Flat Tyres on the Motorway
Flat Tyres on the Motorway
Si, in the past years then I have written many times about how to change your punctured wheel. Although not all punctures occur on the motorway system. Importantly, this is what I am going to write about ! British motorways as we all know are always extremely busy. So, as many of my readers know then I delivery some of our battery sales to all over the UK. Hence, from Devon to Aberdeen we cover all of the UK when delivering very large truck batteries or even leisure batteries.
Many times I will set of at 4.30 , depending where I am going to. So, for a short while in mid-summer then it will be light at this time. Consequently, and a pleasure to drive, with wonderful sunrises that only the early risers would see. However the particular morning that caused me to write this article was dark, raining and windy. In fact a terrible morning to be driving on the motorways !
Two miles on and a loud bang !
So, this particular day then I was heading for the Bristol area with about ten deliveries of different batteries. My usual motorway entry junction is the Barnsley entry/exit just south of the “Woolley Edge” service area on the M1 motorway. As I have said it was a stinking morning with a gale blowing and raining heavily ! No problem I thought it can only get better , However I could not have been more wrong ! So, about two miles on I remember running over something in the dark . Consequently, this was followed by a kind of juddering sound .
This was to be my first puncture at any time in my life ! Probably, one of the reasons for this is because as the owner of a Tyre Centre then I have always had new tyres on any of mt vehicles. Thus protecting me against any imminent tyre problem. My van started to drift about ! So at first I thought it could be the strong winds that were blowing. Even at that time of the morning then the M1 motorway is very busy with trucks and other vehicles alike.
Realizing that I had a flat tyre then I pulled over onto the hard shoulder of the motorway. The wind was howling ! Rain pouring down and I was totally miffed to say the least. Adrenaline was beginning to kick in ! Frightened at the prospect of changing the wheel with trucks whizzing by only four foot away. So, the first thing that came to my mind was “where is the spare wheel” and jack and “wheel brace”. Disappointingly, then I did not practice what I had been preaching for all these years.
Finally found all the tools and spare wheel
Scrambling about in the dark, then I shifted the batteries and finally found the wheel brace and tool kit. Jacking points were no problem and luckily I managed to lower the spare wheel without any problems. So, this is where my 40 years experience came in. As the trucks were hurtling by I manged the job pretty quickly. My only snag was that I had put the spare back into the carrier the wrong way round.
So, it was sort of dangling about a bit. However I was able to limp along to the next services and fit the spare correctly and in safety. As daylight approached then I began to think about my bad experience. Proudly I had applied myself and did the wheel change safely and speedily. So I was back on my way down the M1 just an hour later.
However my experience had made me think what could have been ! Including what if the driver had been a lady driver ! Or even an elderly driver. So much in fact that I have now completely changed my stance. Specially over changing a wheel on the motorway or any other busy road. My new advice from now on would be that drivers should join one of the breakdown services. Recently, I have noticed that the breakdown services have been changing their customers wheels. Admittedly, I did snigger a little ! Of course but not now !
Having ! experienced this with all the elements against me ! So I do now know that many people would not have been able to cope with this bad experience. Also if you are capable physically of changing your own wheel, So, you should check out all the tools that you will require.
Also there are now different spare wheel systems.
- Many vehicles still carry a standard type of spare wheel. Just the same as the ones that will be on the vehicle. This was the case in the van that I was driving on that torturous rainy night.
- Vehicles will also have a spare wheel. However it will be “temporary spare” wheel. The wheel is the same overall diameter as your vehicles tyres. However it will be much thinner and usually a steel wheel. Most vehicles have alloy wheel and this spare will look much thinner that the ones on the vehicle. Subsequently, these wheels do do the job and enable you to carry on with your journey. Importantly, though there is a limit of driving at 50 mph for a distance of 70 Miles with one of these spares fitted.
- Many cars are fitted with run-flat tyres. At first I did not agree with these tyres ! Primarily because they were more expensive to replace than a standard tubeless tyre. However I have changed my mind ? Because of the tyres safety aspects. So if I had runflats fitted to my then then I would have been able to limp on. Albeit, at 50 mph. So the cars fitted with the run-flat system will not have a spare wheel, but the system will get most drivers out of trouble.
- In my opinion this is the worst system ! car makers lower the weight of their vehicles by not fitting a spare wheel at all. The spare is replaced by a can of repair sealant. This sealant only works if the tyre has a small nail or screw impaled. So, anything larger such as a small cut or large hole can not be sealed. So, leaving you no better off and still stuck at the side of the road. The “no spare system” was to lower the cars overall weight to cut back on the cars emissions ! In my opinion then membership f one of the breakdown services is a must. Incidentally, when this repair sealant is used then the tyre has to be replaced as the cant be repaired.
I hope that this article informs drivers enough to check and see what spare wheel system is used on their car. Importantly, because of the high volume of traffic on our roads then we should perhaps join one of the breakdown companies. Ensuring that you wheel will be changed in safety whatever your cars spare wheel system.