Tire technology has come a long way since the first rubbers available for automobiles after the turn of the century. In days gone by, tires were highly prone to punctures, water damage, and even melting in the heat, making it especially difficult for motorists to drive long distances without any car trouble. The development of waterproof tires with increased traction and flat resistance has made things much easier but things are naturally still not perfect. Any pneumatic air filled tire runs the risk of occasional damage and car tires can be very expensive today, but luckily they are relatively simple and easy to repair.
You will need a few tools and a little bit of know-how to repair your own tires, but the effort pays off. A tire that is damaged but not worn out can be repaired to increase its life span greatly. First, you’ll need to raise the car on a jack and use your tire iron to remove the damaged wheel. The tire will have to be completely deflated and removed from the rim. You will need a valve stem remover to unscrew the valve from the tire by turning it counter clockwise. After this, manually separate the tire from the rim and use a large screwdriver or other lever to pry the tire off, being careful not to damage the rim.
Once the tire is removed from the rim, find the punctured area and buff this spot inside the tire with sandpaper. Be careful not to remove too much of the tire rubber, but make sure the area is very well cleaned. Taking off too much material can further damage the tire, but failure to clean the damaged area reduces the effectiveness of the repair and makes the tire more prone to failure in the future.
The next step is to apply tire cement, which can be purchased at most automotive repair retailers along with patches. Apply the tire cement with a brush and allow it to dry. Rubber cements like this are most effective only when they have dried to the touch before attempting to bond anything. Apply your tire patch and secure it in place. Be sure not to rush this part of the job. After this step is complete, insert a rubber plug into the puncture on the outside of the tire. The patch and the plug are both necessary to ensure that the tire seals properly and holds air without risking further damage out on the road.
Once the previous steps are complete and the tire patch has dried and secured completely, you can remount the tire on the rim, reattach the wheel, and inflate the tire. Tires don’t last forever, of course. We know this from wear and tear that is inevitably incurred on rubber machinery. But, with a little effort and ingenuity you can extend the life of your tires and cut down on both waste and expense. Before throwing out the cash for a new tire, ask yourself if you can repair the damage yourself.