How to Repair a Flat Tire When There’s No Spare
Did you know that more than half of new cars come with a tire repair kit rather than a spare wheel?
The reasoning behind this is that it saves on weight, fuel consumption, space and cost, but the issue is that you’re less likely to get back on the road after a tire blowout. That’s because repair kits – which use foam sealant to temporarily plug a hole – aren’t suitable for all types of punctures.
If you have a rip in the tyre sidewall, a hole over 4mm in the tread or the wheel itself is damaged, the kit is unlikely to work.
How to Repair a Flat Tire
1. Prepare the Car
- Apply the handbrake and remove all passengers from the car. Take the can of sealant and compressor out of the boot.
2. Locate the Puncture
- Examine the tire carefully to find the puncture, if you have a rip in the tire sidewall, a hole over 4mm in the tread or the wheel itself is damaged your repair kit is unlikely to work and the tire will need to be changed.
- If you spot a nail or piece of glass in the tire, leave it there; removing it may simply make the hole bigger.
3. Connect the Repair Kit
- Most repair kits will require you to manually squeeze all of the sealant into the tire, via its adapter. You may have to remove the tire valve to do so, but instructions in either your repair kit or vehicle handbook will tell you how to do this.
- Once all of the sealant is in the tire, attach the compressor to the tire valve.
- Then plug the compressor into the cigarette lighter or 12v socket inside your car.
- You may have to roll the car forward slightly to ensure the sealant spreads through the entire tire.
- Some sealent kits, however, will have an additional adapter, allowing you to fit the bottle of sealant into the compressor, so you can pump the sealant into the tire with the help of the compressor.
4. Pump up the Tire
- Check the car is in neutral, then start the engine and switch on the compressor.
- Inflate the tire to the correct PSI/Bar recommended in your vehicle handbook.
5. Replace the Tire
- Once the tire is inflated to the recommended pressure, drive to the nearest garage or tire fitters.
- Do not exceed the maximum speed detailed in the car’s handbook (and usually also on the repair kit itself).
How Long Will a Repaired Tire Last?
A repair like this is only a temporary measure and you should replace the damaged tire – and the can of sealant in the repair kit – as soon as possible.
Driving on a repaired tire for longer than necessary could put you in danger, and in trouble with the police.
This post was originally published on rac.