It’s a lovely Saturday night with clouds thundering rain down to earth; there’s a strong wind blowing with lightning streaking across the sky to give you those beautiful flashes of nature in its ethereal beauty. You decide the time is perfect for a long drive on the roads. Just you and your thoughts punctuated by the music you like. You’re on the drive thoroughly enjoying yourself and that’s when it happens; the dreaded tyre puncture! To make matters worse, you don't have a spare…
How often do we face this situation where a perfect or important moment turns into a disastrous decision due to a simple flat tyre? And now with the monsoon season upon us, we at CarDekho have decided we're going to make sure you do not face this situation. Here is some information on tyre sealants and how they work along with their pros and cons.
A sealant is basically a liquid compound that is used in places like small holes or spaces to prevent entry of matter particles. Most tyre sealants use the force of gravity combined with adhesive qualities and air pressure to prevent the escape of air from the tyre. Tyre sealants usually fall under two categories.
Pre-emptive tyre sealants, as the name suggests are sealants that you can inject into your tyres before an actual puncture. Pre-emptive sealants cover the inside of your tyres and in case of a puncture the sealant will cover up the damaged area and decrease the rate of air flow so you can go ahead and get it repaired without the hassle of running to a repair centre immediately.
Using this form of sealants is a great way to ensure you are fully prepared in case you get a flat tyre and don't have a spare. However don't get into a rush to go out and buy one for your car. There are disadvantages to using these sealants as well. Following is a list of some of the disadvantages faced by riders who use pre-emptive sealants.
1. Void warranties : Tyres warranties will almost certainly becomes null and void if you introduce any foreign components or objects into you tyre. Therefore think carefully before opting for pre-emptive sealants as they are sure to negate your manufacture warranty. However there is a way to avoid this and that is by making sure your sealant is water soluble. This means that the sealant can be completely washed off and any residue removed by washing the insides of the tyre. You will find this information on the labels or instructions inside the product.
2. Imbalance : Certain kinds of pre-emptive sealants cause a weight imbalance within you tyre. Because most sealants are based on the property of solidification by heat or air, they may at times turn into hard lumps and degrade the balance of your wheel. This may cause your vehicle to vibrate during high speeds and even cause tyre damage in the long run.
3. Risk of corrosion : Certain sealants cause rust or corrosive damage to the rims due to their adhesive nature. This will eventually add to your cost and therefore negate the whole point of opting for sealants instead of a traditional tyre patch fix.
Post-emptive sealants are used after a tyre has been punctured or damaged. Most of the sealants in the market are this kind and have similar application methods to the pre-emptive sealants. If you detect a puncture in your tyre, you can introduce the sealant through the tyre valve and re-inflate your tyre. This can be done with tyre plug kits that have both the sealant and an air pressure can to help you refill your tyre after it has been punctured. However if you plan on buying one, remember to read the specifications very carefully and buy the ones that are compatible with your tyre size.
There are a few disadvantages to using this kind of sealant as well. They are as follow.
1. High pressure environment : Since most of the tyre plug kits come with cans that are pressurized and work by introducing this air-sealant mixture through the valve, there is a chance that it might be unstable and cause serious injury to people.
2. Size of Tyre : Tyre plug kits are fine if you have a regular or small passenger car tyre. The problem however occurs if you happen to have tyres that are custom or do not fall under any defined category or if you are unable to figure out which category of tyre you are using on your vehicle. If you happen to buy a kit and then find out it is not big enough for your use, it will be a waste and a disappointment.
3. High-performance tyres : High-Performance tyres are usually used on sports bikes or cars and are often incompatible with sealants due to their nature. This means that regular sealants are not designed to be used on tyres that fall under the category of high-performance tyres. This means that the sealant option is simply out of reach for certain vehicles.