Road tripping? Here’s why it’s not a good idea to repair premium run-flat tyres

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Mar 25, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Being stuck on the side of the road with a puncture, whether on a road trip on the highway or on your daily commute is not only inconvenient, but it can also be dangerous. Run-flat tyres are designed to help you get to the nearest safe place to get that puncture repaired. But what is the best way to repair that puncture?

Run-flat or run-on flat tyres are designed to keep running even after a puncture. They resist the effects of a sudden deflation and allow you to keep driving, at a reduced speed of a maximum of 80km/hour for a distance of 80km to get you to safety. Lubin Ozoux, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa says what you do next is key to the successful repair of your tyre, extending its longevity and staying safe on the road: “Bad tyre repairs can lead to tyres failing whilst driving. A burst tyre can result in a collision and possible loss of life.”

Ozoux offers the following tyre care advice:

Take it off the rim

Removing the tyre from the rim allows for a thorough inspection of the tyre for any damages. The inside of the tyre needs to be inspected to determine if there is damage to the inner liner of the tyre. Driving for an extended period after a puncture can also lead to casing or carcass damage so it is best to have the puncture repaired as soon as possible. Removing the tyre from the rim allows the professional fitment specialist an opportunity to determine the full extent of the damage that the puncture or penetration may have had on the inside of the tyre. Any repair made without completely removing the tyre from the rim and inspecting the inner casing integrity, is an incomplete and a potentially dangerous repair.

Don’t string things together

Find out what type of repair will be used on the tyre. Smaller operations, or those not carrying out repairs as part of their standard service offering, may use string repairs as a repair process. String repairs are a temporary repair that should only be used in an emergency, but never as a permanent repair. A red piece of fibre is threaded through a spike with a hole, much like a sewing needle, and then placed into the tyre. This type of repair should be considered a temporary fix – used when you are a long distance from a fitment centre and need an emergency repair. It is essential that you repair the puncture as soon as possible and the best option is to use a reputable, professional fitment centre to do a complete and proper tyre repair.

Inside out is the way to go

The most effective and safe way to repair a tyre is from the inside out. A mushroom patch repair involves buffing the inner liner of the tyre, placing the glue on the inside, and positioning the patch onto the damaged area. This type of patch has a tail in the centre which is threaded through the penetration hole from the inside of the tyre out towards the surface of the tyre. The air from within the tyre then pushes against the mushroom patch resulting in a safe and effective tyre repair.

Just don’t do it

Manufacturers have set specifications on maximum permissible puncture or penetration size for repairs. Any puncture that exceeds 6mm should not be repaired, as this will impact on the safe use of the tyre on the road surface. A tyre with this amount of damage needs to be replaced and should not be repaired. Please play your part in ensuring that damaged or worn tyres do not get back onto the road – use a reputable fitment professional to carry out the inspection and ask them to ensure the tyre is slashed as a waste tyre, and disposed of in the correct, lawful manner.

Ozoux says he would like 2021 to be the year that road accident and death statistics drop dramatically due to road users becoming more conscious of their responsibilities on the road. “This doesn’t only mean safe driving practices like not drinking and driving (or walking), not using a cell phone while driving, staying focused and within the speed limits, but also extends to maintaining vehicles and especially tyres. A safe for use, well maintained tyre will go a long way to helping you stop quickly, handle wet and slippery roads, and avoid accidents. It could save your life,” he concludes.

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