Demand for urgent puncture repairs is increasing as the UK is battered by heavy winds, littering roads with fallen trees, branches and other tyre-wrecking debris. A common question posed by many motorists in this situation though is “Are puncture repairs safe?”. Of course it is natural to fear that a repaired tyre will never be as safe as it was before it was damaged.
The good news is that there is a puncture repair procedure which is accepted by British Standard Institution. The BS AU 159 sets out the “specification for repairs to tyres for motor vehicles used on the public highway. It also confirms that tyres repaired to this standard are able to operate at their original speed and load capabilities for the remaining lifetime of the tyre.
Puncture repair guidelines
There are clear rules set out covering this procedure. Repairs for cars and vans are only permitted in the central 60% to 70% of the tyres nominal width, with this percentage differing, depending on the size of the tyre. The sidewall cannot be safety repaired because it takes the most load when the tyre is in use. A repair, even if carried out by an expert, could potentially weaken the structure of the sidewall.
Also the maximum diameter of the penetration hole left by the puncturing object is limited to 6mm. This means a tyre damaged by a screw, nail or other sharp object can usually be safely repaired. However, splits, cuts or damage sustained by driving over a pothole are unlikely to be covered.
Finally, any additional repairs must not overlap one another.
The safest puncture repair
All puncture repairs carried out by etyres are in compliance with the British Standard BS AU 159. Our fitters always remove the tyre from the wheel to fully inspect any damage. This enables them to determine whether a puncture can be safely repaired or not.
Statistically there is a high possibility that the tyre will be repairable. In our 25 years experience, around 60% of all punctures examined can be repaired safely without the need for a replacement tyre.
Once the damage has been identified as being in the repairable area, the next step is to carry out an internal check. This is only possible by removing the tyre from the wheel to check for a thorough inspection. If internal damage goes unnoticed it could cause sudden and catastrophic tyre failure.
Simply using a liquid sealant or applying an external plug does not count as a permanent puncture repair. These methods also fall far outside the requirements of the BS AU 159 repair.
In order to benefit from a puncture repair, the best advice is to spot the signs of a slow puncture or other damage as soon as possible, which means carrying out regular tyre maintenance checks.
What to do if you have a puncture
If you detect a slow puncture, avoid driving on the affected tyre. The heat build up caused by running on an under-inflated tyre will increase the risk of a bigger problem developing. It will very likely render a BS AU 159 puncture repair impossible.
It is important to remember your tyres are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road. They are critical for your safety, so it is vital to entrust them to a reliable and reputable company.
etyres is endorsed by Which?, the UK’s leading consumer watchdog group. As part of the Which? Trusted Trader scheme, our customers enjoy the peace of mind knowing they are dealing with a tyre company that offers the best quality and standard of service, especially when it comes to carrying out safe and legal puncture repairs.
Plus our puncture repair service can save you a lot of money. With prices starting from just £25 including VAT, this is almost half the price of a brand new budget tyre, while some premium brand tyres could set you back hundreds of pounds!
Denna Bowman, Head Office