It was a calm monsoon morning when we were driving up to Panchgani, on the Bombay-Bangalore Highway (NH4). Now, the NH4 is my favorite highways to drive on. I have not driven on many highways but this one is pretty neat, well tarred and tyre noise on it is quite low.
At the start of every long drive, I get the tyre pressure checked at the petrol pump near my place. That day however, its air pump was not working. I decided to move on, thinking I would get it checked somewhere on the highway. We drove on and soon were on the highway. A few kilometers on, I suddenly remembered that tyres need to be checked and we stopped as soon as we saw a local puncture repair shop with a few tyres hanging outside a shady shack. I asked him to fill 36psi in all four tyres. After he is done, he turns up to me and informs me that the front left tyre is punctured. Now my car has tubeless tyre,and I sincerely do not know how punctured tubeless tyres behave. So I asked him what made him say so, and he replied saying that the pressure after filling air was 0. And he showed it to me. I was suspicious as I could not see the tyre flat.
Next, obviously, I told him to repair it. Though I was suspicious, I did not want to take risk on a highway. He suddenly asked me if I had a jack. I told him that I did not have one as it would have required me to remove all the luggage in the rain. He said that he did not have a jack, but will manage somehow. Suddenly one of his men came and started unbolting the wheel quickly. I stopped him and said that I would not go ahead with the repair if he did not have a jack. My suspicion only grew stronger and asked him to abort. Clearly, he was pissed. He put back the wheel and I drove off, wondering how I will drive on with a punctured tyre.
A few hundred metres ahead, I saw a petrol pump and decided to get the tyre checked. The guy there checked all the tyres and surprisingly all of them had low pressure (about 25 psi)! I was shocked. He filled up air in all four and was convinced that the tyres were fine. The front wheel had 25psi when the previous guy showed me 0psi using his mechanical device. I drove on, still wondering if my tyre was really alright. Reached Mahabaleshwar and had a wonderful drive in zero visibility and infinite rains. On the way back to Pune, we stopped at a Petrol Pump in Wai to get the tyres checked again. After 100km+ of driving with 300kg+ of load in the car, the pressure would surely have gone down if the tyre was punctured. Surprisingly, it was still the same and maybe even a couple of psi more! I relaxed!
Had an awesome trip, some anxious moments and definite lessons learnt!
1. Always check and fill your tyres at a petrol pump, preferably your everyday/trusted petrol pump.
2. Never stop at a local puncture shop, unless your tyre is absolutely flat and you do not have tubeless tyres.
3. Follow the above two rules religiously!
And btw, pics coming up soon. Not too many but certainly worth a dekko!