Tires are one of the most expensive consumables that you will replace on your vehicle. Their very nature is to provide grip for travelling the road at their own expense. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the lifespan of the tire, but eventually, all tires wear out. While that is widely known, road hazards often kill a tire long before it has reached the end of its useable life. You would be amazed at some of the items tire shops find inside tires—nails and screws are certain, but keys, bolts, rebar, all manner of objects on the road can kill a tire fast.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: 20 minutes
- How often: When needed
When you pick up a piece of road debris at home, it is a pain, but you can usually get to a service station without much issue and get a proper tire repair or replacement. On the road, however, things are not always so simple. When flats happen on the road away from civilization, you have to make repairs yourself. If your spare tire is no good, missing or your car doesn’t have one (many cars these days don’t have spare tires), you may be on the hook for a fat stack of your vacation money just for the tow truck. Don’t let that be you, instead make sure you are prepared with these flat-fixin’ solutions.
WARNING! —Sidewall damage is not repairable with any product, so if you have a cut on the sidewall, you don’t have any options but complete replacement.
Tire repair kits
Tire repair kits have become the go-to products for sealing all manner of tires. The reason for this is that it just works. These tools can repair holes as large as 35.6 mm (1.4 in) in diameter for up to two years, meaning you can get your car back on the road so you can get to the nearest NAPA AUTOPRO Centre to get a proper fix.These kits usually do not come with a 12-volt air compressor. Once the repair is done, you need to inflate your tire to the recommended pressure. But the beauty of these kits is that you can fix your tire on the side of the road and inflate your tire using a small compressor and get back on the road without having to use a spare tire.
These kits are usually easy to use. Just hook up the slime nozzle to your wheel’s valve and then squeeze in the slime. Next, connect the compressor hose to the wheel, plug it in and turn it on. Nice and simple.
The Original Fix-A-Flat
Chances are you have heard about Fix-A-Flat. This is the original “spare tire in a can,” and it works for holes up to 6.35 mm (1/4 in) in the tread of your tire. The chemicals inside the can are nonflammable and Fix-A-Flat is easy to use. The air inside the can inflates your tire so you can get back on the road.
Fix-A-Flat has been around since 1970, and it works. One can repairs and inflates your tire. Having a separate compressor handy allows you to ensure that you have enough air to safely drive on the repair. (Image courtesy of Fix-A-Flat)
Evercraft Air Compressor
It is hard to drive on a repaired tire without air, that is where this little 12-volt powerhouse comes in. When you need to air up your tire on the side of the road, you need an air compressor. The Evercraft 12-volt air compressor is cheap insurance for road trips. Another benefit is that you can use it to air up just about anything such as sporting equipment and toys. Save your lungs for the hike.
What good is being able to repair a flat without knowing how much air is in the tire? Every car should have at least one (if not three) air pressure gauges. I like to keep one in the driver door, the centre console, and the glove box. That way I know there is always one in the car, just in case I lend one to a friend, a stranger, or the kids take one to check their bike tires. For just a few bucks, you can buy several. Besides, you need to be checking your tire pressure regularly anyway. And before you ask, yes, you do still need one even if your car has built-in pressure sensors on the wheels. Those sensors do fail and any time you have your tires rotated or replaced, the sensors have to be recalibrated, which a lot of shops simply don’t do.
Spend the few bucks it costs to buy these tools. They may sit in your trunk for years without ever needing them, but when you do, you will be glad you did. These tire repair products are made to help you get down the road until you can find a proper tire repair shop. Happy travels.
For more information on emergency tire repair, chat with an expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.