How To Spot A Slow Puncture & Fix It

A slow puncture in your car’s tyre can often go undetected for long periods because the loss in air pressure is gradual. However, to help you spot a puncture early on, below we discuss how they are caused, the telltale signs they provide and how to fix it.

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Considering that your tyres are the only contact your car has with the road, it’s important that you spot any issues early on and one of the most common issues is a slow puncture. Unlike a regular puncture that deflates quickly with a distinctive hissing sound, slow punctures in a tyre can be difficult to detect because the tyre gradually deflates.

To help you spot a slow puncture, we’ve created the below guide that walks you through everything you need to know.

How To Tell If You Have A Slow Puncture?

Whilst you are driving, there are many telltale signs that a slow puncture provides and these can include:

  • Pulling to one side on a flat road
  • Harsher ride than normal
  • Vibration from the steering wheel
  • Uneven tyre wear to the edges
  • The need to inflate the tyre more often
  • TPMS fault upon the dashboard

Is A Slow Puncture Safe To Drive On?

Depending upon how much air pressure leaves the tyre each day will determine whether it’s safe to drive on. For example, if the tyre is losing 10 to 20 PSI a day, this would need immediate repair. However, if the tyre is only losing a few PSI each day, it should be safe to drive to your nearest garage as long as you re-inflate it beforehand.

It’s important to note that although it may be safe to drive a few miles with a slow puncture, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can drive hundreds of miles. This is because it could begin to lose more air pressure without you even realising it.

If you are driving to a garage with a slow puncture, we would recommend that you drive on familiar roads that have plenty of space for you to pull over if required. We would also advise that you take a car tyre inflator with you just in case.

What Causes A Slow Puncture

Slow punctures are often caused by driving over sharp objects such as nails or other road debris. Even a pothole or kerb can cause a slow puncture because it can damage the sidewall of the tyre or the rim itself. Another cause of a slow puncture is a faulty tyre valve, which is caused when the cap doesn’t seal with the valve properly.

how to tell if you have a slow puncture

How To Fix A Slow Puncture

In order to fix a slow puncture, you’ll need to find out what’s causing it in the first place. For example, if it’s a screw or another type of debris embedded into the tyre, you may be able to fix it yourself with a puncture repair kit. However, if the damage is to the sidewall or within the outer quarter of the tread, you’ll need to replace the tyre altogether.

If you don’t want to fix a slow puncture yourself, the average cost of a puncture repair is between £20 to £45.

Alternatively, if you’ve hit a pothole or kerb and it’s damaged the alloy as well as the tyre, this can be an expensive repair. For example, the wheel may have cracked or the outer rim may have lost its shape, which can cause air pressure to leave the tyre. The majority of refurbishment companies should be able to fix the wheel but it may be more cost-effective to buy a second-hand wheel depending upon the cost of the alloy wheel refurbishment.

In terms of fixing a slow puncture caused by a faulty valve, you’ll need to visit a tyre repair garage. This is because they’ll need to take the tyre off and then reseal it to complete the repair.


Your car’s tyres are the only contact your car has with the road and regularly inspecting your tyres for any damage is highly advised. If you drive a modern vehicle, most will have a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which certainly helps detect a slow puncture. Therefore, whenever the TPMS alert illuminates your dash, we highly advise that you act sooner rather than later.

If you require further help regarding slow punctures, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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