I have a puncture, what should I do (and can I still drive my car)?

Getting a puncture is one of life’s biggest annoyances. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to avoid it — it’s just one of those things. 

Though knowing what to do when it happens sure makes it less stressful. And that’s why we’re here. By the end of this blog, you’ll know: 


  • What to do if you get a puncture
  • What a First Stop repair entails 
  • How to spot a puncture when you’re driving 
  • Whether you can drive with a puncture
  • And tips on how to change a tyre


So let’s get going… 

What to do when you get a puncture  

Before we look at how to spot a puncture, let’s discuss what to do if you have one — for anyone in a hurry. 


First, it’s always best to get a professional to assess and fix it. It doesn’t matter what type of puncture it is, whether it’s a slow burner or a blow out (more on that later) — leave it to a professional. 


Having a professional assess the tyre will tell you whether it’s repairable. While having a professional fix it will make sure the repair is safe. You see, the last thing you want is to be driving on an unsafe tyre.


With that in mind, we recommend you get your vehicle to your local First Stop/Fast Fit store for a puncture repair. Here, our team will: 


  • Remove the tyre from the rim and assess it to make sure it can be repaired. 
  • If repairable, we will seal the hole on the inside to maintain air pressure. 
  • Seal the tread area to prevent the ingress of moisture which would damage the structure of the tyre. 


Depending on where the puncture is, the tyre may not be repairable. If it’s not, we’ll recommend a new tyre for your vehicle. And if you’re happy with our recommendation, we’ll fit it for you too. 

How to spot a puncture while you’re driving? 

Noticing a puncture isn’t as obvious (or straightforward) as you may think. Slow punctures are the most difficult to identify. Because yep, you guessed it, they happen over time. Slow punctures result in a steady leak of air until the inevitable happens - and the tyre completely deflates. 


Because they happen slowly, they’re not easy to notice. Of course, that is unless your car has a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). While it’s easily done, it’s important not to dismiss this warning as it can be a sign of a slow puncture. Thus, if your warning light comes on more than usual, or more importantly, soon after you’ve put air in your tyres, get it checked out right away. 


If your vehicle doesn’t have TPMS, there are other signs to look out for. Such as, if your vehicle pulls to one side. Or, if it’s more difficult to steer/manoeuvre. Both are signs that you have a slow puncture, so now is a good time to get a professional to assess it. 


Of course, there’s also a blowout. But, you’d be hard-pressed not to notice this—and there isn’t much you can do to avoid it. If you experience a blowout, it’s important that you: 


  • Keep a firm grip on the wheel 
  • Do not slam on the brakes
  • Let you car slow gradually 
  • Pull to the side of the road (once you have slowed down) 
  • Activate your hazards 


After a blowout, only exit your vehicle if you are certain it’s safe and that you’re out of harm’s way. Before you call for recovery, make sure you put out your reflective cones/triangle. 


Can I still drive my car? 

Short answer, no. If you suspect a slow puncture, you should head to a garage right away. Not only is it dangerous to drive with a puncture, but it can cause lasting damage to the wheel. (Not what you want if you’ve got nice alloys, let me tell you.) 


What’s more, it can make the puncture worse. More often than not, slow punctures are repairable. But — and it’s a big but — if you don’t get it fixed right away you’ll worsen the tyre’s integrity, taking it beyond repair. If that wasn’t bad enough, it can also cause a blowout. 


Having said that, driving to a garage to get it fixed is acceptable. But, travelling further than needed with a known fault is dangerous and reckless. And, can result in a fine and points on your license. 

Changing a tyre (if it’s safe to do so

There may be some instances where you need to change a tyre. In theory, it’s simple, but it can be tricky — especially if it’s your first time. Which is why it’s wise to leave it to a professional if you’re unsure. Or, if you get a flat tyre in a dangerous place, like on the motorway or a bend. 


If you plan on changing a tyre yourself, here’s a simple step-by-step guide from the AA. There are a few vital points we’d like to echo, though. 


First, make sure you’re in a safe place and all passengers are well away from the vehicle. Likewise, the carriageway if you’re changing a tyre on the roadside. 


Every vehicle has jacking points — make sure you use these to jack up your car. Attaching a jack in the wrong place can cause damage and increases the risk of collapse. 


As well as a reflective hazard warning triangle, some companies suggest wearing a high-vis jacket too. And make sure that you locate the spare wheel, jack, wheel brace and locking nut key before you start. 


We’re here to help… 


So, that’s everything you need to know if you get a puncture. One thing to remember is that if you’re unsure, it’s always best to have a professional assess your tyre. 


For a service you can rely on, head to your local First Stop store. We’ll get you back on the road safely and in no time!