How to Fix a Flat Tire

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How Do You Know You’ve Got a Puncture? 

On a paved road, if your steering roulette wheel starts to wobble vaguely in your hands, or if you hear a loudly beat voice that coincides with your wheels ’ rotation, then you ’ ve got a flat tire. Off-road, at lower speeds, you ’ ll probably hear that thumping before you feel it. In both cases, avoid risking further damage to the tire or vehicle by finding the first safe location to pull off the road or trail .
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Don’t Rely on Your Spare

It ’ second become less and less common for new vehicles to come equipped with a life-size fifth wheel tire. Space savers, or donuts, are only designed to get you a very short distance at very low speeds—across town to the run down shop class, basically. You should avoid using a outer space rescuer on a dirt road or drag if at all possible .
And even if you have a life-size bare with a match run down and bicycle, it ’ s still possible to puncture more than one tire at a time. And man, that ’ s going to cause a big problem if you ’ re not fix or if it happens somewhere you can ’ t well margin call for aid .

What You Need

The tools you should have to fix a flat tire yourself don ’ thymine price much more than getting a tire plugged at a tire shop. And they ’ ra hundreds of dollars cheaper than calling for a tow. They ’ re besides small and sparkle. There ’ s actually no excuse for not carrying this stuff in your car or hand truck .
The best tire-repair kit I ’ ve found is made by Boulder Tools and costs $ 38. Like other kits, it includes rope plugs and the tools you need to install them, but this one goes above and beyond by including items like needle-nose pliers, spare valve cores, and a fold razor blade .
You will besides need a compressor. That ’ s what you ’ ll use to reinflate your bore after you fix the puncture, or how you ’ ll air out back up to road pressures if you ’ re airing down for off-road drive. If all you need is an hand brake option, one of these $ 23 Slime compressors is perfect. It plugs into your cigarette idle ( or 12-volt   exit ), so you don ’ thyroxine even need to open your hood. You don ’ thymine want to rely on something like this if you ’ re regularly inflating oversize off-road tires, but that ’ s a report for another time .
I besides stick a can of Fix-a-Flat in every cable car my family owns, plus those of most of my friends. Fix-a-Flat includes both a sealant and compressed air in a single can, allowing you to take care of the kind of belittled punctures caused by a screw or collar without even removing the bicycle. And that capability makes it a unique tool in your arsenal—one that can come in handy for even complicated repairs where it ’ s not safe to to try and remove a rack or where gaining the ability to roll the car a few hundred yards can make the site much safer ( think : a exorbitant gradient off-road or the side of a busy highway, with trucks rushing past barely feet away ) .
Everyone should besides carry a quality tire-pressure gauge. Use it to check the press of your tires once a month, and adjust them to factory-recommended settings if they ’ re off. ambient temperatures, acme, and equitable time can all cause a run down to lose or gain pressure, and when it does indeed, it can harm your fuel economy, treatment, and performance .

Avoid Trouble

regularly inspect your tires and replace them before the tread wears to 2/32nd of an edge deep. An easy way to check this is to insert a penny top down into the pace ( Lincoln ’ s head first ). If the tread reaches past Honest Abe ’ s hairline at his frontal bone, you ’ rhenium good. If not, order new tires. Tires worn to or past 2/32nd of an edge of pace will be a lot more prone to punctures and won ’ triiodothyronine provide the like grapple as a tire in dependable condition .
Tires besides have a maximum life bridge of six years. To determine how old your tires are, look for the run down recognition number on the sidewall : it begins with DOT, is 11 digits hanker, and ends in four numbers. The first two digits of those last four numbers represent the week ( of 52 in a year ) the tire was manufactured. The end two are the year .
If your tire shows any signs of cracking or tearing, or if anything white or metallic has worn through the condom, replace it immediately .
You besides need to make sure you ’ re using an appropriate tire for the conditions you ’ ra facing. If you ’ re traveling off sidewalk, a timbre all-terrain tire will help you debar punctures both in the tread and, more importantly, the sidewall .
Make indisputable any fomite you ’ ra drive has all of the necessity tire-change tools give and accounted for. You ’ ll need a lugworm wrench and a jack at a minimal. Don ’ thyroxine be that person who forgets to put them bet on into a car. I even check for these things in rental cars before driving off—they ’ ra that essential .
Right in the middle of your tread is a good place to find a foreign object. right in the middle of your tread is a good place to find a extraneous object. (Nathan Norby)

Step One: Find the Puncture

once you ’ re in a safe place, hop out of the car, and find the compressed tire. Try to identify the source of the puncture. Sometimes a foreign object will be identical obvious at precisely a glance. sometimes you ’ ll need to roll the car a foot or two to expose the problem .
If you are able to see that there ’ s obviously a pinpoint or screw embedded in your tire ’ south tread, that ’ mho beneficial news. If the nail or cheat is strongly embedded into the tire ’ sulfur tread, there ’ s no need to remove it at this time. Get out your can of Fix-a-Flat, follow its directions to connect it to your tire valve, and empty the integral contents of the can into the run down. You should see the run down visibly inflate. If it returns to normal, drive off immediately, go a few miles, then stop and check your run down blackmail, adjusting it if necessity. If the tire seems to be holding air, you ’ rhenium adept to continue drive, but take a expect at the run down any time you stop. When you get rear from your trip and have the time, go ahead and follow the rest of the steps hera to repair the puncture with a fireplug .
If you can ’ thymine find the source of the puncture, if it ’ s an unwrap hole, or if you don ’ t have a can of Fix-a-Flat, you ’ ll motivation to take the wheel off .

