Torque Shop

I did my first drive to Malaysia in my fairly new car recently and I had a flat tyre. Fortunately, I was able to pull in to a rest stop. But I was surprised to discover that there was no spare tyre. Instead there was something called a tyre repair kit. I was at a loss because I had no idea how to use the kit. Is this normal and unique to my car?

First and foremost, when you embark on a long-distance drive, you must give your vehicle a thorough check, including all the tyres (the spare too).

These days, many cars do not come with a spare tyre. To reduce weight and for convenience, a tyre repair kit is now a common flat-tyre fix, so you must know how to use it.

The repair kit comes with a puncture sealant and a tyre pump. What you need to do in the event of a puncture is clearly described in the owner's manual and, in most cases, on the repair kit itself.

The operation is fairly simple. First, you inject the pressurised can of sealant into the punctured tyre. You may then need to move the car a little to rotate the tyre so that the sealant is distributed evenly.

Wait a few minutes for the puncture to be sealed. Instructions on the can will state how many minutes. Then, plug in the compressor to the cigarette lighter socket, connect the pressure tube of the pump to the tyre valve and start the compressor. The pump has a gauge so you will know when the pressure is right.

The repair is not meant to be permanent. You should have the damaged tyre changed at the next town.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2017, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe