Recently I was stranded at a friend’s business in their gravel lot when a roofing nail penetrated my tire. Not wanting to pay $75 for a tow home, I decided to repair the car tire myself. Unfortunately, I was hauling some supplies that day and to free up space my spare tire was sitting back home in the garage.
Fortunately I keep all the tools and supplies that are required for making an emergency tire repair in a kit. First thing you need to do is make sure to have at least one fresh can of “fix a flat” tire inflation and leak sealant on hand, and the second thing to have on hand is a tire plug kit with the cleaning and insertion tools, plus plenty of the sticky tire plugs that come in these repair kits. I also find it very handy to have a 12 volt electric air pump in the car that can be run off any standard accessory socket. Also important is to keep a good spare tire and the lug wrench with the proper jack for your car.
So I noticed the puncture right away and I did not lose all the air from the tire but there was enough gone that I needed to pump the tire up to help find the location of the puncture. I turned the steering wheel to expose as much tread as possible and then with with some water I wet down the tire so I could look for escaping air bubbles. You may have to roll the car forward until you can see the puncture and this could take a few trials. Next I used a pencil or marker to put a line on the sidewall indicating where the nail went into the tread. Using the cleanup tool I removed the nail and then ran the tool in and out a few times to clean and rough up the opening.
Next you peel one of the plugs out of the plastic packet and thread it into the split notch insertion tool. Once you have it through the hole in the tool draw the plug to the halfway point and bend the two ends upwards towards the handle. next insert the tool with the plug into the tire so that only about 1/4 of the plugs tips are still sticking out of the tire. Next pull the tool directly out of the tire very slowly without twisting it. If you see that the plug is pulling out, stop and push the tool back in until the plug is again about 1/4 sticking out, then twist the tool 1/4 turn and start removal process again. Eventually the tool should come out of the tire leaving the plug still in the hole. This may take about twice the force of what it took to insert the plug so don’t be surprised by that.
Next you need to fill the tire with air to be sure that your repair plug will hold. Pump it up to the required pressure listed on the sidewall and check for leaks. Even if none are there and you want to make sure you get home safely it is wise to put in your liquid tire sealant just to be safe. Take the car for a brief test drive and stop in a safe place where you can get out and check the tire and do further work on it if necessary. If no air has been lost it is time to go straight home or to a garage who can fix you up with a new tire.
No matter what you do next always record on the tire that you have introduced the liquid tire sealing material into the tire so that any worker who has to repair this tire in the future is aware of the problem and the presence of the chemical. It is inert but still out of courtesy it is good to make them aware of the sealant. This sealant is exceptionally sticky and can gum up their tire repair machine and will get all over their hands and clothes.
Next thing to do is assess the condition of all your tires and if you are like me it may just be time to save up for a new set. Shortly after I had the first flat, another tire picked up a large screw in a mini storage driveway and I had to fix that tire in order to get home. I now have four replacement tires that are much safer than the expired tires that were on my car.
I think a great invention that would let you know when your tires are expired would be a device that lives in the sidewall of your tire and pops out like those turkey cooking pop up temperature devices that tell you when it is time to remove the turkey from the oven. I wonder if anyone will pay me for this idea?
This article comes completely from personal knowledge and experience.
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