Our tire price comparison website has received many inquiries about flat tires and the options associated with getting one or two or ..... Face it, having a flat tire is annoying. Fortunately a flat or punctured tire doesn’t necessarily mean you have to purchase a brand new tire. In fact, the likelihood is that you’ll simply need to change your flat tire and begin the process of diagnosing and fixing your flat tire. Let’s discuss your options:
Option #1: At tire-price.com we recommend tire services be handled by a trained professional. This is important because it ensures (in most cases) that the work is done to a particular standard that is equal to or better than required. Upon removing the tire from the wheel they will inspect the tire’s tread and sidewall for punctures or holes to make sure the tire’s integrity has not been compromised. After making sure the tire is safe for continued use your tire professional will install the necessary internal tire patches. Depending on where you live these patches will cost between $5 and $20. We believe this to be the best and safest option available. Any reliable tire shop will have you back on the road in 30 minutes or less.
It’s important to remember, if you experience a flat tire while driving you need to pull over to a safe spot as quickly (and safely) as possible. Driving prolonged distances on a flat tire that is not designed for Run Flat driving can seriously damage the tire’s sidewall and other supportive elements. Also, the following things should be considered before repairing a flat tire:
- DO NOT repair a tire who’s sidewall has been damaged; it should be replaced immediately.
- DO NOT repair a tire that has tread lengths of 1/16th of an inch or less; it should be replaced immediately.
- DO NOT repair a tire that has exploded or been lacerated; it should be replaced immediately.
Option #2: If you’re unable to get to your local tire professional and for whatever reason you need to have your tire fixed immediately, albeit temporarily, you can pick up tire plugs from most local auto parts stores or discount chains such as Wal-Mart or Target. You will need some basic tools for this job, including a tire plug kit and pliers. Depending on (a) the size of your wheel versus the wheel well, (b) the set up of your vehicle’s suspension and (c) where the puncture or hole is on the tire, you may not need to remove the tire from the rim to perform this temporary repair. Inspect the tire by doing the following:
- Look for foreign objects.
- Listen for leaking air.
- Pour soapy water over the tire and locate the bubbles created by escaping air. Or if you have access to a tank where the tire and wheel can be completely submerged, then you can dunk the tire and wheel package together for ease and accuracy of hole location.
Once you’ve located the tire puncture you’ll want to follow the instructions provided with your tire plug kit but they should go something like this:
- Remove the foreign object using your pliers.
- Take the included probe tool and place a few drops on its tip.
- Insert and remove the tool from the hole several times to clean and prepare the hole for the insertion of the plug.
- Coat the plug with cement. Use the included insertion tool to stick the plug into the hole. About 1/2" should remain outside the tire.
- Pull the insertion tool straight out, leaving the plug in the hole.
- Cut the plug flush with surrounding tire tread.
It is important to remember that a tire plug is only a temporary fix. You will need to visit your local tire professional as soon as possible so she can install the proper internal tire patches.
Option #3: While the tire-price.com tire price comparison engine does not recommend this, you may find yourself in a situation where Options #1 and #2 aren’t feasible and all that you have on hand is a can of fix-a-flat. These often-flammable cans of solution and air should only be used when you have no other options. You should have a spare tire in the rear of your vehicle and this is always the better option. Also keep in mind the toxic and corrosive properties of Fix a Flat and that most shops will not repair a tire that has this used in it. When left in a tire for prolonged periods the heat and chemicals combine to create an acid like substance that slowly eats away at the inner most portion of the tire; thus, making it a liability for repair.
Before performing any maintenance on any part of your vehicle make sure of the following:
- You’re in the safest area possible for working on your vehicle.
- Secure the vehicle by applying the emergency brake and/or by wedging blocks or stops underneath your tires to prevent it from rolling.
- Avoid placing yourself under your vehicle.
At tire-price.com we’re interested in your safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of your fellow drivers. Taking care of your tires and having the right tools on hand in an emergency is not only comforting but it ensures less risk is taken in an already risky situation. Thank you for reading this blog post. If you have any additional tips or comments, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Thank you in advance for sharing this with your friends and family.