You’re stranded because of a random flat tire puncture. You’re annoyed because you have to keep adding air to your tire that keeps going flat. You’re irritated by the tire that is stuck in your tire. You’re frustrated—all because of a flat tire on your car when you need to get somewhere. Unfortunately, your flat could be more than an inconvenience; it can also be an expensive inconvenience. How expensive is determined by a number of factors, but the good news is that flat tire may not mean you automatically need to replace your tire.
Your options for a flat tire
Liquid tire fix kit-Those liquid tire sealant repair products on television may allow you to drive on that flat tire, but it’s a temporary repair. The caveat that comes with these repair kits is that they are only useful for small tire punctures that occur in the tread and require you to take your car to a repair shop for a long-term fix.
Tire fix-There are a couple of different ways that a small tire puncture can be fixed, either with a plug or a patch. Both are more than temporary fixes, but need to be done properly for long-term results. If you want to take on fixing your tire as a DIY project, make sure you do your research so you don’t do any more damage to the tire and don’t compromise safety. If you’re not confident, contact a repair shop to repair your tire for far less than the cost of replacement (depending on the tire model and type).
Replacement-This is the most obvious solution to a flat tire, but where to put the flat tire for long-term use is not as obvious as you think. You can purchase a whole set of tires for a smooth ride, or a pair for a nice ride. Ask your mechanic whether to put the tires on the front or back. If you have to purchase one tire, contact your mechanic for a tire rotation (if one hasn’t been done recently) with placement of the tire in the optimum location. If you just throw a new tire on your car, you are going to have a bumpy ride and can damage other parts of your car and affect your alignment.
When your tire can’t be fixed
When the puncture is in the sidewall or shoulder-Because of the flex of these parts of your tire and for the long-term safety of your car, tires with punctures in these areas—-even small holes—cannot be fixed.
When the damage is a large cut-If the damage to your tire is large (usually more than a quarter inch as a general rule) or is a long, straight cut, a patch or plug is not going to do the long-term job.
When it’s been fixed multiple times-If you are a repeat offender with numerous punctures and patches, another patch is not recommended especially if the holes are close together on the tire.
When you’ve been driving around with a damaged tire for awhile-If the nail has been stuck in the tire for awhile, or you’ve been driving with the damage for any period of time, the damage to your tire (interior and exterior) may be too severe to fix the tire.
Fix or replace?
If you don’t know whether to fix or replace your tire, head to a mechanic so the tire can be inspected and you can get back on the road again.