Carefully respond to a punctured automobile tire - How to use emergency repair kit & How to replace a flat tire with a spare tire
According to the Japan Automobile Association (JAF)1, the most common reason for requesting roadside assistance in FY2017 was "flat battery", and the second common reason was "a tire problem (puncture, etc.)". When a tire is punctured, the punctured tire becomes underinflated, which may cause steering difficulty or may weaken the brake performance. When a tire loses air pressure drastically, the car may lose control, which is very dangerous.
There are roughly two ways of responding to a flat tire. One way is to do emergency repair by yourself so that you can drive your car. Another way is to use roadside assistance (e.g. JAF's road service). There are two kinds of self-repair: replacing a flat tire with a spare tire or repairing a flat tire with an emergency puncture repair kit (hereinafter called "emergency repair kit"). How to repair depends on equipment on a car. Recently, there are many cars equipped with an emergency repair kit instead of a spare tire.
In the five years starting from FY2013, PIO-NET2 received 40 inquiries related to emergency repair kits or spare tires (data registered through the end of November 2018). Some of the inquirers complained that although they repaired a flat tire with an emergency repair kit, the repaired tire became unusable. Others complained that they intended to replace a flat tire with a spare tire, but the repair tire was underinflated and unusable.
Then, NCAC decided to conduct a questionnaire survey about response to a flat tire among consumers and automobile manufacturers and to introduce how to respond to a flat tire to provide consumers with relevant information.
- 1 As a public-service organization with a membership of about 17 million, JAF provides auto users with services that enhance their safety and their sense of security, while promoting campaigns for road safety and smooth running of traffic. JAF's road service is constantly on stand-by to respond to emergency calls from auto users.
- 2 PIO-NET is a database that collects information on inquiries concerning consumer affairs by linking NCAC with local consumer affairs centers and similar organizations across Japan via an online.
Photo1 : Emergency repair kit attached to a car (example)
Photo2 : Assembled repair kit (example)
Questionnaire and test results
Consumer questionnaire results
- About three out of four respondents experienced a flat tire.
- Over half of respondents answered "I don't repair a flat tire by myself". More than 40% of them gave a reason "I don't know how to repair".
- More than 40% of respondents didn't know contents of emergency response equipment attached to a car.
- Of those who knew that an emergency repair kit was attached to a car, nearly 40% didn't know how to use the kit.
- More than 50% of respondents have replaced a damaged tire with a spare tire, while a little less than 10% of respondents have used an emergency repair kit.
- Of those who knew that an emergency repair kit was attached to a car, more than 70% did not know that sealant in the kit had an expiration date.
- Of those who knew that an emergency repair kit was attached to a car, more than 70% had not been explained how to use the emergency repair kit.
- More than 70% of respondents did not check emergency response equipment.
- More than 50% of respondents wanted to have "a spare tire" as emergency response equipment.
Business questionnaire results
- When limited to the cheapest grade cars, two out of eight manufacturers provided emergency repair kits only as emergency response equipment for all types of cars. When checking all grades of all types, eight out of eight manufacturers provided one or more types of cars coming with an emergency repair kit only as emergency response equipment.
- Four out of eight manufacturers encouraged sales companies to provide consumers with information on emergency response equipment.
- Six out of eight manufacturers encouraged sales companies to include emergency repair kits in the inspection and maintenance list.
Test results and comments related to emergency response
- After repairing a flat tire with an emergency repair kit, it was observed that sealant in the form of liquid adhered between the tire and the wheel.
- An emergency repair kit was not enough to repair a puncture developed from a large cut on the ground contacting surface.
- There are some other types of puncture which cannot be repaired with an emergency repair kit.
- A recommended position for mounting a spare tire to a car differs depending on drive system and conditions. Follow the instruction manual attached to your car.
- If a car is jacked up improperly, the car may be damaged, and in the worst case, the car may fall from the jack, which may lead to a serious accident.
- In order to prepare for emergency, put necessary items in your car like cotton work gloves, flashlight, wheel chock, halt indicator (warning triangle), etc. They help prevent accidents and injuries.
Advice for consumers
- An emergency repair kit attached to a car is used for temporary treatment, not for full repair. Once the kit is used, the repaired tire may need to be replaced with a new one. Get correct knowledge about your emergency repair kit. Use road assistance depending on circumstances.
- How to respond to a flat tire depends on equipment attached to a car. Check equipment attached to your car to prepare for emergency. If you are unsure about self-repair or your car is in a dangerous place, use roadside assistance.
- Before jacking up a car, move the car to the flat and solid ground for safety, and carefully read the instruction manual so that you can properly jack up the car.
Request to businesses
- Give consumers a lucid explanation on emergency response equipment.
- How to use an emergency repair kit, safety precautions, etc. should be widely known to consumers.