The TPMS warning light tells you when one or more vehicle tyres become 25% under-inflated. This can lead to poor handling, the risk of water-planing, reduced braking performance, uneven tyre wear and shortened tyre life.
Should this be caused by a puncture, this can be frightening, especially if it then manifests itself as a blowout – on a motorway journey perhaps?
So here are some practical tyre safety tips to help you detect, hopefully prevent and at worst cope should a tyre puncture happen.
1 Be alert
If you check your car tyres regularly and look out for evidence of a deflating tyre, chances are you’ll spot a slow puncture before it becomes critical to your car’s drive-ability.
2 Be aware
Never ignore the warning signs of a puncture. Make sure you know what to do if you get one. Many drivers only realise that their car doesn’t have a spare wheel when they go to look for it.
Increasingly manufacturers are saving wheel weight in favour of fuel economy and simply supplying cars with an emergency tyre puncture repair canister.
If you want a spare wheel, you should specify this when you buy a brand new car.
3 Be prepared
Make sure your mobile phone is topped up and that you have emergency breakdown cover and know how to contact it.
A patrolman will quickly change a wheel (assuming you have one and the tyre on it is legal), apply an emergency tyre puncture repair or arrange transportation to a garage.
An emergency puncture repair canister is a temporary* tyre fix for the tread area of an ordinary car tyre. It won’t be suitable to repair a tyre with sidewall damage nor will it fix one that’s come off its rim or where any puncture or rip is more than 5mm.
Where you can, identify and remove the puncture cause (nail/screw etc) and move the car so the puncture is at the bottom ie road-side of the tyre. You don’t need a car jack and it’s a quick fix.
Just screw the canister connector into the tyre valve, twist the canister to ON and when it’s empty twist it back to OFF and unscrew from the tyre valve. Drive the first six miles at a maximum of 50mph to seal the puncture, check your tyre pressures and go to a tyre centre to get your puncture repair checked.
NB: Tell whoever repairs your tyre afterwards the name of the tyre puncture product name you used. If you used Tyreweld and they’re not familiar with it, explain to them that it’s a water-based repair product which can be easily and quickly washed out/removed, so the tyre is still fixable. Otherwise, a new tyre may be necessary.
4 Know your TPMS symbol
Increasingly new cars have a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) as our main image illustrates. This will alert you to more than 25% loss of tyre pressure.
Know what the dashboard symbol is and NEVER ignore this warning.
The sooner you get this sorted the more likely you are to save your tyre, save money and be safer on the road.
5 Understand the runflat rules
If your car has runflat tyres your TPMS will tell you when one is deflating. You then have 50 miles at 50mph to get to a tyre centre to get it checked.
The good news about runflats is that you are unlikely to face a motorway blow out.
The bad news is that these tyres are more expensive than ordinary ones but we think you’re worth it.
Once again – the sooner you respond to a TPMS warning, the more likely you’ll save the tyre.
6 Know your tyre choices
If your car has a TPMS but uses ordinary tyres, not run flats, there is a new and award-winning tyre made by Bridgestone, called DriveGuard, with the same characteristics.
That means your dashboard will alert you to a tyre pressure problem and you’ll have 50 miles at 50 mph to get to a tyre centre to fix your DriveGuard.
These tyres seem to cost about 10% more than ‘normal’ tyres but, if you’ve ever had a blow out or dread this happening to you, we think they’re worth it because of the peace of mind they give.
You can find out more about tyre safety matters.
Here’s where to find a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly Tyre Centre.