If you are equipped with the right tools and knowledge, a flat tire will do little more harm than good. Our step-by-step guide teaches you how to fix flat tires using a repair kit and how to replace them with an extra one.
The tools you need
That wheel won’t start on its own, will it? You will need – at the very least – a jack and a log wrench. We recommend using a hydraulic floor jack for added stability, although you may have no access if you find a puncture somewhere 5 miles from the center. Jack stand and a torque wrench can make your life a lot easier. If your car does not carry extra tires, you will need a repair kit with a tire plug, a probe, pieces and an air compressor. Alternatively, you can use a flat-to-flat one to get you to the nearest tire store.
Fix a flat
Naraporn Muangwang / 123 RF
Typically, removing a punctured tire and replacing it with an extra will fix a flat so you can drive to a store and get a proper replacement.
But suppose your tire hole is not very big and you lack extra tires. If you get the right equipment, a patch kit, you can safely remove a tire – and the tire is not severely damaged, of course – this is an effective short-term solution. Note that this is a short-term remedy, as patched tires are usually safe to drive for about 100 miles or three days, whichever comes first. Much like using extra tires, it won’t solve the problem either. The best solution is to replace your car with a professional one.
Step 1: Remove the wheel with the flat tire
First, you need to pop up that flat tire. Use a wrench to loosen the nuts, but do not remove them from the bolts yet. Then, after loosening the nuts, place the jack under (or in) the proper jacking point and in the park or gear if the car is a stick-shift and the parking brake is engaged, make sure it is in place to prevent it from rolling. Jacking a car at a risk can be extremely dangerous. When it jacks up, you can remove the log nuts and lower the tire.
Step 2: Find the loop
Once you remove the tires, it’s time to look for leaks. If you can visually detect an object moving on the tire – be it a nail, a piece of metal or something else – pull it carefully. A pair of players come here. If you don’t know where the leak is coming from, you need to find it. You can do this by blowing the tire and feeling or listening around the surface of the tire to open the air or to escape.
Another technique is to inflate the tires and spray with soapy water. The escaping air can quickly form bubbles at the point of puncture.
Step 3: Plug the hole
Once you’ve found the hole, try again to make sure the plug fits. Usually, a tool to do this is provided in your patch kit. Next, when plugging the hole. Apply any adhesives needed from the kit to the top of the plug, then insert the sert into this hole until about 2 inches of material has come out of the tire. Next, let the glue dry and spread the excess before releasing the plug.
Step 4: Check the plug
Now, it’s time to test the plug seal. Check for swelling in the tires and air escape using the feeling or hearing method mentioned above. You can also use soap and water if you need an alternative method
Step 5: Recover the wheel
Reconnect the tire and fasten the nuts, but only tighten them enough to keep the tire stable. These still don’t fit perfectly. Remove the jack by lowering the car to the ground. Once the car is securely stable on all four wheels, finalize the process by tightening the log nut in the star pattern, or an “X” pattern if you’re working with a four-bolt model. Be sure to follow the torque requirements in your car manual. This is when a torque wrench comes in handy.
Now, if done correctly, your car should be delivered to a store to have your tire replaced. Again this is not a long term solution and your tire needs to be replaced within 100 miles or three days.
A flat replacement
Step 1: Remove the wheel with the flat tire
First, you need to remove the flat tire. Use a wrench to loosen the lug nuts before lifting the car with the help of the jack, but do not remove these yet. Place the jack under the jacking point of your car, lift the car off the ground, and remove the log nuts when the wheel is not in contact with the asphalt. If the car in the park (or if it is a stick, in gear) and the emergency brake is involved, it needs to be done at ground level. Trust us; It is thus much safer.
Step 2: Install spare tires
Before replacing flat tires, take a minute to make sure the wheel you are about to install is in acceptable condition. It’s not uncommon for cars to be in the original, 20-year-old extra trunk, and driving it will probably get you back in the flat-tire area. Wait until you have lowered the jack and made sure the full weight of the car is back on the tire.
With extra space, you can now drive your own car again. But be very careful as the extra tires are not designed to be driven for too long and you should never exceed 50 miles per hour when driving with temporary, donut-style extras. Replace tires by a professional and consider rotating your tires at the same time.