Car tyre puncture repair - how long does it take?

Car tyre puncture repair - how long does it take?

The thought of getting a puncture whilst driving and repairing it on the side of the road might seem a little daunting. It’s good to remember that it’s often not as bad as it seems, and taking care of a small puncture by yourself can actually be pretty simple.

In this blog we’ve outlined everything you need to know about what to do if you find yourself with a puncture.

How do I know if my tyre is punctured?

It’s good to know what to look out for if you think you might have a puncture. The sooner you can catch a puncture the better, as you’ll have a higher chance of being able to repair it, and it’ll be less likely to cause any damage to your car.

Here are the main signs to look out for if you think you might have a puncture:

  • Are you having difficulty steering? Punctures can make driving feel sluggish as the tyre slowly deflates.
  • Does the car feel wobbly or shuddering?
  • Does the car pull to one side?
  • Can you hear a regular tapping noise? If your tyre has a nail in it you might hear it hitting the road as you drive along.

If your car’s making noises and you’re worried you might have used the wrong fuel, you can check out our blog ‘Can you put diesel in a petrol car?

What if I get a puncture whilst driving?

If you notice any of the symptoms above start happening whilst driving, it’s possible you have a puncture. It’s important not to panic or brake suddenly in these situations, and you can follow the steps below to safely pull over:

  • Take your foot off the accelerator
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly to keep a steady course
  • Stop gradually at the side of the road, away from traffic

If you are on a motorway, the DVSA recommends that you shouldn’t try to change your tyre or fix a puncture by the side of the road. You can use an emergency phone to call for assistance. On all other roads, the DVSA recommends getting the vehicle to a safe spot away from traffic before trying to change your tyre or repair the puncture.

Can I repair my own puncture with a car tyre repair kit?

It’s certainly possible to repair your own puncture. A lot of new cars these days have actually started providing car tyre repair kits instead of spare tyres, in order to save on space and weight. If you find yourself at the side of the road with a puncture, you have a few options:

  • Repair the puncture yourself at the side of the road with a car tyre repair kit, then take your car to a garage to have the tyre replaced
  • Change the tyre using your spare tyre (if you have one), then go to a garage to see if they can fix the puncture
  • Call a local garage or recovery service to see if they can come and take a look at your tyre

Punctures that are too big or too near the side of the tyre tend to not be possible to repair. If you notice any of these things, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to repair the puncture yourself:

  • If the tyre looks torn or ripped
  • If the puncture hole is bigger than 4mm
  • If the puncture is not in the middle ¾ of the tyre (if it’s too near the sides or on the sides)
  • If the wheel or rim looks obviously bent or damaged

If you think your tyre can be repaired and you feel confident to do it yourself, you can have a rummage around in the boot for your tyre repair kit. They’re usually made up of a can of sealant, to seal the puncture, and some kind of compressor, to inflate the tyre. It should come with instructions on how to use it effectively, as the exact method can vary.

It’s worth noting that tyre repair kits are designed to be a temporary fix. Once you feel confident that the tyre is repaired and can hold air, it’s a good idea to get to a garage as soon as you can so they can take a look.

If you’re looking to find out a bit more about keeping your car in top health, you can check out our blog ‘How long should a car battery last in the UK?

Getting a puncture repaired in a garage

If you decide to head to a garage to get your puncture repaired, they’ll first decide whether or not they can repair your tyre. All garages and repair centres in the UK have to follow a set of rules around tyre safety called British Standard BS AU 159. This means they won’t just look at the puncture, but also the overall state of the tyre.

If the tyre covers anything on the list below, there’s a good chance that most garages will recommend replacing a tyre rather than repairing:

  • If the tread depth is below the legal limit
  • If the tyre is visibly damaged with splits or cuts
  • If the internal structure of the tyre is damaged
  • If the tyre has been repaired previously
  • If the tyre is damaged where it connects with the wheel
  • If the tyre liner is damaged
  • If the tyre has been damaged from over or under inflation
  • If the sidewall of the tyre is damaged
  • If the tyre has a puncture larger than 6mm

If you repaired your tyre yourself with a tyre repair kit then drove to a garage, it’s good to remember that they’ll usually recommend changing the tyre. Most garages won’t want to do a double fix on a puncture, as it’s not seen as safe. A repair at a garage will usually cost around £30, whereas two new tyres (tyres tend to be replaced in pairs to keep the car balanced) could cost you £100 per tyre in some cases. This means that, if the tyre is practically new and you get a really small puncture, you may prefer to go straight to a garage for them to repair.

How long does a puncture repair take?

Tyre repair can potentially take a very short amount of time, and you could be on your way within half an hour, whether you’re doing it yourself or taking it to a garage. If you’re doing it yourself on the side of the road it really is just a quick fix, so it’s best to head to a garage after for a replacement. Some garages even offer roadside help, provided you’re close by. If you can find a garage that offers that as a service, they’ll send someone out with a pair of tyres and a fixing kit and they’ll decide what to do right there and then.

If your car’s in the garage and you decide to get a service whilst you’re there, you might want to check out our blog ‘How long does a full car service take?

A few final tips…

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself with a puncture and you’re thinking of repairing it yourself:

  • Not every puncture can be repaired, and it can be safer to talk to an expert rather than trying to repair a puncture yourself
  • If you get a puncture on a motorway and decide to pull over, it’s best to call for assistance rather than trying to change the tyre or repair the puncture
  • If you repair the puncture yourself and then drive to a garage for them to take a look, they’ll usually recommend that you replace the tyre

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.