Have you ever gotten a flat tire? There are a couple ways to perform an automotive flat tire repair.
Certainly, if you are one of the unlucky drivers to have gotten a flat tire on your car or truck, I would like to help you understand that it is not the end of the world.
Do you know where to locate your spare tire?
Most importantly, if you have a car, a van, or a truck, do you know where to look for your spare tire and tools? Most vehicles nowadays have a flat tire kit. But, the older vehicles have a spare tire and jack.
For most cars, the spare tire and tools (or flat tire kit) is under a false bottom floor board in the trunk. In a truck the spare tire will be under the bed and the jack and tools will be behind the rear seat (or behind the passenger seat on a two door truck).
With a van the spare tire will usually be under the middle row seats toward the passenger side of the vehicle. The tool kits and jacks will be located in the trunk area standing upright and strapped down behind a plastic panel (usually on the left or right-hand side). This will be marked with a symbol that looks like a car jack.
Accessing your spare tire
Accessing a spare tire for any vehicle is done in just a few easy steps.
Firstly, you will have to remove the false bottom in the trunk this is done by pulling up on the carpet that is covering the required kit, in a truck you just have to lean the rear seats(move the passenger side seat if two door truck) and unstrapping the jack, and in a van removing the panel marked with a jack.
Secondly, you will need to unsecure the spare tire. With a car it is as simple as removing the wing bolt that secures the tire in place. In a truck or van you will need to lower the spare tire to gain access to it.
There will usually be an opening in the carpet covered by a plastic plug in a van. On the rear bumper of a truck by the license plate, there will be a door that will have to be unlocked with your truck key before you can lower the spare tire with the tools provided by your manufacture.
What is a flat tire repair?
An automotive flat tire repair is simply a patch or plug (usually coated rope) that can be installed to stop a vehicle tire from leaking.
A tire patch is a small round piece of rubber that applies to the inside of a tire after the tire has been removed from the vehicle and rim. Many other items are needed for this repair. For example, rubber cement, bead sealer, a stitcher for the patch, and a tire spreader(that is not including the shop equipment).
The rope plug is a special rope coated in a tire sealer and rubber cement to help plug the hole in the tire. These come in a kit with a tire reamer, rope puller, and the rope plugs.
How to perform a flat repair
A flat repair for some people is the end of the world, but it does not have to be. It is a simple process that will get you back on the road in no time.
After you have taken the spare tire out you have to jack up the vehicle with the provided jack by placing the jack in the appropriate jacking location( consult your owners manual for where to locate the jack points).
Firstly, loosen the lug nuts of the flat tire by turning the provided lug wrench counterclockwise. Then jack the corner of the vehicle with the flat tire so the wheel is off the ground.
Secondly, remove the lug nuts with the lugwrench (keeping in mind that the lug nuts may still be somewhat tight). Then take the tire off of the vehicle.
When you can take the tire off look for the puncture, this can be done by turning the tire. After locating and removing the puncture, take the tire reaming tool and open the hole(leave the tool in place until you are ready to put the plug in.
Before you can insert the rope plug into the tire, you have to thread it into the rope puller tool (that comes with the rope plug kit). Installing the rope plug can be a bit tricky, as it does require force to insert it into the tire.
When you are ready to install the rope plug into your tire remove the tire reamer and force the rope puller and rope plug into the puncture wound. Turn the rope puller two times to “tie a knot in the rope plug” and remove the puller, The rope plug will stay behind.
After the tire repair has been performed successfully, always air up the tire and double check with soapy water sprayed over the puncture to ensure the hole is fixed.
Reinstall the tire back on the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts using the provided lug wrench. Be sure to put all the tire tools provided with your vehicle back so you can have them for the next time you have a flat tire, should you ever need the tools again.
To Have a patch plug installed inside your tire or vehicle(if safe to drive on the tire), take the tire to an automotive professional to have an automotive flat tire repair performed.
To plug or not to plug a tire
There is a couple of instances that a tire cannot be plugged. On the tire there are usually four or five valleys’ of the tread. The middle of these valleys’ are considered a “safe” location to patch or plug a tire.
If the puncture is on the side wall or the outer tread of your tires then the tire is not safe to patch or plug. Tires with punctures in these locations cannot be fixed safely and will need to have the tire replaced.
When you plug a tire in an unsafe location you weaken the strength of the tire and can risk doing more damage to the tire itself. This can result in a separated tire or a tire blow out.
Now you are back on the road
After a successful automotive flat tire repair, you will be back on the road in no time. The steps provided in this article are to help you perform a flat repair on your vehicle successfully.
Most importantly if you still have trouble with this process take the tire to a trained automotive professional to have the patch done.
Always consult your owners manual to ensure proper jacking and lifting measures to remove the tire from your vehicle. Be sure to look up the proper air pressure for your vehicle.