Have you ever said to yourself, “does a flat tire need to be replaced?” Odds are you or someone you know has had a flat tire. Either you wake up in the morning to drive to work and come out to find your car is sitting lopsided. Upon further inspection one of your tires is completely flat.
Maybe you are driving on the highway and your tire pressure light goes off. If you ignore it then you might need to replace the tire. Depending on how your tire became flat in the first place can tell you if your tire needs to be replaced.
How do you get a flat tire?
A tire can go flat when it gets punctured by an object. Things like nails, screws, and even screwdrivers can put a hole in your tire. If you notice your tire getting low after you drove through a construction site there is a good chance you may have driven over something sharp. Tires are made of durable rubber. Although something as small as a nail can poke a hole and release the air out of your tire.
Tires can go flat due to corrosion. Typically there is corrosion around the rim of the wheel. This creates little tunnels for air to escape. If the corrosion is bad enough you may wake up to a car with a flat tire in your driveway. While corrosion isn’t usually responsible for fast leaks your tire can go flat after time..
Bad tire valve
While it is uncommon some tire valves can fail. Tires valves without caps can corrode. With water, the valves can rust out. If the valve stem breaks for some reason you may end up with a flat.
Can a tire with a nail be repaired
Whether or not a tire with a nail can be repaired relies on a few factors. The placement of the nail, the condition of the tire, and whether you already have some patches in the tire
Placement of the nail
Depending on where the nail punctured the tire lets you know if it can be repaired. Tire repair kits that shops use have a round plug that goes inside the tire. Attached to the plug is a rubber stem that goes through the hole in a tire.
If the hole is too close the side of the tire the plug won’t be able to sit flush. This will prevent the tire from being repaired. Although if the hole is closer to the center area of the tire odds are that the tire can be repaired.
Size of the hole
If something small entered your tire you can probably get it repaired. Tire plugs have a maximum size that they can plug. If your tire got punctured by something too large then it may not be repairable. Usually if the hole is no larger than a standard size nail you should be able to repair the tire.
Condition of the tire
The condition of your tires affects whether or not your flat tire can be repaired. If you have a good amount of tread left on the tire then this is a good sign. Although if your tire is bald odds are that the tire can’t be repaired.
The tire plug goes through the tire. If you don’t have much tread left the plug might actually get pushed out when you drive. If this happens you can get an instant flat tire or even a blowout.
Has the tire already been repaired?
Tires should only be repaired a couple of times. Too many tire repairs affect the structural integrity of a tire. If you have too many tire plugs you run the risk of having a blowout. The rule of thumb is to have no more than 3 plugs in one tire. If the new hole in your tire is too close to another plug you may just have to replace the tire.
What happens if I drive on a flat tire?
Driving on a flat tire is not a good idea. Not only does it give you less control while driving it can cause you to get into an accident. When you drive on a flat tire the weight of your car is sitting on the wheel. The rim of your wheel will typically sit on your tire as you drive. This can end up permanently damaging your tire.
Throughout a tire there are metal strands. The strands, which are called the tire’s belt, help keep the tire firm and in the correct shape. When you drive on the flat tire you run the risk of destroying the belt. Therefore your tire will no longer be structurally sound.
Driving on a flat tire can cause irreversible damage. In this case you will need to replace the tire.
Does a flat tire need to be replaced?
Depending on a few factors you can determine if you tire needs to be replaced. If you still aren’t sure you can consult with your mechanic and determine if they are able to repair your tire. If you have an of the issues listed above it is better to just replace the tire.
How do you change out a tire
If you are driving down the road and notice that your car is driving funny it’s best to pull over and try to assess the issue. If you find out that you have a flat tire you may want to swap it out for your spare tire. It isn’t safe to drive on a flat tire so changing out the tire is usually the best option. How do you change out a tire?
Your first step is to make sure that you are in a safe area. If you are stuck in the middle of a highway at night it might be a better idea to call a tow truck. While you may be able to change out the wheel it’s not worth risking your life. A lot of the time other drivers aren’t paying attention and there is a chance that you might get hit.
Make sure that the area is safe before you change out a flat. If you have an emergency car kit you should be able to set out some road flares. These flares will alert other drivers to steer clear. After the scene is safe you can move to the next step.
Loosen the lug nuts
The next step is to loosen the lug nuts. If you jack up the tire and the lug nuts are too tight you may end up just spinning the wheel. Using a 4-way or your car’s tire tool you can loosen the lug nuts. Rotate the tool counter-clockwise to loosen the nuts.
Jack up the car
You can now jack up the car. You can purchase an electric car jack that automatically jacks up your car. This is a quick and easy option especially since they usually come with an air pump and other features. On the other hand, you can use the supplied scissor jack to lift your car.
Place the jack where your car’s lift points are. You can typically find these lift points in your user maual. In most cars the pinch weld is reinforced for lifting. After you place your jack in the correct location you can lift your car off of the ground.
Remove the lug nuts
After your car is in the air you can proceed to remove the lug nuts. After you remove the nuts you should be able to pull the wheel away from the car. It is a good idea to temporarily sit your wheel under the car to prevent the car from falling to the ground. You can keep the wheel there until you have the spare wheel installed.
Install the spare wheel
Next, you’ll want to get your spare wheel and put it on the car. Your spare wheel can be in the trunk if you have a car, under the bed if you drive a truck or van, or under some of the seats in some minivans. After you locate the spare wheel you can place it on your car.
Tighten your lug nuts
The next step is to tighten your lug nuts. You’ll want to tighten your lug nuts in a star pattern so everything is done evenly. After your spare is tightened you can remove your other wheel which is laying under the car and lower the car back to the ground.
When the tire is back on the ground ensure that your lug nuts are nice and tight. You don’t want your wheel to fall off while your drive. You can now place your wheel with the flat tire back in the trunk. Make sure you collect your jack or any other tools you used while changing out the wheel.
Now that your car is back together you will want to get to the nearest mechanic’s shop. There they will be able to find out if your tire can be repaired. Make sure that you drive slow when you have a spare installed. Some donuts are rated for a max speed of 45mph. Any higher than that you are stretching the limits of the tire.
Does a flat tire need to be replaced? Depending on your situation you may end up having to replace a tire. By following the guide above you can determine if your flat is repairable.