So How Do I Fix A Flat Tire?
If you've ever needed to fix a flat tire, you know how inconvenient it can be, but don't worry; it happens to the best of us. Knowing how to fix a flat tire can mean the difference between getting back on your way quickly and having to wait for a flat tire service. Flat tire repair can be expensive and time consuming. If you've ever had the pleasure of waiting for AAA or your car insurance company to provide you with roadside assistance, you know how long the wait can be, which can further aggravate things. Flats always seem to come at the worst possible opportunities. It can also be very expensive to fix a flat radial tire if you get it done in a service shop. If your vehicle needs towing service due to its location, the fix can get very expensive, very quickly. You can fix your tubeless radial tire in a matter of minutes, even on the side of the road! You can do it by yourself using just a few basic tools that you probably already have, or can access very easily.
If you don't already have one, you might want to consider carrying a Radial Tire Repair kit in your car, so that you are prepared in the event of an unexpected flat.
It is extremely important to note that you can only fix a punctured radial if the puncture is on the tread surface and not on the wall of the tire. If your puncture is on the tire wall, you will need to get a new tire at your local automobile service center.
To fix your flat tire you will need:
- Air compressor (you can get this at a gas station; some vehicles have built in air compressors)
- Radial tire repair kit ( plugs, rasp, glue, threading tool)
- Lug nut wrench
First, you will need to jack up your car to remove the flat that needs to be fixed. Always remember to engage your parking brake and block the diagonally opposite tire for safety before you begin to work on your vehicle.
Next, remove the tire by taking off the lug nuts with the lug nut wrench. Once you have the tire off, you will be able to search for and locate the puncture. Often, the puncture is caused by a nail or screw that you have ran over without realizing it. This might sound funny, but do not remove the foreign object until you are completely ready to repair your tire. If you do, it will be very difficult to locate the puncture afterward.
When you are ready, pull the object out with your pair of metal pliers. Remember to dispose of the object properly so that you or another motorist do not run over it again. Poke the rasp into the puncture several times in an in-and-out motion, almost as if you are filing the hole. This process cleans the puncture site as well as scoffs the area to help promote a better grip for your plug. If the plug cannot stick to the tire correctly, the tire will go flat again very quickly, causing you additional inconvenience.
The trickiest part of this whole process is threading the plug into the threading tool. The threading tool is basically a giant sewing needle, except that the very end of the tool is separated. I have found it easiest to pry the end of the threading tool open just enough to squeeze the plug into the rasp. The plugs are basically strips of sticky tar that you cram into the hole to seal the leak. These tire plugs are always available in tire repair kits. Each plug is about 3 inches long and you only need one plug per fix. The plug is threaded into the threading tool to the half way mark so that half of the plug is sticking out each side of the threading tool. Put glue on the plug so that there is glue all the way around the plug. The glue will also help lubricate the plug, making it easier to insert it into the hole in your tire.
Using a bit of extra strength that you may not realize you have, insert the threading tool into the puncture. This movement will naturally fold the plug in half as it goes through the tire, making it difficult to cram the plug into the small hole. Insert the plug until you can see about half an inch of each side of the plug sticking out of the tire.
Give the glue about 5 minutes to set before continuing on to the next step. If you do it too soon, the glue will not hold properly. Allowing proper curing time is essential when repairing a flat tire with a flat tire repair kit. With a quick and firm motion, rip the threading tool out of the tire. This swift movement will leave the plug in place because of the split end of the threading tool.
Using your knife, cut the plug flush with the tread of your tire so that it's not sticking out of your tire. Then, put your tire back on your vehicle making sure to tighten your lug nuts in a star pattern. Re-tighten your lug nuts one more time before lowering your vehicle off the jack. Remove any tire blocks that you used during the initial car stabilization process.
Using your air compressor, add air to your tire to the recommended tire pressure. If needed, you can walk or get a ride to the nearest gas station to use their air for your tire. You are now done and your tire has been saved. You just saved money on new tires for your car by not needing to buy any. Keeping this auto tire repair kit in your car can mean the difference between an expensive towing bill and getting back on the road in no time. I also recommend having a battery powered air compressor to keep in your car as well so that you can fix your flat tires anytime anywhere! Portable air compressors are a small investment that can save you from a lifetime of headaches. If you haven't already, you may want to consider buying a portable air compressor. Happy Motoring!