DEALING WITH A 4X4 PUNCTURE YOURSELF
Picture the scene. You’ve spent the morning taking on fjords, niggly tree roots and rocky outcrops without any issue. Your 4×4 has handled everything the terrain has thrown at you with relative ease. Now you are back on relatively safe ground, a dusty track, heading back to civilisation when your dash lights up with tyre pressure warning light and you hear the familiar clunking sound of a quickly deflating tyre.
There aren’t any professionals around, you’re still out in the sticks. It looks like you are going to have to handle this one yourself. So where do you start?
EVALUATING THE PUNCTURE
Once you’ve got your expletives muttered and any shouting or throwing of objects are done, it’s time to assess the damage. Make sure you are on flat ground before you start carrying out your assessments and performing checks.
If there is damage to the sidewall, it probably won’t be able to be repaired. You are going to need to swap the tyre or simply go for the spare. However, if the damage is limited to the tread and it less than a quarter of an inch in length, you will be able to plug it and carry out a repair.
If the cause of the puncture isn’t immediately obvious, you should probably take the tyre off to get a good look. Turn the lug nuts about a quarter of an inch anticlockwise to break the seal, then jack your vehicle up from the jack point specified in the owner’s manual (you might need to put something solid under the jack if the ground is too soft). Once the vehicle is off the ground, you can fully loosen the lug nuts and remove the tyre by pulling it towards you.
REPAIRING THE PUNCTURE
If the tyre needs replacing because the damage is too great, you can simply pop the new one on, make sure it is balanced and tighten the lug nuts.
If you are going to repair the tyre, you will need a repair kit with the right tools for the job. This includes the repair cord, sealant, lubricant, and both reamer and rasp tools. Once you have removed any stones or nails from the puncture, use the reamer tool to expand the puncture enough to insert the repair cord.
Once the hole is large enough, flatten your area of repair cord and coat it with adhesive. You can use the rasp tool to insert the cord. When the adhesive is dry and your plug has been secured in place, snip off any extra pieces of repair cord so it is flush with the rest of the tyre, and re-inflate the tyre to the required pressure. If you have any soapy water, you can check for any air leaks.
GET THE VEHICLE TO A TYRE SHOP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
This is a temporary fix and should not be seen as a long-term solution. So, once you are satisfied that your handy work is done and the tyre is holding air, carefully drive the vehicle straight to a garage or tyre shop to find a lasting solution.
Even if you used the spare, you should still go straight to a tyre shop or mechanic to purchase another tyre. When you replace the tyre, you will likely have to replace both on the axle to make sure they match. Ideally, all the tyres on the vehicle will match, but it will be a costly endeavour to replace them all at once. At a minimum, the two tyres on the same axle should be a pair.
Armed with the know-how of dealing with a 4×4 puncture yourself, you will never be at a loss for what to do in the event of a puncture miles away from civilisation. Stay calm, carry out your checks and deal with it accordingly. No bother.
Have you had to deal with a 4×4 puncture yourself? What did you do? Is there anything you can recommend to add to this article?