Fixing a Flat

How to use an emergency tyre puncture repair kit.

You know it’s bound to happen at some point. We all go driving through the bush and in the back of our minds we know that one day we’ll get a puncture! That’s fine, in most cases we can just fit the spare and continue on our way, but what are the other options? And what if we fit the spare and we get a puncture on that tyre as well?

We have a general rule in the mechanical industry, and that is, ‘don’t talk about problems, because the day you do is the day they will happen.’ To this day I haven’t had a puncture offroad, but now that I am talking about it, it’s bound to happen.
My BFGs have been awesome, so if you’re anything like me, you carry a puncture repair kit in the back of the truck, without really knowing how it works.
A good kit will come with a number of tools. There will be a reamer, an insertion tool that comes with adjustable inserts on the handle for bigger and smaller punctures, allen keys, a small knife, repair cords, and some kind of lubricant. I find the kits that have metal handles seem to work better, as sometimes you have to push the reamer really hard to get through  the tyre.
First off, you will need to find the cause of the puncture and remove it, it could be a screw or a bit of wood from a sharp stick you have just driven over. Next, you’ll need to use the reamer, which is the tool with the spiral shaft. You can apply a bit of light lubricant on to the spiral shaft, to help insert it through the tyre. Once you have the reamer through the hole, you’ll need to twist the handle to make the hole in the tyre even bigger, this will allow the correct sizing for the repair cord.
After you’ve reamed the hole in the tyre, you’ll need the insertion tool. This is the other handle tool that is in the kit. Take one of the repair cords and feed it through the eye of the needle part of the tool, then pull it through to the middle of the repair cord. At this stage do not trim the cord.
When you have inserted the cord 2/3 of the way through, place you fingers on the cord to hold it in place and remove the insertion tool. The tool should open up and leave the cord in the tyre with the extra 1/3 still protruding from the tyre. The extra bit of the cord can now be trimmed with the supplied knife, and then you can inflate the tyre and check to make sure it has sealed.
Repairing a puncture in this way should always be considered as a temporary fix. Correct puncture repair will usually require the tyre being removed completely and for the plug to be fitted from the inside. Repairing the sidewall of a tyre can also be done with these kits, but the sidewalls will build up heat and will flex, especially in offroad conditions when we lower our tyre pressures. In most cases, sidewall repairs are also considered unroadworthy.
These kits are a great idea and will keep you on the road in remote places. If you don’t carry one of these kits in your parts box already, I strongly suggest you grab one when you can, as they might just get you out of a tricky situation. And if you do carry one of these kits then you will probably never need to use it!
As I am writing this article I am preparing to go the High Country for the weekend, so if I do get a puncture you are all to blame!

Above, in numerical order:
1. The first step in fixing a puncture is to find the cause of the puncture and remove it.
2. Time to start using your repair kit.
3. Use the reamer tool to enlarge the
puncture hole.
4. Now it’s time to select an appropriately sized repair cord to fit the puncture.
5. Thread the repair cord through the nose of the insertion tool.
6. Using the insertion tool, push the repair cord approximately two thirds of the way into
the puncture.
7. Holding the repair cord with your hand, remove the insertion tool from the puncture.
8. Trim away the tag end of the repair cord.

 

Qualified motor mechanic Adam Adler has spent half his life under the bonnet of a 4WD and has worked for some of the top accessory companies and workshops. He knows what it takes to get your vehicle out there and back home in one piece. He runs the online aftermarket store www.nutsabout4wd.com.au.


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