Puncture Kits VS Spare Tyres. Which is better
Car makers have become more and more conscious about weight, space, and fuel consumption.
Once, every car had to have a spare tyre, a full size one. Then to save space, thin steel wheels became commonplace. The latest fad is a kit that inserts a liquid inside the tyre which then allows you to pump it up to normal pressures.
Are There Limits?
Yes, only a full size spare tyre functions normally.
Puncture kits operate to 80kph provided the repair has been successful. Regardless of the size of the repair, your tyre might need replacing altogether.
Space Saver tyres are also limited to 80kph. Although it matches the outer dimensions of your other tyres, its width is considerably less. A tyre would not normally be different to others on your car, and it will affect handling and safety. You should drive slowly, and with extra care.
Do they work?
Space savers work just like any other tyre. You must always make sure they are at the recommended pressure to function correctly. Most people only look at their spares when they have a flat. You should check it whenever you check your other tyres. Those few minutes might save you hours later.
Repair kits have many limitations. They can’t be used if:
- the tyre has been driven for any long distance while flat
- if the sidewall is damaged in any way
- if the puncture is more than 4-6mm (following manufacturer’s recommendations)
- if the rim is damaged
- if the tyre has been deflated for a long period.
In other words, almost anytime you need to use the kit.
In the Real World.
Like most people, I have been lucky, mostly.
A full sized spare has never let me down. The same goes for a space saver. Repair kits have been another pot altogether.
Despite watching demonstrations, videos, and reading the instructions, I’ve never been able to get one to work.
Brands that use puncture repair kits in some models:
You shouldn’t drive long distance on anything but a full size tyre.
Repair kits come with stickers. Usually one for the wheel, and another for the steering wheel. They remind you not to exceed 80kph.
Once used, you must go straight to a place where the tyre and be fixed or replaced. It is an emergency measure only.
A full sized spare, despite weight and economy, is my preference.
Then a space saver, and finally, a mobility kit.