For several years now, the classic wheel has been replaced by repair kits , we see merits, defects and methods of use of this innovative solution.
Many brands now prefer the repair kit
An increasing number of car manufacturers are equipping their vehicles with a repair and inflation kit in place of the small wheel to be stored in the space below the trunk of the car. Since this object for many still retains several dark sides, let’s see how it works and when it can help you to reach your destination without too many inconveniences.
The object in question is very often presented as a bag that contains mainly three things: a 12-volt mini-compressor, a spray can containing a foamy substance that expands upon contact with air and the related instruction manual. Don’t worry, no one has stolen anything, that’s enough to solve (most of the time) the tire damage and be able to start again; However, it should be noted that as soon as possible (in the following hours or the following day) it will still be necessary to have the tire dealer intervene to definitively repair the damaged wheel or replace it completely. After using the kit, the experts recommend waiting about 15 minutes before setting off again, not to exceed 60 km / h while driving and not to travel more than 100km.
Let’s get to the point: how to proceed
Here it is: it is the unfortunate moment that every driver fears, the one in which you realize you have a flat wheel, it has arrived: there is a punctured tire. You stop in the best possible safety conditions, wearing the reflective vest if necessary, affixing the warning triangle if the vehicle is even partially inside the carriageway, and preparing to intervene by looking for the infamous kit in the trunk of the vehicle. If there was no manual that we were talking about above to explain it, it is useful to know that the 12 volt compressor does not have its own battery, to work it must be connected to the car’s cigarette lighter socket, which therefore most likely will have to be turned on during the operation.
Before turning on the compressor, however, we must connect the spray can to the valve of the tire to be repaired, using the small cannula that is supplied. Once this is done, we turn on the compressor and check that the pressure reaches the correct value foreseen for the tire; once the operation is finished, to allow the foam that has penetrated into the wheel to firmly bond with the surface of the rubber in the area where it is damaged, we have to wait a while before starting again otherwise we risk completely nullifying what has been done so far.
A clarification for use: if on the punctured tire you see the screw, the nail or in any case the object presumably responsible for the puncture, you MUST NOT absolutely remove it. In fact, if it were removed, it would certainly create an even greater opening on the tread that the expansion foam of the canister would most likely not be able to heal.
That’s all. Easy, you think.
However, things do not always go the right way.
There are cases and cases… there are holes and holes
This solution, chosen with a view to lightening the vehicle, while saving on car costs and optimizing space on board, immediately left many motorists perplexed, especially because in the event of a “major” puncture, or damage to the shoulder of the tire, it is really ineffective.
When the wheel is damaged “from the pavement” for example, a hole is not created as in the case of a nail or a screw that penetrates the tread, the tire in this case opens forming a real cut, most of the times on the “shoulder” (the side where the brand and size are written). With such damage, there is no kit that will hold: the wheel must be thrown away and replaced. And if you notice any bubbles, or bulges on the shoulder, have the tire checked immediately by a workshop: there is a real danger that at high speeds it could suddenly explode.
In short, there is the kit, but it is not exactly the same thing
If the repair with the kit should not be successful, it is appropriate to say that we are faced with a great problem: the only tool we had, the one that had to save us by allowing us to restart after a short time without even struggling by unscrewing bolts and placing the jack under the car, it cannot be of any help, on the contrary, it has only made us waste time. This explains why many have seen this “revolution” negatively.
Of course, for their part, the manufacturers have been able to “sell” the thing well: they have saved costs, optimized space, lightened the vehicle, in short, illustrated all the benefits and simplicity of a minimally invasive and affordable intervention. of people with little manual skills, well aware that at the end of the day, all the negative aspects would have been absorbed exclusively by the “final consumer” of the car, not by those who made or sold it.
Another negative aspect of the solution, to be taken into consideration, is that the kit is naturally disposable, of the “one cartridge to shoot” series: if the repair is not successful, it is like having opened the boot and not have found nothing: unless someone comes to our aid, you will have to call roadside assistance by phone and wait for the tow truck.
The most bitter enemies of the new system also complain about a lack of simplicity of use, consisting in the difficulty of getting the compressor + canister system to work properly, with frequent occasions in which the repair is not successful and you literally remain on foot .
In case there are still doubts on the subject, there is nothing better than to feel the experience of those who have lived and experienced both situations, facing them both with the wheel and with the repair kit.
For those who use the car in the city, where the distance from home is short and where in case of need you have the possibility of being able to count on someone to reach us for help, it may be sufficient to keep only the repair kit in the car: for most of the eventualities, alone will be enough to get us out of trouble.
However, if you have to face a long journey, with hundreds of kilometers to travel away from our home, the spare wheel offers us greater guarantees of being able to solve the problem and start again immediately, being able to cover the entire route that is missing to the destination. postponing the repair of the original tire even for several days; for these reasons, the good old wheel is probably still the most reliable solution.