Flat tires are an inevitable part of owning a car. Changing a flat tire can be difficult and requires several different tools that you might not have handy.
Fix-a-Flat is a convenient option for plugging the hole in the tire once you’ve identified where the damage is located. It allows you to drive your car safely to the closest gas station where the tire can be filled and repaired properly. It is advisable to keep a can of Fix-a-Flat in your car at all times so that you’re not stranded the next time your tires lose air due to a hole or some other type of damage.
If your car is equipped with tire pressure warnings, please consult the manufacturer before you use an aerosol tire sealer like Fix-a-Flat.
Here's how to fix a flat tire using Fix-a-Flat:
How to use Fix-a-flat
Gather the correct materials - In order to use Fix-a-Flat, you will need to purchase one can of Fix-a-Flat
Stop the car in a safe location - If you’re driving, pull over to a safe location on the side of the road or into a parking lot.
Identify the source of the leak - Once you realize your tire is losing air, it’s important to identify where the leak is coming from. That way, you can decide whether Fix-a-Flat is the appropriate method for repairing your tire issue.
Identify the damaged tire - The damaged tire will look visibly deflated compared to the other tires.
Warning: Fix-a-Flat is not designed to repair completely flat tires. It is also not designed to repair large tears or cracks in sidewall. It should only be used as a temporary solution until the tire can be replaced or a spare tire can be installed. If the tire is too damaged, get a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic to put on a spare tire instead.
Look for the tear or hole in the tire - Sometimes, this spot will be obvious. If you’ve driven the tire over a nail or if some other object has torn a hole in the tire, then you will probably be able to find the hole easily. Make sure that the damage is not too extensive and not larger than ¼ of an inch.
Open the tire valve - Unscrew the cap of the tire valve and place it somewhere easy to find because you will need to put it back on after repairing the tire.
Prepare to seal the tire - Shake the can of Fix-a-Flat to get it ready for use.
Attach the Fix-a-Flat nozzle - Screw the Fix-a-Flat nozzle onto the tire valve. Make sure that it is secure. You will begin to hear air inflating the tire when the nozzle is completely secured on the valve.
Warning: Fix-a-Flat is designed so that the entire can is emptied into one single tire. Do not use the same can on several different tires.
Close the tire valve - After the can is completely emptied into the tire, unscrew the nozzle and replace the valve cap on the tire.
Drive the car immediately - It’s important that you drive your car immediately after using Fix-a-Flat to allow the tire pressure to increase and distribute the sealant evenly on the tire. You should only drive the car about 2 to 4 miles after sealing the tire.
Inflate tire to recommended psi level - The psi level of a tire is the manufacturer's recommended pounds per square inch level for a tire. After using Fix-a-Flat, you may still need to inflate the tire with air so that it reaches the recommended psi level.
Drive to the nearest air pump - Any nearby gas station should have air pump.
Fill the tire - Pump air into the tire up to the recommended psi level, checking it frequently with a tire gauge.
Tip: Refer to your car’s manual or check the manufacturer’s website to find the recommended psi level for your car’s tires. The correct air pressure will also be listed on the tire placard attached to the vehicle door edge, doorpost, glove box door or fuel door.
Using Fix-a-Flat is a temporary solution and your tire will need to be replaced or repaired by a professional. It’s important to let the person repairing your tire know that you’ve used Fix-a-Flat so that they know that your tire is sealed with aerosol gases and not just air.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Use Fix-a-Flat and was authored by Patrick Haas.