, so if you are not confident about doing it, then get roadside assistance. Most spare tyres are space savers and, as the name implies, these are smaller than standard tyres so they come with speed restrictions. These tyres allow you to drive home or to a tyre shop to purchase a new one, but you can only drive a short distance and at a speed below 80kmh. If you are buying a new car, a spare tyre may not be included. Instead, a puncture repair kit may be standard. Repair kits are designed to be a quick fix at the side of the road without all the hassle of removing a tyre. In reality, they are messy to use, require precise and detailed instructions and are not suitable for all punctures.
Can I still drive my car if I get a puncture?
Ideally, you should not drive a car with a puncture as not only is it dangerous but it can cause lasting damage to the wheel. If you experience a puncture, stop in a safe location as soon as possible. At that point, you can change the tyre if you know how to and it is safe to do so, otherwise you should wait for breakdown assistance.
Most new cars are equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). You will get a dashboard warning from the car if it detects a tyre is low on pressure, alerting you to pull over in a safe place and inspect the tyres for a puncture.
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