Whether it’s your rear wheel tire, your spare tire, or your motorcycle tires, we all encounter tire failure from time to time. Luckily, there are some easy ways to repair them yourself.
In this article, we’ll go over everything about fixing a flat tire (including using Fix-A-Flat). We’ll also cover what causes a flat tire and answer 5 FAQs like how to locate the tire puncture site and if you need to replace a flat tire.
This Article Contains:
- Fix A Flat Using A Sealant Gel Or Spray (Like Fix-A-Flat)
- Fix A Flat Using A Tire Plug Kit
- What Causes A Flat Tire?
- Fix A Flat Tire: 5 FAQs
Fix A Flat Using A Sealant Gel Or Spray (Like Fix-A-Flat)
There are plenty of tire sealants on the market, from the affordable pressurized-can sealant like Fix-A-Flat, to more comprehensive solutions like tire sealant kits that include a compressor.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing flat tires using a helpful product like Fix-A-Flat:
- First, remove the flat wheel from your vehicle using a jack and a lug wrench or tire iron.
- Then, clear any foreign objects stuck in your tire (using pliers if necessary.)
- Position your wheel so that the tire valve stem is facing upwards.
- Then, attach a can of tire sealant like Fix-A-Flat to your tire valve stem using the tube provided.
- Press down the button and empty the can into your tire.
- Fix-A-Flat cans do have some air in them. But depending on your tire pressure, you may need to fill it up with more air using a tire inflator.
Pressurized-can sealants are often limited to smaller punctures (6mm max). For larger punctures, you may need a tire sealant kit with a compressor. What these have in common is that they all work through the tire valve stem.
Note: Most new cars come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, so you’ll know when you have a flat.
But what if you can’t find a tire sealant like Fix-A-Flat?
Fix A Flat Using A Tire Plug Kit
Here’s how to perform a flat tire repair using a tire repair kit:
- First, remove your wheel from your vehicle using a jack and lug wrench or tire iron.
- Then, clear the tire of any debris (using pliers if necessary.)
- Locate the source of the air leak. (You may have to remove the tire using a tire lever.)
- Use the adhesive/cement that came with your kit to cover the plug.
- Using the insertion tool, grab the plug and fill the puncture hole in your tire.
- Cut off any protruding portion of the plug (usually half an inch.)
- Wait for the tire sealant to dry.
- Inflate the tire with air using a tire inflator.
Now, let’s look at how you may have gotten the flat in the first place.
What Causes A Flat Tire?
These are some common causes of flat tires.
- Sharp objects
- Bad road conditions
- Wear and tear
- Valve stem leakage
- Improper inflation
Note: Some ways to avoid getting flat tires are to have a tire rotation done regularly and to ensure your tire pressure is correct.
Now, let’s answer some FAQs about fixing a flat tire.
Fix A Flat Tire: 5 FAQs
Here are the answers to five common queries related to fixing flat tires.
1. How Do I Locate The Puncture Site?
There are three main ways to determine where your tire puncture is:
- Visual inspection: Look for any obvious signs of damage to your tire. Inspect for cuts or nail holes.
- Listen for hissing: Put your ear close to the tire and listen for any audible hissing. The louder the hissing, the closer you’re getting to the puncture.
- Soap and water: Mix some water and soap together in a bucket. Then, using a sponge or cloth, cover your tire with the mixture. If you see tiny bubbles coming out of your tire, you’ve located the source of the puncture.
2. Can I Drive With A Flat Tire?
If your tire is so flat that your rim becomes exposed or is almost touching the ground, discontinue driving immediately. You could damage your tire bead or rim by driving with a flat.
If your tire failure isn’t too severe, driving for a few miles should be safe. Just make sure you don’t brake too quickly or go on a 100 mile trip with a flat tire.
3. Do I Need To Replace My Flat Tire?
Sometimes it’s not possible to perform a flat tire repair. In cases like these, you’ll have to replace your car tire with a spare tire or buy a new tire.
If you’re unsure, consult a tire professional, and they will either recommend a tire patch or replace your damaged tire.
Here’s how you’ll know you need to replace your tire:
- The tire’s sidewall has a puncture or cut, which exposes the cord.
- You notice a bulge on the tread or sidewall of your tire.
- There’s a gash deep enough to expose your tire’s nylon or steel belts.
- The size of the gash or puncture hole in the tread is larger than one-quarter inch.
- The tire has been repaired before, and the new damage is close to the previous repair.
- If your tire tread depth is below 1.6mm, it must be replaced.
4. How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Flat Tire?
Here’s an estimate of what you can expect to pay to fix a flat tire:
- A car tire repair kit: $15-$25
- A can of Fix-A-Flat: $19
- Professional tire repair: $15-$30
- A new discount tire: $50-$150 each
- A new standard tire: $150-$300 each
- A new high-end tire: $300-$1000 each
Note: The price of a new tire may vary depending on the tire shop and your tire size. Also, the price may include a tire warranty.
5. How Do I Know I Have A Flat Tire?
It’s not always that obvious if you have a flat tire. Here’s how you can tell:
- Illuminated warning light from your tire pressure monitoring system
- Worn tire tread
- Excessive vibration
- Bulging or blistering spots
- Noticeably decreased tire pressure
There are two main ways to fix a flat tire. You can either use a tire sealant like Fix-A-Flat or a tire repair kit.
But, a punctured tire can’t always be repaired. Sometimes, you’ll have to head to a tire shop and have a tire professional replace your damaged tire.
Or, you could always reach out to AutoNation Mobile Service and have our expert technicians come to you.
AutoNation Mobile Service is a mobile maintenance and repair solution with competitive and upfront pricing, available 24/7. And you can easily book us online.
Contact us now, and our mechanics will stop past your driveway to repair or replace your damaged tire in no time!