Changing a flat tire can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’re a little unsure of what you’re doing.
Below we will discuss how to quickly and safely change a flat tire and give you an estimated time of how long the entire process should take.
How Long Does A Flat Tire Take To Fix?
The first step to fixing a popped tire is getting it off your car. This can involve loosening lug nuts and jacking up the car.
Removing the wheel can take as little as 5 minutes or up to 15 minutes, depending if you can get the jack out of the trunk and then get the lug nuts off.
Sometimes the jack is screwed down to secure it in place. Often the lugs don’t want to move and need a lot of strength to loosen them.
A lug wrench with a long handle is always best as it gives better leverage.
Next, you’ll need to get the spare tire onto the hub assembly. This should take no more than a few minutes.
Once the spare tire is mounted, you can hand-tighten the lug nuts and use the lug wrench again to ensure they are secure. This should take at most 5 minutes.
Altogether the whole process of fixing a flat tire by removing the flat and replacing it with the spare should take no more than 20 minutes.
Make sure that you double check the tightness within 50 miles, as they can work loose.
Now, if you don’t have a spare tire or have fitted it but want to repair your damaged flat tire rather than replace it. There are three ways.
The 3 Ways To Repair A Flat Tire
Patching the tire can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, but it takes much longer if you don’t have the tools to remove it from the rim.
A well patched tire will be the most long-lasting repair you can have on your tire.
Step 1. Preparation
You must prepare the tire before you can patch it. This involves deflating the tire if it isn’t completely flat already – removing it from the wheel and reaming the hole.
You’ll have to clean the rubber and scrape away the top layer and dirt by buffing it.
If you notice any damage to the sidewall, the tire needs to be replaced. This takes 10 minutes to do.
Step 2. Patching
Now it’s time to patch the tire. This involves applying adhesive and patching the area with a tire patch.
You have to pull the stem through the hole and, with the patch backing on, roll the patch against the tire with a stitcher before taking the patch backing off and applying sealant.
Inflate the tire and check for leaks using soap and water spray.
This part of the process can take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes.
Step 3 Reinstalling
Finally, you need to reinstall the wheel to the assembly. This is a 5 minute job.
Plugging is only a temporary fix, as the tire is repaired from the outside using this method.
To make sure the tire is safe to drive, the inside needs to be inspected, and that’s why tire patches are the better option.
Step 1: Remove the Wheel from The Assembly
Check where the tire is leaking from and remove nails and screws. This should take at most 10 minutes
Step 2: Inspect the Tire
Next, you’ll need to inspect the tire for any damage. This should take no more than 5 minutes. Look for any damage to the sidewall or shoulder, as any damage here means the tire needs replacing. You can locate the hole using soapy water spray if it’s not obvious.
Step 3: Plug the Tire
Now that you’ve identified the puncture, you can plug the tire. This should take about 5 minutes. You’ll need to insert the plug into the reamed hole with cement and use a compressor to inflate the tire.
Step 4: Remount the Tire
Finally, you’ll need to re-install the tire. This should take no more than 10 minutes. Make sure to use a jack to safely lift the car, then carefully place the tire back on the wheel.
So, all in all, it should take no more than 30 minutes to plug a tire.
The third way to fix a flat tire is with a tire sealant such as Fix a Flat. This liquid solution is injected into the tire and can seal punctures quickly and effectively.
Step 1: Unscrew the tire valve cap to prepare for applying Fix-a-Flat – other sealants use this same procedure.
Step 2: Shake the can of Fix-a-Flat vigorously for around 30 seconds to circulate the gases inside. Unscrew the tire valve cap and attach the nozzle of the can to the valve, with the can upside down and the nozzle in a clockwise direction, and screw tightly.
Step 3: Connect the Fix-a-Flat nozzle to the tire valve, and you will hear air moving into the tire. Use all of the sealant and wait for the hissing to stop. This indicates all the contents are now in the tire.
Step 4: Once the can is empty, disconnect the nozzle and replace the cap on the tire valve.
Step 5: You need to drive on immediately as this movement seals the hole.
It usually takes 10 minutes to repair a flat tire with Fix a Flat. The repair is only temporary and should be used to get you to a safe place and then to a tire shop.
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We like this mushroom tire plug kit at Amazon. Even if you don’t need to repair a flat today, they are a must-have glove compartment accessory to stop you from ever being stranded with a flat in the future.
Sometimes a new tire is the better option if your tire is old or has been damaged before.
We recommend Priority Tire. They often have clearance sales that result in the cost of a new tire being little more than the cost of repairing the damaged one.
Read our Priority Tire Review
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Often read next:
How Long Does It Take To Patch A Tire? [Tire Shop and At Home]
How Long Does A Tire Plug Last?
How Long Does A Tire Patch Last? [ANSWERED]
Changing a flat tire is a relatively simple process that can be completed in about 15-25 minutes. Make sure safety precautions such as ensuring that the car is parked in a quiet area away from fast moving cars on a level surface and the jack firmly supports the weight of the car.