Driving overseas, however, is a whole different ball game. While exploring vast places such as Australia or the United Kingdom, you might drive for hours and hours on end and not meet one single other vehicle. This brings about a new issue – when incidents occur, there won’t be any passers-by to help, and professional help might take hours to arrive, if at all!
Equipping yourself with basic skills to deal with situations such as a tyre puncture are essential for the avid roadtripper, in order to keep yourself mobile and safe. On that note, here are some tips on how to handle a tyre puncture yourself in a remote area!
Stop in a safe spot
Although it might seem like there’s no other vehicle in a 100 kilometre radius of you, it’s still good to take precautions when dealing with a tyre puncture. The moment you are made aware of the puncture – either by a change in handling characteristics or a prompt from the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) – keep a look out for a safe place to pull over.
Never stop on the road itself, and try to go as far off the road as possible to a flat and smooth surface. You should also place a hazard indicator such as a warning triangle behind your vehicle, to warn other drivers that you’re stopped. Placing a warning triangle approximately 45 metres behind your car will also let them know that you’re experiencing some form of trouble, and they might stop to help!
Use the spare wheel
Many new cars nowadays do not come with a spare tyre, instead opting for a compact tyre repair kit that comprises of a bottle of puncture sealant and a portable air compressor. However, if your rental car is one of the few new models that come equipped with a spare tyre, safely change the wheel using the correct procedure.
Before beginning the process, be sure to set the handbrake on and place it in park (for automatic transmission vehicles) or first gear (for manual transmission vehicles) to prevent the car from moving during the procedure. You can then proceed to loosen the lug nuts and raise the car with the jack, fully removing the lug nuts when the affected wheel is in the air.
After fitting the spare wheel, reverse the procedure by partially tightening the lug nuts while the wheel is in the air, and properly torquing them after the car is fully on the ground. Before moving off, do note the maximum allowed speed – typically 80km/h – of your spare tyre, which should be printed on a large label affixed to the front.
Contact a recovery service
In the worst-case scenario where you are not able to resolve the issue yourself, don't hesitate to contact a recovery service who will be able to properly and promptly get you and your rental car to a safe place.
When you collect your rental car at the rental agency, be sure to note down the number of the recovery hotline and other important telephone numbers. Do also clarify the recovery procedure and appropriate protocol when dealing with situations such as these.
Do also remain calm and level headed during these situations where you get stranded - in certain foreign countries, unscrupulous recovery trucks might attempt to render their 'assistance', by towing your vehicle to their workshop against your will, or by holding your vehicle in their possession until an exorbitant recovery fee is paid.
For more articles on how to handle an overseas road trip, head on over to our Tyre Clinic, the ultimate destination for tyre information, to learn more!