ASK NRMA: Should I repair or replace my tyre?

If you’ve even driven or been a passenger in a vehicle you’ve probably experienced a flat tyre at some stage.  


SPIN OUT: Damage occurring on a tyres sidewall or shoulder should not be repaired

This is one of many breakdowns NRMA Patrols assist with each day.

A flat tyre is usually caused by a puncture to the tyre’s casing from a sharp object such as a nail, screw or road surface. Depending on the tyre classification, a tyre repair may fall under one of two categories – either a minor or major repair.

A minor repair consists of damage to the tyre’s tread to a maximum size of 6 – 10mm. Usually these types of repairs take around 30 minutes and can be completed at your local NRMA car service centre or tyre supplier.

Gone are the days of simply plugging a punctured tyre. This type of repair is unreliable as it fails to take into account the tyre’s internal condition, which if not checked may cost you more in the long run.

The correct repair process includes removing and inspecting the tyre from the rim to visually determine extent of the damage. If a repair is suitable, the tyre is patched from the inside to ensure the tyre casing bonds create an air-tight seal. The puncture itself is also filled to prevent moisture or foreign objects from entering into the steel belts.

A tyre’s sidewall is considered a structural component and any damage will weaken the sidewall structure. Repairs to this area of the tyre are dangerous; a tyre with sidewall damage should be replaced, not repaired. This rule also applies for tyres with non-serviceable or illegal tread depths.

Unlike conventional tyres, run-flats cannot be repaired after a puncture. So you’re still up for the cost of a whole new replacement tyre.

When was the last time you had a flat tyre? Did you need a repair or replacement?

If you do need tyres or a new spare, NRMA Members can receive discounts at Beaurepaires and Tyreright.

Think twice this long weekend


Image courtesy of NSW Police Force Facebook

We remind motorists that double demerits apply from 30 September to 3 October 2016 inclusive. Please drive safely and take extra care on the roads. 

Also, on 4 January 2016 the standard penalty for mobile phone offences rose to four demerit points. Since the end of last year, mobile phone offences have been included in double demerit periods. This means those caught talking or texting illegally while driving during this long weekend will incur eight demerit points – a huge amount when the threshold on unrestricted licences is 13 points.

The double demerit point scheme now applies for the following types of offences:

  • Speeding
  • Illegal use of mobile phones
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Riding without a helmet

The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Working in conjunction with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.

Double demerit periods were introduced in 1997 in NSW. By law, double demerit periods must be advertised and awareness campaigns are co-ordinated with traditional enforcement and increased police numbers. See the RMS Demerits points page for a full rundown of offences and penalties.

Do you think the Double Demerits scheme is an effective way of preventing dangerous driving?

Baby on Board – where did it all start?

The idea behind baby on board signs were not created by a parent at all. It was Michael Lerner, a former real estate investor from Massachusetts, USA.

baby on board

PHENOMENON: Baby on Board signs are displayed on family cars worldwide.

It all started in 1984, when Michael had driven his 18 month old nephew home for the first time. He did not account for the notoriously busy traffic with motorists tailgating and cutting him off throughout the trip. “For the first time, I felt like a parent feels when they have a kid in the car,” he said.

It was around the same time that he was introduced to sisters Patricia and Helen Bradley. The sisters had seen a version of a safety sign for car windows in Europe and had limited success with marketing the idea back in the United States.

Michael saw a business opportunity in safety signs for car windows and struck up a licensing deal for the rights to the product from the sisters. He founded the company Safety 1st and using his contacts in the retail industry, he started pitching to big department stores.

The first “Baby on Board” sign was produced in 1984 and sold 10,000 signs within the first month. The demand ramped up and within nine months, the company were selling 500,000 signs a month.

According to Safety 1st the idea behind the “Baby on Board” sign was to “encourage drivers to use caution when approaching cars with younger passengers”. Millions of parents have purchased the sign over the years worldwide, with various copies and imitations created, but the original signs are still produced today.

Do you take notice when you see a baby on board sign? As a parent, do you think this has made your trip safer? 

Weekend Traffic Warning – Flooding, Footy, School Holidays

An image from NSW SES Facebook page, showing flooding in the Lachlan Region.

An image from NSW SES Facebook page, showing flooding in the Lachlan Region.

With heavy flooding throughout central NSW, footy finals in Sydney and the start of school holidays across the state, plan your driving this weekend to avoid getting stuck.

