No one likes getting a flat tire. They always happen at the worst time and they are a total hassle to deal with. Yet, they happen to all drivers. The American Automobile Association (AAA) says the typical driver gets a flat tire every 7.2 years.  That, of course, does not mean you will end up with a flat every 7.2 years, that’s only the average; you might not end up with one for 10 years, or you might get one every two years or so.

In general, when you get a flat tire the majority of people put on a spare tire and head to a local garage to get it repaired. While we don’t recommend this to everybody, the process is actually quite easy and if you want to give it a try yourself, here’s a procedure. The service manager at Kernersville Jeep of Kernersville, a NC-based Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer reminded us not try this if you have a sidewall puncture, as that cannot be repaired. Instead, go straight to getting a new tire.

First, you will need a plug kit, available at any automobile parts store.  A popular kit comes from Tire Slime, an automobile parts company. The Tire Slime kit comes with a good reamer, ten plugs, and a strong plug gun, as well as rubber cement. The greatest part is that it sells for under $10 at many stores and can be used on up to ten occasions. Buy this now and keep it in your car for when the time comes!

The first thing you do is pull out the object that caused the puncture to begin with. This is likely to be a drywall screw, nail or some other metal object. Pulling it out almost always requires a good set of pliers or a pair of diagonal cutters. We recommend you do it quick but carefully so you don’t lose grip on the object.

After the object has been removed, insert the reamer into the hole and get it all the way into your tire. Then pull it straight up and down a few times, until you feel that the reamer is moving more easily. This makes the hole bigger. Once you have reamed the hole, spin the reamer a few times towards the direction of the reamers’ threads. This roughs up the hole’s inside so the plug has more surface area to attach itself to.

Now you deal with the plug. First load the plug tool by pulling the plug through and stop when there’s an equal length on either side of the tool.  Now, push the plug into your tire leaving about 1/2″ to 3/4″ hanging out, as it will eventually wear down when the plug vulcanizes. If not enough length is left on the plug, it could suck into the tire.

The final step is to seal the plug. Tire Slime provides a tube of rubber cement, which seals the tiny air pockets and helps the plug vulcanize. Put the cement on liberally and let the cement dry for about ten minutes.

You are done! Put air into the tire and reinstall it on your vehicle. Keep an eye on the tire and its pressure for a few days.  It should be fine but occasionally they leak. If your tire is still holding air after one week, then you are all set.

TAGS: car tire