How to avoid getting a flat tyre*
Driving a car is sort of fraught with danger – there’s road safety to be aware of, other drivers and of course keeping the car maintained to make sure that it’s drive-able (think oil checks, a flat tyre, bulbs, etc). My trusty Ford KA hasn’t let me down so far but I didn’t always have such a reliable car. For a year I had a little black Mini which was the loveliest car I’ve ever had. However, it was the most unreliable thing you can imagine – in the year I had it, it was in the garage at least six times for various problems – and, in the end, I had to get rid of it (super sad face).
One afternoon I was driving up to the Lake District for work with one of my colleagues. Now, this is quite a long drive from where I live – about four hours in total – so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. About an hour in, a dreaded warning light came on on my dashboard so I pulled into the next service station to take a look what it meant. It was loss of pressure in one of my tyres. I then spent a good ten minutes trying to get the dust cap off the flat tyre before some lads in a van stopped to (embarrassingly) help me. Throughout the trip, the tyre pressure kept dropping and I realised I had a slow puncture. If you or anyone you know has had to come and rescue people like me in these situations, be sure they have insurance so they can work without worrying about loss of work if anything happens. Sites like i4mt offer cover for tyre, exhaust and windscreen fitters. Just do your research.
Luckily we were only in the Lakes for a day and so we managed to make it home on the flat tyre as it was without resorting to desperate measures like ringing my dad.
Here’s how to look after your tyres to avoid the same thing happening to you:
- Before long journeys, make sure your tyre pressure is topped up – you can find the number it needs to be in your handbook
- Check the depth of your tyre tread every few weeks – the legal limit is 1.6mm across 75% of the tyre. I know people who have ended up with points on their license from not having the correct depth of tread and it’s really dangerous as the grip on the road is reduced, especially in icy or wet conditions. This also makes tyres more prone to punctures.
- Rotate your tyres – it’s recommended that this is done every 5,000 miles. If you don’t know how to do this yourself (I don’t!), ask when you get your car serviced.
- Avoid driving through debris, over potholes or on roads that aren’t well maintained – all these things can damage tyres.
- Don’t overload your car – each tyre has a maximum load weight so pay attention to this.
If you’ve got a flat tyre or your car is just in need of some new ones, places like Point S will help you choose your new tyres. If you don’t know much about the tyres of their car (like me!), you can simply log on to their website, enter your car’s registration number and all the information will be there.