How to repair a tyre - in simple steps

How to repair a tyre - in simple steps
Stranded at the side of the road with a flat tyre and no spare wheel? Don’t panic it can most likely be repaired.

If you have a flat tyre we will help you get moving again as quickly as possible, with our simple instructions on how to repair a tyre.

If you aren't confident enough to try to repair the tyre yourself  and need assistance you can call the RAC on 0330 159 1111 whether you are a member or not.

You can also get immediate breakdown cover, which could work out cheaper if you aren't already a member.

It's important to note you should never try and change a tyre if your personal safety is at risk.

UK Breakdown Cover for £4.50*

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Safety advice

Find a safe place to park. It’s better to drive further and risk damaging the wheel rim than stop somewhere dangerous – such as on a narrow road.

Leave your hazard lights on when you park. Put on your reflective jacket if you have one, and position your warning triangle to alert oncoming drivers.


How to repair a flat tyre in five steps

Using a tyre repair kit is very straightforward. Here’s our five-step guide:

1. Prepare the car

Apply the handbrake and remove all passengers from the car. Take the can of sealant and compressor out of the boot.

2. Locate the puncture

Examine the tyre carefully to find the puncture, if you have a rip in the tyre sidewall, a hole over 4mm in the tread or the wheel itself is damaged your repair kit is unlikely to work and the tyre will need to be changed.

If you do have a spare, you can find out how to change your tyre here.

If you spot a nail or piece of glass in the tyre, leave it there; removing it may simply make the hole bigger.

3. Connect the repair kit

Most repair kits will require you to manually squeeze all of the sealant into the tyre, via its adapter. You may have to remove the tyre valve to do so, but instructions in either your repair kit or vehicle handbook will tell you how to do this.

Once all of the sealant is in the tyre, attach the compressor to the tyre valve. 

Then plug the compressor into the cigarette lighter or 12v socket inside your car.

You may have to roll the car forward slightly to ensure the sealant spreads through the entire tyre.

Some sealent kits, however, will have an additional adapter, allowing you to fit the bottle of sealant into the compressor, so you can pump the sealant into the tyre with the help of the compressor.

4. Pump up the tyre

Check the car is in neutral, then start the engine and switch on the compressor.

Inflate the tyre to the correct PSI/Bar recommended in your vehicle handbook.

5. Replace the tyre

Once the tyre is inflated to the recommended pressure, drive to the nearest garage or tyre fitters.

Do not exceed the maximum speed detailed in the car’s handbook (and usually also on the repair kit itself).

How long will a repaired tyre last?

A repair like this is only a temporary measure and you should replace the damaged tyre – and the can of sealant in the repair kit – as soon as possible.

Driving on a repaired tyre for longer than necessary could put you in danger, and in trouble with the police.

READ MORE: 30 ways to save money on your motoring

According to a recent Which? survey, more than half of new cars come with a tyre repair kit rather than a spare wheel.

The reasons for this include weight, fuel consumption, space and cost, but the upshot is that you’re less likely to get back on the road after a blowout.

That’s because repair kits – which use foam sealant to temporarily plug a hole – aren’t suitable for all types of punctures.

If you have a rip in the tyre sidewall, a hole over 4mm in the tread or the wheel itself is damaged, the kit is unlikely to work.

My car doesn’t have a spare tyre or puncture repair kit

Repair a tyre

If you don’t have either of the above, help is at hand. Find a safe place to stop, then call the RAC  on 0330 159 1111.

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