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For the second time in the past 12 months, I recently had to repair or replace a punctured tire.

Last January, we picked up a nail in the shoulder of the tire, between the sidewall and tread. The local garage said the tire needed to be replaced, which we did. A few weeks ago, I again noticed a slow leak one of our tires. Turns out it was another nail, this one repairable because the nail was in the tread.

I can recall at least three other instances in the past dozen years or so where a tire on one of our vehicles either developed a slow leak or went flat. I need to know: Is that weird?

Please email me at rcarrick@globeandmail to let me know how often you’ve had problems with tire punctures. Do I just have bad luck, or is there more garbage being left on the roads? Nails, sharp pieces of metal and so forth.

Meantime, some thoughts on preserving your tires so you get the most value possible out of them and minimize potentially hefty replacement costs. To make sure the tires on our car are in good shape, I do a walk-around every so often and use a tire-pressure gauge to check the pressure monthly. The goal is to catch leaks or punctures before they turn into a flat tire that leaves us stranded somewhere, or force us to change a tire in freezing weather. By the way, being able to tap your debit card to pay for air at a service station is such an improvement over having to put a loonie or toonie into the air machine.

In every car I’ve owned, and there have been many, the recommended pressure for the tires could be found by opening the driver’s side door and looking for a sticker or metal plate on the door frame. Tire pressure will vary according to weather – a drop in temperature will mean a lower pressure, while hot weather has the opposite effect.

Newer vehicles have sensors that pick up changes in tire pressure, which is handy but not sufficient. I’ve noticed tires on our vehicles down in pressure, with no reaction from the tire pressure sensor. Amazon has bunches of tire pressure gauges for sale, with prices ranging from $7 to $30 or so. Buying one is a lot cheaper than replacing a tire.


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