Types of punctures

Punctures occur when sharp objects enter the outer wall of your tyres such as loose nails, shards of glass or screws. If the object gets deep into your tyre, it can cause a loss of air pressure due to the hole that is formed. This can result in reduced handling and a loss of grip on the road.

There are two main types of punctures that can both occur without the driver's knowledge:

  • Slow punctures
  • Rapid punctures

What is a slow puncture?

A slow puncture is a small hole in a vehicle's tyre that causes air to escape gradually. Unlike rapid punctures, slow punctures are identifiable by inspecting your tyres. If your tyre looks deflated, misshapen, has noticeable debris on the surface or has a damaged sidewall - you could have a slow puncture. Slow punctures can take time for deflation of the tyre to become obvious, typically days or even weeks.

What are the warning signs of a slow puncture?

Though slow punctures are hard to spot at first, there are some warning signs to look out for when you are on the road. These include:

Loss of tyre pressure - if you find yourself continuously having to inflate your tyre, this could be a sign that you have a slow puncture.

Pulling to one side - if you notice your car drifting to one side whilst driving, you may have issues with your wheel alignment or you could have a slow puncture that is affecting the pressure in one or more of your tyres.

Changes to vehicle handling - if your suspension feels harder than usual or the responsiveness of your vehicle has changed, a slow puncture may be the culprit.

Can a slow puncture be repaired?

In most cases, slow punctures can be repaired depending on what has caused the problem. If a sharp object has caused the slow puncture, it is possible for a skilled technician to repair the hole. If a slow puncture has been caused due to damage to the tyre sidewall, rim or wheel - a repair may not be possible. We recommend a replacement tyre be fitted at your local centre as the best way to get your tyre back to full working order.

What is a rapid puncture?

A rapid puncture is more obvious to spot than a slow puncture. Your tyre will deflate quickly and reduce your ability to drive, there may also be a noticeable hissing sound coming from the punctured tyre. A rapid puncture means that your tyre loses air pressure quickly and will affect your vehicle's handling.

What are the warning signs of a rapid puncture?

Though rapid punctures are easier to spot than slow punctures, your TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) may also alert you when one of your tyres is at a low-pressure level. You may need to manually check each tyre if the warning light on your dashboard appears to identify which tyre is flatter.

Can a rapid puncture be repaired?

If a rapid puncture occurs whilst you are driving, you may be required to carry out a roadside repair or call out for breakdown assistance until you can safely reach your nearest centre. Though some rapid punctures can be repaired, this may depend on certain factors such as the condition of the tyre, the location of the puncture and the size of the damaged area.

Looking for more information or run flat tyres? Contact our expert team today or visit your nearest centre who will be more than happy to help.

Posted on: 16/01/2023

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