Step Two: Remove the Wheel

inaugural, remove your spare ( even if it ’ s a space saver ), and place it under the frame of your fomite in front of the front man run down or behind the rear run down. That way, if your fomite falls off its jack, it will fall onto the spare, minimizing wound to you and damage to the cable car .
Loosen the stuff nuts before you raise the vehicle. Remember : left-handed pitcher loosey.

future, follow the instructions in your owner ’ second manual to locate and use the jack accordingly .
once the wheel is off the footing, ending removing the lug nuts. Put them somewhere safe. Pull the steering wheel out toward your body. Be careful—wheels can be big .

Step Three: Evaluate the Puncture

If you have a hole in your tread, it can be fixed. Tires in beneficial condition won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate know more than a simple fix in that placement. If the hole is in your sidewall ( the part of the tire that rides roughly upright ), you just need to mount your spare and have the run down replaced at the beginning potential opportunity .
If the hole is in the run down ’ sulfur tread and can ’ metric ton be taken care of by plainly dumping a can of Fix-a-Flat into it, roll the tire around to the back of your fomite where tools are and where you can safely work away from traffic. look for holes and foreign objects as you roll it. If a hole is humble and the run down is nobelium longer leaking air, it may be a good estimate to mark the hole for easy reference later .
The recommended kit includes these needle-nose pliers; otherwise, a multitool is a good stand-in. The recommend kit includes these needle-nose pliers ; differently, a multitool is a good stand-in. (Nathan Norby)

Step Four: Remove the Problem

If there ’ s a extraneous object in your bore, and the bore can nobelium longer hold tune, remove it. In the video, I used a screw gun to put the cheat in the tire, meaning its threads engaged with the rubber and steel belts. Most roads don ’ t have their own fuck guns, so the puncture won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate engage the threads in the same way, and it should be easier to pull out using your needle-nose pliers .
I ’ ve seen tires punctured by everything from a sword bar to a particularly nasty cactus barb. organic objects like tree branches can leave residue behind. Try and get all of that out of the manner .
The reaming tool will slowly enlarge and clean the hole. The reaming tool will slowly blow up and clean the trap. (Nathan Norby)

Step Five: Enlarge the Hole

If the hole is larger than a pencil, skip this step. If not, grab your tire-repair kit out ’ sulfur reamer, and use it to enlarge the hole until it is roughly the size of a pencil .
If you have a identical modest hole, this will be unmanageable at first. Install the reaming joyride by slowly screwing it into the tread while applying down pressure. Otherwise, barely push the cock into the hole all the way up to the handle, then yank it out. repeat until the hole is large enough that you can insert and remove the tool without much feat .
Getting the plug through the eyelet can be fussy. These things are designed to be difficult to remove from a hole, not easy to insert into one. The pliers will help. Getting the plug through the eyelet can be crabbed. These things are designed to be difficult to remove from a fix, not slowly to insert into one. The pliers will help. (Nathan Norby)

Step Seven: Install the Plug

Remove a rope ballyhoo from the formative wrap, flatten one end with the needle-nose pliers, and push button it through the cringle on the installation instrument. Grasp the jutting boundary of the plug with the pliers, and pull it through the cringle until peer lengths of the ballyhoo stick out from both sides .
Grab a finger of lubricant from the kit out, and apply it to the ballyhoo and leading edge of the tool .
Firmly push the installation tool in as far as it will go, then yank it out as hard as you can. hard push the initiation tool in equally far as it will go, then yank it out arsenic hard as you can. (Nathan Norby)
place the joyride tip down on top of the hole in the tire, grasp the tool securely with both hands, and force it through the tire until the depth steer is flush with the tread. then yank the tool straight out of the hole as heavily and fast as you can. The lasso spark plug should pass through the cringle and remain inside the tire .
The plug should remain in the tire when you yank the tool out. Now just trim off that excess length. The plug should remain in the tire when you yank the joyride out. now just trim off that overindulgence duration. (Nathan Norby)
If you have alone a little puncture, one hack should do. If not, you may need to install a second or third gear. If you must install multiple plugs, then plan on taking that tire to a shop class the first gear potential opportunity, where it can be evaluated for condom. You may have to replace it. But most of the clock time, that single fireplug will be enough. Use the razor to trim the surfeit length flush with the tire tread .
If your tire holds air up to the recommended pressure, then odds are it’s going to be good to go. Just check the pressure again after a few miles to make sure. If for some reason you’re losing a little air around the plug, try adding Fix-a-Flat. If your run down holds air up to the recommend atmospheric pressure, then odds are it ’ s going to be good to go. fair check the pressure again after a few miles to make certain. If for some reason you ’ re losing a little atmosphere around the plug, try adding Fix-a-Flat.

(Nathan Norby)

Step Eight: Reinstall the Wheel

Use your air compressor to inflate the bore to the recommend blackmail. ( You ’ ll find that listed inside the driver ’ south doorjamb. ) once inflated, reverse the tire-removal steps described above to reinstall the steering wheel. First, install the lug nuts by hand to secure the wheel to the hub.   then, once you ’ ve lowered the fomite back down and removed the jack, use the lug twist to make certain all the lugworm nuts are a fast as possible. Tighten them in a star practice, so the bicycle snugs second to the hub evenly. Remember : righty tighty. Check these again later that day .
Return all your tools, the jack, and the lug wrench to their proper locations. You ’ d wear ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want to misplace this stuff .
And that ’ s it. No tow truck. No hiking out a scandal road in search of help. No waiting on AAA while sitting on the side of a busy highway. No huge expense. And no more than a few minutes of intemperate work .

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