Whether you hear the dreaded hissing, or if you just notice that one side of your car is lower than the other, seeing that deflated tire is well, deflating.
It’s something that you know will cost you time and money – two commodities that most of us are vastly short of. Unfortunately, no matter who you are, flat tires happen – and they rarely happen to people on just the one occasion.
As such, this is an issue you have to contend with. We have noted the following two methods if disaster does strike and you are in desperate need of fixing your flat tire.
Before you do get into the ins and outs of how to fix your car tire though, let’s point out that you’ll firstly need to identify where air is escaping from. To do this, the tire will need to be inflated to its recommended psi pressure, before you can perform a visual inspection to see if you spot the hole or object which is forcing the air out.
Unfortunately, in some cases you just won’t hear that hissing sound, or you won’t be able to see it. It’s in this instance where a bottle of soapy water will come to your aid; cover your tire in this solution and look for bubbles. Any air escaping will form bubbles and naturally, these will be easy to see.
Method #1 – Using sealants
The first method we’re going to discuss is if you have a can of tire puncture sealant. Before you proceed with this method, it’s recommended to at least read the instructions which appear on the can as some brands will have different advice to others.
This generally relates to the quantities of the substance you should use etc. Once you have done that, here are the steps you should follow.
- Find the offending object which has caused your puncture and remove it from your tire. Once you have done this, you are then able to turn the wheel so you can make the valve appear at the top.
- Remove the valve cap and find your sealant. Put your sealant into the valve using the same approach that you would turn to if you were using air to inflate the tire. Once the sealant is attached to the valve, release the contents using the button that will be on the can.
- Next, you need to get into your car and drive slowly. This is so the sealant can be distrubted evenly in the tire. If you don’t perform this step, you will find that the sealant is just localized to one area of the tire and this will cause a lump in it.
- You can then remove the sealant and briefly start to use your car. Unfortunately, there is a time limit with sealant, and you won’t be able to surpass 100 miles (or three days’ worth of use, if this comes quicker). In other words, sealant is a temporary measure and you need to find a replacement tire sooner rather than later.
Method #2 – Using tire plugs
As we have just noted, the sealant method is a quick method but it’s by no means permanent. If you have a little more time on your hands, and of course have the necessary tools on hand, the tire plug kit solution might be more suitable.
The main advantage with this approach is that you will be able to get a lot more miles out of your car; up to 20,000 to be precise. As such, it’s most definitely a more permanent solution, but it’s not for the automobile novice as we’ll now look at the steps that are involved.
- Firstly, you’ll need to take an impact or lug wrench and start to loosen the lug nuts.
- Next, start to jack up the car. You’ll need to make sure that the vehicle is on a flat surface, such as concrete. Most people will turn to a floor or trolley jack at this point, with your car’s service manual noting all of the jacking points you should use. If you are blessed with a hydraulic lift then go ahead and use it – it will save you time.
- Now that your car has been jacked, it’s time to remove the nuts that you loosened earlier. Do this so you can then proceed to pull the wheel off the hub.
- Now that your wheel is off your vehicle, you have much easier access to it. You’ll be able to pull out the offending object which has caused the puncture, with pliers usually coming to the rescue at this point.
- You’ll now need to turn to the rasp tool which is in your kit. Insert it quickly in and out of the hole – with the aim of this being to clean and roughen it so that the upcoming thread will hold.
- This next step is arguably the most difficult and involves threading the plug through your insertion tool. You’ll then need to use this tool to push the plug into the tire – leaving around 0.5″ sticking out from the tire. You’ll then need to cut away this part of the plug to leave the tire surface flat.
- From this point it’s all about reinstating the tire to its former glory. You can pump air back into it so it reaches its required psi, whilst running over soapy water to ensure that no punctures exist anymore. You will of course have to re-install the wheel by placing it onto the wheelbase and turning the lug nuts whilst the car is jacked.
- Complete the job by lowering the vehicle to the floor and tightening all nuts so the wheel is firmly in place. Use your floor jack to lower the vehicle in this manner, and ultimately lift it away from the jack stands which have helped elevate it in the first place.
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