Punctures and “Run-Flats”

May 25, 2010 at 5:55 am 6 comments

I hope that it’s been raining where you are. We needed it.

However, one side effect that can get us involved, is the greater risk of a puncture.

Why? Because wet rubber cuts easier, and is pierced easier, than dry rubber. When the tread rubber is almost gone, then the incidence of punctures increases markedly. A fair statement is that the rate of punctures doubles when there is only the last ten percent of the tread thickness left.

So it’s only flat at the bottom, you are told by unsympathetic observers, while you struggle with over- tightened wheel nuts, and having to unload the boot to find that long neglected spare wheel. And of course, it’s still raining.

So what do you do about it? An ounce of prevention, and all that.

First- is there a spare wheel in the wheel well. Is there a wheel well? Good question. Many modern cars/SUV’s don’t have a spare. They supply a can of gunk to seal the tyre, and get you home. Supposedly.

Not much use though when confronted by the tyre ‘failure’ in the accompanying photographs.
Tyre Puncture

This is what is known as a “run flat failure”. The tyre invariably is on a rear wheel, and has been run in a straight line, deflated, at speed for a considerable distance. The sidewall “knuckles under” midwall where the rotating tyre hits the ground, and the heat and distortion actually melts the reinforcing cords in the tyre casing. So after around 10 km, it fails, disastrously. As the driver of this utility explained, “it happened on the freeway, mate”.
Tyre Puncture

You’d need a pretty big can of gunk to fix that, mate!

Then they started the unenviable task of finding a replacement tyre. Being a utility, it was shod with commercial (or L.T.) tyres, which even though it was a Holden, aren’t always carried by retail tyre stores. Took the whole afternoon.

So make sure that your vehicle has a spare, that it’s got air in it, and can be accessed. It doesn’t matter if your new car has a steel wheel, with a different sized tyre on it, when all the rest are spiffy low profiles on mag wheels- it has been matched and approved for rolling diameter ,and load carrying capacity, and it’s legal.

If it’s a used car, make sure that it’s got a spare. Period!

Entry filed under: car repair and servicing, Safety, Tyre Industry, Tyre safety & maintenance, When to Replace your Tyres. Tags: , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tyre balancer  |  June 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    This tyre is totally flat.It can happen on times unexpectedly or for different reasons.Now,this is why it’s so important to regularly check and maintain tyre pressure and related stuff to avoid problems like this.

  • 2. Alloy Wheels and Tyres  |  June 8, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I totally agree with you, especially if you are going on a trip you always have to be prepared. And carrying extra wheel is a part of it.

  • 3. Rory Whitebrook  |  July 1, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Hi, my name is Mr R Whitebrook and i would like to know if you can answer a question for me, is it possible for a holly leaf puncture a normal car tyre?, this is a genuine question so please can you give me an answer, any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated, thank you.

    • 4. ludocb  |  July 1, 2010 at 12:32 am

      Possible, but improbable, in my opinion. The rubber tread would have to be thin, (worn out) the tyre not steel belted radial, the tyre contain a tube ( not tubeless), and above all, WET! Wet rubber punctures easier than dry.

  • 5. tyre serviss  |  October 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

    To check tyres is like to go to the dentist. There are emergences but you don’t want that to happen. Thats why you have to do check up!

  • 6. Forklift Accessories  |  March 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    It’s always sound thinking to keep a spare tire on hand for emergencies. Businesses with time-sensitive operations should keep this in mind if they don’t want any delays in case their forklifts and other industrial vehicles bust a tire.


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