Tyre punctures can be rather inconvenient to drivers, even if not dangerous if it happens as a blowout at highway speeds. Most other times, tyre punctures have not been a huge problem for me. But in the most recent incident, I was lucky and thankful to have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System alert me to the problem.
I installed a TPMS last year. It’s a nice fancy gadget. It helps me continually monitor my tyres for proper inflation, without requiring me to check them manually. Of course, one of its use cases is also to alert about leaks and dangerous temperatures. All my previous incidences of tyre punctures were either slow leaks that needn’t require immediate attention, or were discovered before driving off.
The most recent incident last week was different. The TPMS alerted while I was driving. It took me a few moments to figure out what the beeping was about since it’s the first time the TPMS has sounded an alert. The TPMS was indicating the pressure on one of the tyres was falling, and it seemed to be falling quite fast.
At that time, driving still felt very normal. I drove slowly to the nearest car park, anxiously watching the TPMS display. By the time I reached the car park, I could start to feel that something was amiss. I parked the car properly, got out, and confirmed the tyre was pretty much flat then.
It’s a very good thing that the TPMS sounded the alert very early. To be honest, I couldn’t tell that there was anything wrong with any tyres at that time. I was going to drive onto the expressway in less than 500 metres, and at the rate I eventually found out the tyre was deflating, I would surely be stuck on the expressway with the completely flat tyre. It was fortunate that the TPMS alert got me to immediately think of rerouting to the nearest car park instead of getting into the expressway.
Some new cars, like mine at least, don’t come with a spare tyre. Instead, an air pump and sealant kit is provided. I could choose to DIY with the sealant, but it’s not clear if the sealant compound would mess up the TPMS pressure gauge.
Ultimately, I decided to call AA and let them tow the car to a tyre shop. Officially, AA will only help to change tyres, or tow to a tyre shop. They won’t repair tyres. In my previous encounters, the mechanic will usually offer to do the repair for a fee. AA sent me a tow truck because I had no spare tyre, and the tow truck driver could similarly provide the repair service on his own. Unfortunately, the puncture in my case was far too serious. It appeared that some shard of material had gashed the tyre. It had to be replaced. It was just as well that I had the tow truck since, even if I had a spare tyre, I would have to visit a tyre shop anyway.
The TPMS is a worthwhile gadget to get. I didn’t get stuck on an expressway thanks to it.