Knowing if you can or can’t repair a tyre could come in very handy for a lot of drivers. Tyre companies estimate that on average drivers get a flat tyre about once every five years. Considering tyres can cost upwards of £100 each and you can repair a tyre for around £25, understanding if you can fix a puncture could be a handy money saver. Here’s all you need to know.
Repairing tyres: What the retailer should do first
Not all flat tyres can be repaired. For example: if you’ve had to drive some distance on the tyre when it’s had no air in it, the tyre’s structure might be so badly damaged it can’t be repaired. First thing’s first: before agreeing to carry out a repair the tyre retailer should remove and inspect the tyre. There should be no wires visible and no evidence – usually the colour of the tyre or debris inside the tyre – that it has run under-inflated or been stressed in any way. These can affect the strength and integrity of the tyre once the puncture has been fixed.
Repairing tyres: What are the official guidelines?
Tyre repairs are governed by a British Standard. This official guideline, called BS AU159G, governs the size of the hole being repaired, where the hole is located on the tyre and how badly the tyre has been damaged. If, for example, the puncture extends into the tyre’s shoulder area it may not be repairable. A reputable tyre retailer should have a chart showing exactly where on the tyre acceptable repairs can be carried out.
Repairing tyres: Can run-flat tyres be fixed?
Steve Howat, technical services manager at tyre firm Continental explained: “There’s no simple answer: it’s entirely dependent on who’s made the tyre. Some companies say they can be repaired within certain limitations; some say they can be repaired in most cases; others say absolutely no repairs. This is because of the special construction of the self-supporting (run-flat) tyre. It makes it difficult to establish whether the tyre has been stressed when it’s been running flat. It’s for exactly this reason that Continental doesn’t recommend puncture repairs to self-supporting tyres.”
Repairing tyres: What the retailer shouldn’t do
A tyre that’s been repaired should last until the tread has worn down to near the 1.6mm legal minimum and the tyre is replaced. However, Continental’s Steve Howat admitted: “We’ve seen some horrendous repairs, where the tyre has been punctured right on the edge of the belts that run round it and someone has put a plug patch in there. Some unscrupulous tyre retailers might even fix a puncture by fitting an inner tube, which is totally against any guidelines.”
Repairing tyres: Questions to ask
If you decide to get a tyre repaired, it’s important that it’s done by a reputable retailer and to the required British Standard. Howat advised asking these three questions to make sure you get a proper job done:
- Can I see where the puncture is? (There should be no visible wires if it’s to be repaired)
- How are you going to do the repair and will it conform to BS AU159G?
- Can you please point to where the repair is? If it’s been repaired in the shoulder area (the part between the tread and the sidewall) you shouldn’t pay for it