Emergency tyre repair

When I owned my cobras I never carried a spare tyre mainly because of the space in the boot but also having two different sized tyres meant keeping one spare a problem. Now I appreciate I could probably fit a space saver style wheel in the boot but then you’re stuck with the conundrum of what to do with the full size wheel you take off? So to counteract that I started to carry a can of tyre weld “gunk” and a tyre repair kit containing those rubber strips and insertion tools. The one I had was only a cheap job off eBay and consisted of a small neat zipped pouch to keep everything in, a set of instructions, a boring tool to make the hole the correct size, a strip insertion tool, 15 tyre insertion strips, some rubber cement, a tyre pressure gauge and finally, a cut off blade. Now I never got to use the kit as I was lucky and never got a puncture whilst out in the cobra but I keep the same kit in the Mercedes as that also doesn’t have a spare wheel. Now I recently got a slow leak in my daily driver car and after taking off the wheel I noticed a screw in the tyre and thought that now would be a good time to test the effectiveness of the tyre repair kit I had, so what follows is my review and instructions of what I did: –

The first thing I did after removing the wheel and marking the area was to remove the offending screw and clean the tyre area. I then used the boring tool to clean and slightly enlarge the hole in preparation for the rubber strip.  I fitted the strip into the insertion tool and liberally applied rubber cement to the strip, then pushed the strip into the hole in the tyre. This is where my problems began as no matter how hard I pushed the strip and tool wouldn’t go into the hole. I tried with the boring tool again to make sure everything was clean and ok but I still had problems getting the strip into place, it didn’t help that the handle on the insertion tool was too small and hurt my hand trying to push it in. I got hold of an old microfiber cloth, folded it up and used that to cushion the handle while I again tried to get the strip into place. Eventually the strip went in but not before I bent the insertion tool! Once the strip was in I then needed to pull the insertion tool straight out which left the rubber strip still in place. After cutting the spare strip flush with the tyre I inflated the tyre to the recommended pressure and checked for leaks, refitted the wheel and went for a quick drive along the local bypass to see what happened. Basically nothing happened and I got home with the TPMS system on my car saying the pressure hadn’t changed. I left it a full day and went for another drive and again, the pressure stayed stable.

So, in conclusion, yes, the tyre strips work although they are messy and I recommend that you go for a slightly more beefier set-up than what I had. It might also be a bit trickier doing it on a tyre at the side of the road if you had no way of getting the wheel off but I do think it can be done and would be a good way to get mobile again if only to get you to somewhere where you could effect a better repair or new tyre. To be safe I have already bought new tyres for my daily, this was just a test to see how easy/difficult the job was

Tony Merrick, Webmaster

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