You could potentially, without knowing, be driving around with a slow puncture for weeks, even months. They’re common occurrences, but tend to be a bit more difficult to detect than your typical puncture, which you’d notice straight away.
The warning signs of a slow puncture
Whilst slow punctures are hard to notice and maybe you do not notice them at first, there are a few tell tale signs you can look out for if you believe you may have a slow puncture in one or more of your tyres.
Changes to vehicle handling. Should your suspension feel harder than normal or any changes have happened with the responsiveness of your car, you will require to take it to the technician in order for the puncture(s) to be fixed.
Continual loss of tyre pressure.
Vibration from the steering wheel. Unbalanced tyres with different pressures will cause vibrations from the steering wheel. This really is most noticeable when driving at high speeds.
What is a slow puncture ?
A slow puncture is an easily missable tiny hole in the tyre that causes air to escape slowly but very gradually. Unlike larger punctures that you are likely to notice immediately due to the tyre deflating much faster, it can take days, to weeks and even months to notice any deflation of your tyre, or enough to cause it to become obvious to yourself that a puncture has in fact occurred. The only slight indication you may see when looking at your tyres is a slight continuous hissing noise where the air is escaping. The reasons for a slow puncture are likely to be driving over something small such as a chunk of glass or a nail, or debris on the road’s surface. A more uncommon reason for a slow puncture could be a problem with the tyre valve. If the cap is not sealed tightly enough, or even the valve dust cap is missing, the tyre can very easily begin to lose air.
Tips on how to repair a slow puncture
Slow punctures are generally repaired simply and quickly in most cases, though this depends on exactly what is causing the problem. For instance if a nail or a sharp section of debris is embedded in the tyre, a specialist will easily be able to fit a rubber plug to fix the puncture. However, if your car is equipped with high performance tyres, it may be a more difficult job. This is because high performance tyres are designed to withstand higher stresses than ordinary tyres so they cannot have any vulnerabilities. A replacement tyre will be required if your high performance tyres sidewall or rim have already been damaged as this cannot be repaired. A quick, easy fix for a brief period of time until you can get your car to a repair centre would be to use a DIY repair kit. These however are not long term fixes, and it is always advised that you get professional assistance as quickly as possible. Please be aware, this isn’t possible for any tyres that have Run-flat technology, so these will need to be given to a quality mobile tyre fitting service once the puncture has been discovered.