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TYRE OR TIRE!

By T.K. Malhotra

NEW DELHI: Smooth drive is a pleasure but what to do if the worst happens, specially when you are on a vacation with your family making to some hill station or a country resort. You may be quite confident steering a newly purchased car of international make with remote apprehensions of a break-down, but remember you may face a hassle due to tyre puncture.


Fortunately tyre technology has advanced to a stage where “blowouts” are a rare occurrence. It has been seen that in most cases of puncture, there is still sufficient air left in the tyre to enable the driver to make it to a service station nearby or move the car to the safe place on road side to replace the tyre.

Nevertheless you should bear in mind that excessive tread wear or carcass damage may cause a blowout suddenly when ruptured. If it so happens, exercise the following care:

When the tyre blows resist the urge to slam on the brakes.

Try to keep the car moving straight and keep a firm hand on the steering wheel.

Bump the brake pedal gently to slow down.

.Immediately look for an emergency lane (if on highway) or to a convenient place to stop. Switch on your hazard lights simultaneously.

.Take all necessary precautions to safeguard against on-coming traffic when moving out of the car.

Next to do will be either or replace your tyre yourself or look for a car breakdown service to help you. Mostly you should be ready to change the wheel yourself to save time. It is of course necessary for your to know as to what steps be taken in a situation when you’ve got a flat.


Step A: Ensure to keep the spare tyre properly inflated. (Of course as my personal habit, I keep inflating the spare to its recommended pressure once a week). Ensure that the handbrake is applied, and chock one of the grounded wheels (a brick, a block of wood or a boulder would be just fine) in the direction of the downward slope, to prevent the vehicle rolling backwards.

Step B: Uncover the wheel nuts by removing designer wheel plate, fitted, if any, to your vehicle.

Step C: Loosen the nuts no more than a quarter turn. This is usually a hard job, as the nuts are often found very tight. Your wheel brace may have one of those, which could be extended to provide leverage by sliding a long tube over a handle.

Step D: Look for the recommended jacking point and fit the jack into it. It is always wise to check the owner’s manual if you are not sure where it is. Until the wheel is well clear off the ground, keep raising the car. No matter how safe it may look, do not sneak underneath the car.

Step E: Unscrew and remove all the wheel nuts. (You may use hubcap to contain them to avoid losing even one). Now pull off the wheel and fit in the spare.

Step G: Lower the jack until the tyre just touches the ground and fully tighten the wheel nuts.

Step H: Lower the jack completely and remove it. Refit hubcap or other fittings to the wheel. Ensure to make up the flat tyre at the nearest available puncture shop.

Many accidents are reported usually to have occurred while drivers are performing repairs on the road. Even emergency lanes, if any, on highways do no offer total safety from oncoming traffic.

When getting out of your vehicle, take extra caution to traffic approaching from the rear. Place a hazard warning at least a few cars away from your vehicle. Make repairs only on the side of the car away from the road. It is also important to choose the right tyre.

The advertisements appearing in media may allure you on a hundred different factors to consider: traction, tread wear, profile, (distance between the wheel rim and the tread), load carrying capacity - the list is endless.

It is said that the ideal tyre should provide nibble and accurate steering. The construction must also be rigid enough to withstand damage and yet be able to absorb road shocks. It should also provide maximum adhesion to acceleration, a braking and cornering, in wet or dry conditions. It should also not overheat or lose pressure under extreme driving conditions and it must be able to last 1,00,000 km or more.

This all appear to be a tall order. However, we have to compromise with what best we can have. Therefore to choose the best tyre, the bottom line should be select one that best suits our needs.