Don’t Stop When Someone Points Out a Puncture in Your Car!

Don't Stop When Someone Points Out a Puncture in Your Car

Here is everything you need to know about Pune Puncture Scam

There have been a lot of instances in Pune recently that indicate that there is a widespread practice by garage owners there of scamming vehicle owners with tire punctures. They will intentionally puncture your tires and will charge you for repairing them.

One such incident happened with Ashok Dewangan. On Jul 08, 2015 he was travelling to Sinhgad with his family in his car. As he was exiting the expressway near Wakhad Bridge 2 bikers overtook him and signaled that he had a flat tire. At first he didn’t pay any attention to them. But after a while he thought he should get it checked. He stopped at a tire repair shed (puncture wala) to check the air pressure.  He says that he was beside the puncture wala while he checked 3 tires but had to go check on his daughter because she was calling him. He thinks this is when the guy did his deed. When he got back to the puncture wala he was told that the tire had just 5 points of pressure and needs to be checked for puncture.  He let him get the tire off. He called another guy to check for punctures. Then he started chatting with Ashok about random car maintenance. After a while he was called to check the punctures on the tire.  After agreeing to repair the puncture for Rs 120 per puncture he started repairing it. After that he checked for more punctures and found and repaired one by one, 21 punctures including 4 on the sidewall (which is very unlikely to occur under normal driving conditions). His valve was also found to be faulty. On asking for why a single tire would have so many punctures he said that he should not drive on low pressure. Now he had to pay for every puncture. As he didn’t know the exact number of punctures in the beginning he couldn’t have seen it coming and opted for something else. It cost him Rs. 1500 after negotiations. Original cost would have been Rs. 2650. He could’ve gotten a second hand tire for a few hundred bucks more.

How to save yourself from Puncture Scam?

This has been happening to a lot of people and not just in Pune but in all major cities. So how do  you avoid being scammed by these goons?

1. Do not believe any stranger on the road. Keep driving or check for yourself. Tubeless tires can last a fairly long distance even with punctures. You can just refill the air at reputed petrol pumps and keep driving till you get to someone you can trust.

2. Keep your eye on the puncture wala. Do not get distracted for even a second. Scamsters will make every effort to get you distracted and use that time to damage your tires.

3. If you have a spare wheel then switch to it and get the flat tire checked by someone you trust.

4. Check the pressure that they use to fill in the tire before checking for punctures. Never let them fill more than 40psi (even this is high). For ideal pressures check you vehicles manual. But a general air pressure would be somewhere around 35psi.

Do not fall for these predators. Always be cautious when you’re driving. And unless it’s an emergency, only let experts you trust handle your vehicle.

[Photo Courtesy: Ashok Dewangan]

Bhavin Patel
Bhavin likes to write, be it prose or rap. Studies philosophy and economics in his spare time and listens to rap music all day, religiously. An introvert with dreams of becoming the best rapper alive, he knows he has a long way to go and is willing to take on the journey.


  1. Pune tyre scam
    19th August 2015
    It was 6.00 pm and was heading towards Mumbai through Mumbai-Pune bypass road with my family. The expressway was about to start in 8 kms or so. Suddenly a biker took over from left side waiving us, telling that something wrong going on with our car. My wife pulled down the window, so that we can hear him. He said that the left side front tyre has gone flat and also added that you need to get it amended at the puncture shop which is just ahead. I had heard about this type of scams going on in pune, but travelling with my family and a long way to go ahead, I didn’t want to take the risk. My 1st mistake, I believed a stranger.
    I pulled aside my car at the puncture shop pointed out by the stranger (My second mistake). There were two guys at the shop (eagerly waiting for their victim). I asked them to check the air pressure in all the tires. One of them came forward and began checking from the rear tyre with his pressure gauge. He pointed out that the pressure in left side front tyre is showing too low and even questioned me that how did I manage to drive at such low pressure. He filled some air and rechecked the pressure with the gauge. Then he started showing me that there is no pressure, sticking the pressure gauge all the way in and saying… ‘The tyre cannot withhold pressure and there’s a puncture ‘. Left with no option, asked him to remove the tyre and get the puncture repaired. He removed the tyre, immersed it in water and lol, there comes bubble from the air inlet valve. He says that the valve has been damaged and needs replacement. This was the first time I smelt something fishy and asked him to do nothing, but replace it with the spare tyre (stepney) which I had it in my car’s boot. But he insisted on getting the valve replaced giving reasons that this will solve the issue, why take risk of carrying puncture tyre in boot and blah blah. I fell for it and asked him to replace the valve (Rs.300/-)(My 3rd biggest mistake). He replaced the valve in hardly 2 minutes.
    Then he filled air in the tyre and started checking for additional punctures by applying soap solution (later I came to know by reading other blogs that it may not be soap solution). Bubbles appeared at a spot on sidewall and he repaired it immediately without even waiting for my confirmation. Repairing was a crude method of piercing the tyre with pointed object and inserting the glue stick. Then he found 2nd and repaired, then 3rd..4th….5th….6th..7th….till 12th. What the hell? I asked him “How come so many punctures?” He replied saying that I drove on less air pressure, which caused so much punctures. Also he said that I am driving on too old tyres which need to be replaced. Now I was damn sure that I was being deceived since I had replaced all the four tyres 5 days ago. To add to that he said that I need to apply two rubber patches for Rs.600/-, since the puncture were too big (falsely created by him by inserting pointed object during repairing).
    Now I am done and strongly opposed for any further repairs. I asked him to replace the tyre with the spare tyre (stepney). After seeing that I am not further falling prey, he did as I instructed him. He billed me an amount of Rs.1800/- and after much bargain I paid him Rs.1300/- and left. The idiot had totally damaged my new tyre for some bucks.
    After returning to Mumbai, went to the tyre dealer from whom I had bought new tyres. He inspected it and said that there was nothing wrong with the tyre and I had been deceived. But it was too late. The tubeless tyre had been totally damaged with 12 piercings and I had to buy a new one for an additional cost. The dealer explained me about the modus operandi run by the fraudsters and how they target vehicles with families.

    Lessons learnt:
    1. Get air checked from petrol pumps or for tyre check-up visit an authorized shop that sells tyres.

    2. Never fill-up the air at unknown place. Even if you do so, make sure that you are out of your car immediately and check personally while the boy fills up the air.

    3. Even if you encounter any puncture suggest changing the extra tyre (stepney) and getting the puncture repaired from a reputed tyre shop.

    4. The location may not always be pune, but can be anywhere around you. So act wisely before you take any further steps.

    5. In such cases try calling your colleague or dealer from where you bought your tyres for additional expert advice. Also try to use internet search engine to find any such happenings in that location.

    6. If possible, carry a portable air pressure pump during a long journey.

    7. Last but not the least; never believe strangers unless it’s a dying situation.

    The above article is to spread awareness amongst you all, so that you do not fall prey to such type of modus operandi in future. It is because of us people, who don’t feel disturbed while shelling out a few bucks and always act carelessly, these people get motivation to do more wrong doings
    Sachin Mane