If you are heading to holiday destinations during the Easter holidays in April, potholes will be inevitable due to the higher-than-normal rainfall, making it almost impossible to see until you drive into it. Often these potholes can be even worse than those in more developed areas.
The ‘holes in the road’ has the potential to cause severe damage to a vehicle’s wheels and suspension that can prove costly to repair. It becomes almost invisible to the naked eye when filled with rain water.
If you are driving through long stretches between petrol stations and towns, you need to be prepared for the consequences of hitting a pothole for long enough to get you to the next town. The most important part of this is ensuring you have a spare tyre in good condition. Check that it’s properly inflated.
While you should visit a tyre replacement centre as soon as possible, ideally, the spare should be good enough to not just take you to the next town but to your destination and home again.
Pothole damage can vary from minor to major and it is extremely important to know what your spare options are. Here are some of them:
Run flats – Run flats have reinforced sidewalls that allow driving for a limited amount of time with no air pressure. Ideally, you can drive no further 80km to the nearest repair centres. Keep in mind that run flats cannot be repaired and need to be replaced once damaged.
Donut or ‘Marie Biscuit’ spare – These are designed to help you get to a place where you can repair the damage but they too require certain adjustments to driving to ensure safety. Donut spares are not meant to be driven faster than 80km/h because there is less tread and they have to spin faster. Additionally, you cannot normally drive more than 100km on this tyre so your focus should be to get to the next tyre centre as quickly as possible. Also be aware it affects other systems in your car such as handling, braking and cornering.
Tyre sealants – The damage can’t be bigger than 4mm in diameter and will not work if the rim is damaged. Some sealants may require driving short distances for the sealant to work properly and an additional stop to check if it worked. Several tyre sealers restrict speed and distance travelled and require more caution cornering and braking.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.