Guest blog by Pedr Francis from This Is Our Australia
Carrying out puncture repairs in the bush is an easy task if you have the right tools and equipment to do the job. One of the must-haves for travelling outside city areas to rural or outback Australia is a tyre repair kit.
These kits enable you to block up a hole in a tyre that has been punctured by a stick or sharp object. They are however, not the answer to a tyre that is badly damaged or severely torn in the sidewall, they are purely a temporary fix to plug a small hole. Nor are they a final or long-term repair, they are merely designed to get you to the nearest tyre repair centre.
There are numerous brands of tyre repair kits, which you can purchase from any 4x4 accessory store, and overall are a small price to pay to get you out of trouble in outback. They are relatively simple to use and include step-by-step instructions in the kit. It’s a good idea to grab a second hand tyre at home, drill a hole in it and have a practice at using your tyre repair kit so that you are confident to carry out a repair, if and when you need to.
Another thing that you will need to take with you to complete your tyre repair is a good quality 12v compressor that will run off your car battery. You need to be careful that the compressor you buy is going to have the ability to inflate a large 4WD tyre to high pressure, as some of the cheaper compressors are not made for this purpose. We would recommend speaking to a specialist at a 4x4 accessory store to ensure you have the right compressor for the job.
Also another thing you will need is a good quality tyre pressure gauge. Again, you get what you pay for, in that some cheap versions are just not accurate enough and are made for small car tyres, rather than 4WD’s. This is also something you would benefit purchasing from a 4x4 accessory store.
Now the main thing to avoid getting a puncture in your tyre is ensuring that your tyres are in date and are fit for their purpose. Any tyre over 5 years old is classed as an unroadworthy tyre due to the rubber starting to fatigue and break down. So make sure your tyres are in date and refer to your tyre specialist if you have any problems finding this out.
If you are planning a trip where you will be travelling on sharp rocky dirt roads or will be towing or carrying a heavy load, you will need a tyre that is of light truck (LT) construction. These tyres are much stronger in their build than a conventional passenger car tyre and will be more puncture resistant and less likely to fail under heavy loads.
By equipping your 4WD with a well-constructed, light truck tyre you are giving yourself the best chance of avoiding punctures off-road. Cooper tyres are designed with specific features in order to achieve the ultimate performance. The more aggressive S/TMAXX and STT PRO tyres both feature Cooper’s proven Armor-Tek3 angle ply technology which gives you safer, more stable handling by adding a third ply. Armor-Tek3 carcass construction in the tread and sidewall provides 50% more protection against impact damage and 2.5 times more tear resistance than standard traditional radials, 2 or 3 ply.
The final thing that is critical on rough roads to help prevent sharp objects puncturing your tyres, is tyre pressure. This subject is difficult to give general advice on as different manufacturers give different advice for varying loads, terrains and conditions. We recommend that you contact your tyre specialist and request a tyre pressure guide for your particular set of tyres.
An example of what I would run in my LandCruiser 200 Series that is fully loaded and towing a caravan would be 36PSI in my rear tyres, 34PSI in my front tyres, and 36PSI in my caravan tyres. These are all cold tyre pressures before driving, as when the tyre gets hot they inflate themselves 4-6PSI.
When I travel on rough sharp rocky dirt roads in the outback, I let my front tyres down to 26PSI, my rear tyres to 30PSI and my caravan tyres down to 28PSI. This is what I have found works best for me.
On the sand, in the mud and in off-road situations where I require maximum traction, I will reduce all tyre pressures on the car and caravan down to 16-18PSI and keep my speed down under 60km/hour and take cornering very slowly.
As noted above, you will need a good quality tyre pressure gauge and air compressor. My favourite tyre pressure gauge is ARB’s combined tyre pressure and deflator gauge. This gauge can quickly read your tyre pressures and easily deflate them. My air compressor is also an ARB compressor that I am very happy with.
I hope that you have enjoyed our tips on tyres in the outback and we have attached a video clip demonstrating how to repair your tyre with a tyre repair kit for your watching.
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