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]