What do you do when you encounter a punctured tyre on the road? If you can’t safely make it to a garage, you have to rely on what equipment your vehicle has. Traditionally, this has always involved relying on the spare tyre but, nowadays, this isn’t always the case.
More and more, car and delivery trucks are replacing spare tyres with puncture repair kits. This is done for a variety of reasons, notably to decrease the vehicle’s final weight.
Similarly, owners of cars equipped with LPG systems are often trying to find an alternative to a spare tyre, also leading them to invest in a car puncture repair kit. This is because the LPG tank replaces the spare tyre, so the need for a smaller solution becomes more important.
What’s in a car puncture repair kit?
More recently, over the last couple of years, car shops have been offering tyre spray sealers as part of a tyre puncture repair kit, including a sealing agent and a compressor.
The compressor kits and spray seals are both moderately effective and both will allow you to drive at moderate speeds - this means there is enough support to reach the nearest tyre repair shop or your home.
You should bear in mind, however, that a tyre repaired using such a kit or spray may not be suitable for a full repair and many tyre shops, consequently, will refuse to do it. In the event that a repair is unsuccessful, or unavailable, your best course of action is to buy two new car tyres.
Why two tyres? This is because both tyres on an axle should have the same type and tread depth. Ideally, it is better to replace all four, especially for 4 Wheel Drive cars and vehicles equipped with ESP systems.
What’s the difference in effectiveness?
Between repair sprays and a full kit, there is a huge difference in effectiveness. Tyre repair sprays, for instance, cannot be fully recommended, as they are only ever able to repair very small instances of damage. Furthermore, they can often completely fail in low temperatures.
Car puncture repair kits, on the other hand, consist of a sealing agent and a compressor (air pump), which are much more suitable. There are, however, huge differences in their efficiency, depending on which kit you choose to use.
Tyre replacement after using a puncture repair kit.
In an ADAC study, five kits were rated as good, while two were sufficient and three were rated as insufficient. The winner was Premium Seal Repair, which contains a micro-phase sealant which is able to repair larger punctures. It also has a concise manual and can be disposed of in a normal manner after use.
However, the compressor turned out to be too weak and the testers complained about the inaccurate manometer readings. Because of this variance, it’s worth reading a car tyre puncture repair kit review or two about any given product you are interested in, to ensure it is right for you.
All puncture repair kits, of course, allow for further driving to a limited degree, as well as a limited distance. This will be enough to get you somewhere safe (such as your home or a garage). Ultimately, puncture repair kits only offer a temporary solution and, likewise, they cannot repair larger instances of damage, tread faults or any defects in the sidewall or valve stem.
An effective alternative for a spare tyre?
Ultimately, both spray seals and repair kits cannot fully replace a spare tyre, or even a limited use tyre. This is not compensated by a lower fuel consumption rate (thanks to a lower weight) or by additional space in the trunk.
If this is something you are concerned about, run flat tyres are an alternative solution. These have a different tyre construction, enabling you to drive up to 93 miles (150 km) at speeds of up to 49 miles per hour (80 km/h) even with no tyre pressure.
To avoid any damage to your tyres, ADAC recommends using tyre pressure control systems. These allow you to notice any damage right away, often before a breakdown occurs.
Nothing will replace a spare tyre but, if you no longer have space left for one, seal kits or tyre spray products are available alternatives. Sprays are cheap, yet in effective, while puncture repair kits are often much pricier, but more effective. Some kits are also reusable, so long as you pay for the refills, while others are designed to be disposable.
This is, of course, your choice as a driver. Yet it is one that you should always consider so that, when you do have a punctured tyre on the road, you have the best tools and supplies for the challenge.