Tyres help our vehicles move and get us to where we need to go. They ensure that you and your passengers stay safe. Your brakes don't actually stop your car - they stop your tyres.
It is vital that your tyres are reliable, durable and can withstand any foreign objects on whatever terrain you drive on.
Every time you go out for a drive, your tyres run the risk of being punctured, sustaining damage and going flat. There is really no avoiding it since we can't control what road conditions are like and what obstacles and debris are left behind.
So what to do when your tyre gets damaged, should you just discard them and get a new set? Or get it repaired?
Here are some potentially life-saving tips on tyre repairs that could be critical to you and your family's safety.
Before you repair your tyres, you need to be sure they are worth fixing. Though often, the reverse is true and tyres are removed prematurely - mainly from not being sure what to do and from a lack of understanding of how to read tread depth indicators.
Tread Wear Indicators
All road-going tyres are legally required to have Tread Wear Indicators (TWI).
For vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass, (GVM) of 4.5 tonnes or less, a tyre must have a tread pattern around its circumference that is at least 1.5mm deep across the entire surface which comes in contact with the road. This measurement is the minimum legal tread depth allowed in Australia.
Tread wear indicators are small raised platforms of rubber moulded into the main tread grooves and tyre shoulder.
Once the tyre's tread surface is flush with the TWI, it means you have reached the legal limit, and your tyres will need replacement.
TWI's are located in the tyre by the following indicators located in the shoulder of the tyre:
- The letters 'TWI'
- A small triangular arrow-head shape (see below)
- Sometimes by a company brand logo (Goodyear's 'Wingfoot', the 'Michelin Man' and more)
So once you have located the TWI's on your tyres, it is time to determine if your tyres are worth repairing.
When to remove and repair your tyres
Though designed to provide thousands of kilometres of excellent service, there are typical conditions that might mean you need to remove your tyres:
- The tyre's tread has worn down to the Tread Wear Indicator (TWI)
- A road hazard or debris has damaged the tyre
- The casing is fatigued from being run underinflated or overloaded
- Tyres compromised by extreme weather
- Involved in a car crash or accident
In the case of a puncture from a nail, for example, that stabs deep into the inner tyre tread, the potential loss of air pressure - causing your tyre to deflate - will be your immediate concern.
But even if you've repaired the puncture, the damage around it can still be a risk for tread separation.
Tread separation is a dangerous and even potentially fatal situation when the tyre's tread gets detached from the main body or casing of the tyre. It can cause the tyre to blowout and make you lose control of your vehicle.
Driving an out of control vehicle is a situation you don't want to find yourself in - especially when driving down a highway with many other motorists travelling at higher speeds.
To ensure that your tyre has sustained no such long term damage, a professional tyre service technician should handle all repairs.
Tyroola has built an extensive network of the best tyre shops and fitters all over Australia.
Click HERE if you need to get your current tyres checked out.
Tyre Repair Precautions and Reminders
- Get in touch with a tyre professional
Only trained personnel using the proper tools and procedure should take care of changing tyres and working on any kind of tyre repair. Repairs, if not done correctly, can be dangerous. Lives are at stake, so the whole process should be taken seriously.
- Not all tyres can be repaired.
The limits on whether a tyre can get fixed depend on the recommendations or the repair policy of the tyre manufacturer and - or - tyre service shops. We suggest doing some research on your particular tyre brand and model to double-check as well. Contact Tyroola's customer service department, and we can help you out as well.
- Only Tyres with damage on the centre tread should undergo repairs.
If your tyres sustain damage in the shoulder and sidewall area - replace them immediately. Do not attempt to repair them. Tyroola has over 300,000 tyre models for you to choose from in case you need a new set quickly.
- Never repair tyres with a tread puncture 6mm or over.
A tyre with a puncture that measures 1/4 inch or 6mm deep or above is beyond repair. Please discard them and get a new, fresh tyre.
- Automatically replace the following tyres with new ones.
- Involved in a crash
- With large cuts and lacerations
- Separated tread
- Always remove the tyre from the rim/wheel and vehicle
Never perform a tyre repair without removing the tyre from the rim/wheel to be able to conduct an internal inspection. It might seem like extra work but well worth it when your safety is at stake.
- Use only Industry recommended repair methods
- Two-piece stem and patch repair components - also known as plug and patch
- one-piece patch/stem combination repair units.
Safety reminder though - repairing your tyre this way can either allow you to use the tyre for a long time post-repair or it can just be a temporary quick fix. The materials used for stems and patches might not hold in colder temperatures and can affect the tyre's structural integrity negatively.
- Multi-puncture repairs
Only repair tyres with multiple punctures if they are at least 16 inches away from each other. If the holes are closer together, do not repair the tyre and just get a new one.
- Repair units should never overlap.
If your repaired tyre sustains new or additional damage which affects or compromises the previously repaired area, please do not try to fix the tyre anymore. The number of repairs needs to be limited by the tyre manufacturer's recommendations and repair policy or as determined by the inspection process.
- Run-flat tyre repairs
Some run-flat technology tyres cannot be fixed or repaired. Consult tyre manufacturer for their repair policy.
The Basic principles for tyre repair are as follows:
- Remove the tyre from the wheel
Your tyre service professional or technician must remove the tyre from the wheel so the inside - or what part needs repairing - be it the shoulder, sidewalls or centre tread - can be thoroughly examined.
- Prepare the injured area
Remove the cause of the puncture and clear out the edges of the damaged tread
- Fill the damaged cavity
Use a suitable vulcanising material or rubber stem to fill the injury and keep moisture out
- Use a patch repair unit
The tyre's inner liner, if left unopened, will leak. Seal the inner liner completely with a patch repair unit to prevent air loss
- Re-inspect the finished repair
Before returning the tyre to the wheel and your vehicle, do a final check to make sure the patch repair has dried and in the proper place
At Tyroola, we only recommend repairing your damaged tyres as long as you follow the guidelines and procedures adopted and set by the Australian Tyre Manufacturers Association.
Sticking to the guidelines will prevent accidents that can make the vehicle that you drive unsafe.
If you need brand new replacement tyres, visit Tyroola for a wide range of passenger and commercial vehicle tyres for you.