School Holiday Driving

Motorists heading out of Sydney or to Sydney Airport for the school holidays, which start today, should allow plenty of travel time and plan ahead using Live Traffic NSW with heavy traffic expected on all major roads out of the city.

Roads approaching the airport are expected to be busy until Monday 10 October, especially between 6:30am and 9:30am as well as between 6pm and 9.30pm on weekdays.

Anyone heading to the Airport can also catch a T2 Airport Line train instead of driving.

Delays can be expected to the north of Sydney on the M1 Pacific Motorway and on the Pacific Highway in Hexham, between Port Macquarie and Kundabung, and through Macksville, Coffs Harbour and Woodburn.

Delays can also be expected to the south of Sydney on the Princes Highway through Albion Park, Berry, Nowra, Milton/Ulladulla and Batemans Bay.

Heavy traffic can also be expected on the Kings Highway between Nelligen and Batemans Bay and around Braidwood, as well as on the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains.


Flooding continues to impact a number of roads across the state’s central west. We remind motorists never to drive through flood waters and to use these tips if driving in heavy rain. Information below from

• The Newell Highway remains closed between Forbes and West Wyalong and is expected to remain closed for some time. Motorists should avoid non-essential travel in this area. The diversions add more than three hours travel time. Motorists who need to travel are being diverted via Parkes, Eugowra, Canowindra, Cowra, Young and Temora. This diversion is not suitable for B-Doubles which are being diverted through Manildra, Canowindra and the Olympic and Mid Western Highways.
• A section of the Newell Highway also remains closed two kilometres south of Gillenbah, with a diversion via Reas Lane and the Sturt Highway.
• Burley Griffin Way remains closed between Ardlethan and Barellan. The diversion for most vehicles is via Grong Grong and Narrandera, using Barellan Road and the Newell Highway. B-Triples and road trains need to use the Newell Highway, the Sturt Highway and Kidman Way.
• The Escort Way remains closed between Forbes and Eugowra.
• Lachlan Valley Way remains closed between Forbes and Cowra, as well as south of Cowra to Morongla Road.

Many other roads are affected by flooding, so motorists should be prepared for sudden changes in conditions, and follow the directions of emergency services and traffic controllers. For the latest information on local council roads, check with councils via their websites.

Footy finals in Sydney

Tickets to both games cover some public transport.

NRL: Sharks take on the Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, so traffic will be very heavy, especially during PM peak hour. Shuttle buses will run to Moore Park from Central, but the best way to get to the game is to walk from Central.

AFL: The Giants host the Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night. Tickets cover your travel on trains, so leave the car at home.

Keep up to date with traffic news across the state at Live Traffic NSW or call 132 701. Use it to plan your route, particularly if you need to travel through flood affected areas.

If you need any advice from the NRMA call our Motoring Advice team, on 13 11 22 from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm.

10 tips to keep the kids safe while driving these school holidays


HELP: Bored children in cars could become an annoying distraction for drivers

Parents need to remember: reducing the risk of distraction means reducing the risk of a crash that could result in a devastating end to the holidays

Almost 40 per cent (36%) of crashes caused by distractions occurred as a result of distractions from within the vehicle. As many as one in 10 fatalities in NSW have been attributed to driver distraction.

Kids aren’t used to road trips as part of their normal routine so they’re more likely to become bored, agitated or fight with their siblings.

Road trip recommendations from the NRMA include:

  1. Load up fully-charged smart devices with family-friendly movies (in case of poor internet service) and make sure each child has their own headset so the only tunes the driver hears are the ones they choose to play through the radio
  2. Refreshments are also important for a stress-free journey. Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water.
  3. If packing toys, try to make sure they’re not sharp (crayons or pencils) as these can become dangerous in the event of having to stop the car suddenly.
  4. Play games to take the monotony out of the trip, these can include getting children to follow their route along a map, count windmills or even count NRMA Patrol Cars!
  5. Sleep is the only effective guard against tiredness: so don’t cut your sleep short to reach a destination sooner.
  6. Drive to the conditions of roads, not to the speed limit.
  7. Make sure you stop in a safe place every two hours and get out of the car; plan a beach stopover for the kids if driving on the coast.
  8. Pack plastic bags and baby wipes for unexpected spills or accidents.
  9. Pack a ball to encourage the whole family to actively enjoy rest stops.
  10. Make sure your child restraints are fitted properly and if you’re not sure, have them professionally fitted or inspected. Premium Care Members can get a free child restraint installation from the NRMA.

Sticking to these tips as well as applying a good amount of common sense can help make a family holiday a safe one.

What tips do you have to share?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.