How to Recognise a Slow Puncture and What to Do
Slow punctures can be hard to detect and is usually described as tyre damage that causes air to slowly be released, resulting in a gradual loss of pressure. A slow puncture and the air that escapes can almost be virtually undetectable, although it might not produce dramatic results straight away, a slow puncture can prevent a tyre from performing properly and it can compromise the safety and comfort of drivers and passengers. This means it’s a problem you shouldn’t ignore, slow punctures can be caused by a number of things including a sharp object piercing the rubber of the tyre, a faulty valve or a severe impact, like hitting a kerb or driving over a pothole.
Checking if your Car has a Slow Puncture
Many new cars these days come with tyre pressure monitoring systems which notify you if there’s a drop in the pressure of any of your tyres. However as useful as they are they still can’t specifically warn you if you have a slow puncture. This means it pays to know the other indications that can suggest your car has this problem, some of the following issues to look out for include the following…
Hard Suspension and Less Responsive Steering
If your steering feels less responsive when turning corners, it could be a sign of a slow puncture. Usually a subtle change but if you are very familiar with the handling characteristics of your car. You should also pay attention to how your suspension feels, if it feels bumpier and harder than normal, it is likely that one of your tyres is deflated.
Vehicle Pulling to One Side
If you’ve noticed your vehicle drifting to one side when you’re driving along a flat road this is a potential sign of a slow puncture. Low pressure in one tyre can cause your car to pull either left or right, should you find yourself driving on a quiet, flat road simply release your grip, keeping your hands close to the wheel and if your car doesn’t hold its course straight ahead, it’s possible that a slow puncture is to blame.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
If you have slow puncture it can mean that both the tyre and wheel become unbalanced which can lead to vibrations that can be felt in the steering. This vibration can especially be felt when travelling at a high speed.
Do You Have to Keep Topping Up Your Tyre Pressure
If you have to keep topping one tyre up more than the others to keep it at an optimal level of inflation, this is perhaps the clearest sign that you could have a slow puncture. All tyres lose some air over time, but if one is deflating faster than the others, this is usually a big clue that something’s wrong.
Repairing a Slow Puncture
In some cases slow punctures can be repaired, but this is dependent on a number of factors including the extent of the damage, where the puncture appears on your tyre and how long you’ve been driving on it. If you have picked up on the problem quickly and the puncture is in the main area of the tread then an expert tyre technician may be able to repair it for you, and is a cheaper option than getting a new tyre. However if the puncture is close to the sidewall or you have been driving on the deflated tyre for too long then repairing it won’t be an option and driving with tyres in this condition would be unsafe so you would need to invest in a new tyre. It is recommended that if you discover a slow puncture you should take your car to a tyre specialist as soon as you realise, this will eliminate any damage. A technician will be able to assess your tyre for you and let you know how to proceed from there. Although it’s tempting to try not to fix slow punctures yourself, external plugs or liquid sealants that are injected through the tyre valve are only temporary fix for punctured tyres and should never be seen as a long - term solution. As well as keeping a look out for slow punctures it is also advisable to keep on type of your tyre maintenance to ensure safe driving at all times.