Fixing a flat tire on your own can be a good way to save money over buying a brand new tire. It’s possible to save hundreds of dollars by repairing tires on your own.
What Not to Fix
Before starting to fix your tire, it is important to first figure out whether or not it is able to be fixed. In general, damage that is too extensive cannot be fixed. For example, a tire that has exploded, has been lacerated, or has other significant damage should not be repaired. Also, if the tire’s sidewall is damaged or cracked, do not repair it. Finally, any tire with less than 1/16th of an inch of tread cannot be repaired.
In the case that your tire cannot be repaired, take it to a recycling center.
If the tire has deflated because of a puncture through its tread, then there are a couple of options to repair it. Start by removing the tire from the automobile so that you can access the damage. To do this, place a block under the tires and set the emergency brake.
Next, loosen the lug nuts on the tire with a lug wrench, then lift the automobile with a jack. After the tire is off the ground, finish removing the lug nuts by hand. After all the lug nuts have been removed, pull the wheel and tire off the automobile.
Assess the Damage
After removing the tire, it’s time to figure out what caused it to go flat. Sometimes you can find a nail’s head, screw, or another object embedded in the tire’s tread. Do not remove the object until you're ready to fix the hole. If you have to come back to the repair, consider marking the object’s location with paint. Because it’s possible to get multiple objects stuck in the same tire, be sure to look over the rest of the tire before proceeding with the next step.
Ways to Fix the Tire
There are several ways to go about fixing the tire once you have found the source of the air leak.
A patch repair kit can be purchased at an auto parts store, and most come with directions. In general, you will fold the patch to fit it inside the hole, then use the included epoxy to seal the patch. Be sure to give the patch enough time to dry before driving on the tire.
Plugs are another way to fix the problem. Plugs are also sold as kits. To use one, remove the object from the tire, then cover the plug in the included cement. Stick the plug in the hole, leaving about half an inch of it sticking out. Cut this stem off so that it is flush with the tire tread.