It’s as simple as that – overland journeys come with flat tires. Here’s a bit about the magic of repairing a double puncture in a truck sized tire.
Truck tire puncture
It takes quite a bit to run a flat tire with a truck. The robust Michelin XZY-2 tires can take quite beating. Normal sizes nails and pins don’t even reach the inside of the truck tire. Though this time it did – and a double strike too – very unusual!
|Truck tire punctures, a double strike - it looks like 2 simple nails - but far from that.
At first glance it seemed the pins where there for quite some time. The diameter looked bigger than the average nail. The right one cause the hissing that made us stop. The 7,5 bar (kPa) / 108 PSI pressure made it hiss hard. Even though it took over nearly 20 mins before the tire started to sag.
Truck tire puncture kit
Trucks have air compressors so a roadside repair is possible. Specially for punctures there’s are tire puncture repair kits. A good puncture repair can restore the original weight / speed rating of the tire. Though for trucks usually the weight rating is more critical, while for passenger cars the speed and weight rating counts.
|Truck tire puncture repair kit - Förch, made in Germany - note the beak of the puncture tool
The kit comes with a repair tool with beak (see picture), rubber glue, repair plugs and stuff to clean the puncture.
The repair plugs are inserted into the beak of the puncture repair tool and pushed into the puncture hole. When the puncture tool is pulled back the tire plug stays leaving the beak of the tool.
Tire repair preparations.
This repair is done with the wheel still on the axle. A jack is put in place to prevent the tire to get flattened by the rim making it hard to inflate.
Because this was a slow leak the truck was driven to a level working area besides the road. First thing was to check if everything was there to inflate a tire and test it on the leaking tire. Without it’s futile to start a roadside puncture repair. Better to get the spare tire immediately and move on.
Also check if the rubber glue is still ok and at least 2 tire plugs are there for repairs.
Removing the truck tire punctures
It looked like heavy work to remove the metal rods and it was. Without Vice-grip pliers it was near impossible to remove the metal.
|Truck tire puncture rod gripped with grip-vice pliers - an important tool for truck tires
It took about 15 minutes only to get grip on the rods with the Vice-grip pliers. From there it was easier respecting the angle of insertion. It’s a good thing to make a picture here to remember the angle of the puncture.
This puncture was caused by two 5mm / .10 inch metal rods just long enough to reach the inside of the tire.
|Truck tire puncture rod
Where did it come from? Best guess is galvanized metal rods from a shopping cart basket. How did that get there!
Tire puncture repair magic procedures
The tire puncture tool is part of the magic. It allows a tire plug to be clipped on and driven down the puncture hole. It looks like a heavy job, but the glue makes all the difference. The rubber glue lubricates the puncture hole making it quite easy to insert the puncture tool.
|Truck tire puncture tool inside puncture
The trick is to shove the rubber plug deep enough it reaches the inside of the tire. Pulling the tool back creates a mushroom shaped cap over the inside liner. The rest of the plug seals the puncture hole.
Punctures upto 6 mm in diameter can be repaired with a puncture repair kit like this. For bigger holes the strength of the repair reduces – causing a lower speed and weight rating.
Inserting the puncture repair plug
With the rubber plug clipped to the puncture repair tool the repair from here is a 1 minute procedure if done the right way. The puncture hole is lubricated with rubber glue using the puncture repair tool.
|Truck tire puncture tool inside puncture with plug
Most important is to align the beak of the puncture repair tool parallel in the direction of the radial wiring in the tire.
Truck tire Puncture repair problems
In case a radial metal wire inside the tire gets into the beak of the puncture repair tool, the rubber plug can’t be inserted in full.
When this happens the rubber plug can be removed with a drill. A rechargeable electric drill can clear the puncture hole quickly. To have another go
Most important is to align the beak of the puncture repair tool parallel in the direction of the radial wiring in the tire. If that happens it’s difficult to get the plug out.
|Truck tire puncture probably shopping cart rods - 6 cm / 2.36 Inch in length
Have a look at wide base truck tires and second hand tire dealers.