So you've got a puncture, you've plugged it for the time being with a sealant from your tyre repair kit. Question now is, how long can you travel on it and do you need to replace the tyre?
With more and more car manufacturers skipping the spare tyre for the sake of better fuel economy, it's become increasingly crucial to equip your car with a tyre repair kit (if it doesn't already come with one, of course).
While some don't agree on the ditching of the 18 to 20 kilograms of tyre and jack, there's just no way around it as more and more manufacturers are being forced to do so, so they can meet regulatory pressure of squeezing more kilometres per litre of fuel.
This begs the question, if you do end up using the repair kit, how many kilometres can you drive once the tyre is repaired? And is it true that the tyre is no longer usable after being repaired with the tyre repair kit? Let's find out.
A tyre repair kit uses a tyre sealant and an air compressor to repair the hole in the tyre (you don't need this if you have run-flat tyres as they are designed to be driven when flat).
To repair the tyre, it's as easy as identifying whether it is a puncture in the first place, where it is if so, and then connect the bottle of sealant to the air compressor before pumping it into the tyre via the valve.
This sealant should plug the hole, allowing the tyre to retain the air being pumped into it. Be warned, this is not a long term solution as it is more of a temporary fix so that you can reach a mechanic or a tyre shop.
The big question though is how many kilometres can you travel in this search for a mechanic or a tyre shop?
Well, according to the Automobile Association (AA), generally, you should be able to drive around 80-100 kilometres with speeds of up to 80km/h. However, Holts Auto, famous for its Tyre Weld (temporary puncture repair liquid for emergencies) product, reckons that its liquid formula will allow you to drive for up to 160 kilometres with no mention of speed restrictions.
So now that we have cleared that up, let's move on the question of to do you need to replace your tyre after using a sealant to repair it?
As recommended by the AA, tyres that have been repaired with sealant will almost always need replacing, however small the puncture is. The reason for this is because the chemicals used may have affected the integrity of the tyres, so to be safe, the tyres should be replaced.
But this is not always the case, especially when you use a sealant like Holt's Tyreweld. Their sealant is made from a water-based foam, and can easily be wiped from the tyre using paper towels, so a mechanic can find and fix the puncture. This makes it different from other emergency tyre repair products, which can't be removed from the tyre which means you need to buy a new one.
Holts are not the only tyre repair kit manufacturer that uses a water-based foam, so if you want to reuse the tyre, it's best you get one that is water-based, or else, it's pretty much bye-bye to your old tyres and hello to some new ones. Just make sure you get one that is appropriate for your wheel size as they do come specifically depending on tyre size.