How to Fix a Flat Tire on Your Car
- 1). Change the tire and install your spare if you're stuck on the side of the road. If your tire will hold air and you're near an air pump, then go ahead and fill it up so that you can pull into a safer spot to plug the tire. You can complete the rest of the steps with the tire on or off the car.
- 2). Locate the nail, screw or other foreign object in your tire tread; it shouldn't be hard to find, since grinding on the road will likely have left it shiny and silver. Pull the car forward or backward to rotate the tire so that you have about a foot of clearance on top of the object. .
- 3). Open the package and unroll a rubber repair strip. This sticky "natural" rubber will plug the hole in your tire, but first it needs to go into the hooked insertion "needle." Roll the repair plug into the needle eye on your threading probe, making sure that it's centered in the needle.
- 4). Apply three to four drops of rubber cement to the needle tip and set it somewhere that the tip won't touch anything. You'll need to work quickly from here on, but a skilled hand can easily get from this point to a fully plugged tire in about 30 seconds.
- 5). Grasp the object with a pair of pliers, twist and pull it out. Be prepared for air escaping from the tire; the amount will vary depending upon the size of the puncture.
- 6). Place two to four drops of rubber cement on the tip of your probe -- the one with a pointy end and a roughened shaft. Force the pointed tip into the hole and shove the rest of the shank down into your tire. Feel free to use your other hand like a hammer to force the probe through.
- 7). Work the probe in and out two or three times. The roughened shaft will enlarge the hole slightly and will deposit the rubber cement. Grab the needle and plug with one hand, place its tip near the hole and quickly pull the probe out.
- 8). Push the needle and plug into the hole. Do this right and you'll only lose a couple of pounds of air pressure. You'll still need to fill the tire up to full pressure, but only losing two psi of air will make you feel good about your awesome tire-plugging skills.
- 9). Push the needle as far into your tire as it will go and give it a quarter-turn. Neglect this full shove and twist and you'll end up pulling the plug back out. Pull the needle out using slow, steady pressure.
Cut the visible ends of your plug down to about 1/8-inch, but not further. As you drive, that little bit of excess will flatten and mushroom out, fully and permanently sealing the puncture.
Drive the car about 100 feet if the tire still has air in it. If it's flat, then refill it with compressed air and then drive it. Check your air pressure, then top it up to the tire manufacturer's recommendation.