Forecourt Fixes


You've just noticed that one of your tyres is looking flat, and you can't see any big holes in it....

Now is the time to try an Emergency Tyre Inflator canister.... and we'll show you how!

Whilst these cans are not appropriate for every tyre deflation problem, we'll guide you through the times that you'll be thankful that you keep one in your boot!

In this episode of Forecourt Fixes we'll guide you through when and how to use emergency tyre inflator kits such as Tyreweld.

Before we start we must ensure that you, your passengers and your car are all kept safe. For more about this watch our episode about breakdown safety. But, primarily remember... Hazard Flashers ON

Reflective Jacket ON and keep well off the carriageway. If to complete a repair you would put yourself in a dangerous position, or you have had to stop in a dangerous position, then call the breakdown services or, if you need to, call the police on either 101 or 999. Keep safe.

By far the best and safest time to discover that you've got a puncture is before you set off. Oh. You might get a sinking feeling but that is rather safer than trying to control the car with a flat tyre.

If when you look more closely at the deflated tyre the cause of the flat isn't obvious, there is no major damage, the tyre is still on its rim, the hole must be quite small. In this case the tyre is only partially deflated, not safe to drive obviously, so we must do something about it. If you can see a nail or screw or something similar stuck in the tyre don't attempt to remove it. It will be helping to fill the hole it created.

It is in these situations with minor leaks that it is worth trying to fix the flat tyre with a one shot inflator can. These are sold on most forecourts for under £10. Keeping one of these in your boot is considered advisable. In fact many cars no longer have a full sized, or space-saver spare tyre, and rely entirely on an inflator system of some sort.

Cans like these use liquid latex to seal and inflate the tyre to sufficient pressure to run for many miles. That'll give you time to get to a tyre specialist.

Now you should note that they can not work in all cases. Large holes or tears will not be repaired using one of these. However a hole in the tread... Note tread and not sidewall... up to approximately 3mm should be filled by a can. These are very quick and effective and may save the need to change the wheel straight away, and you don't even need to jack up the car! No special skills or tools are needed to use these inflators, but do read the instructions carefully and do shake the car for several minutes before you use it.

Now before you start, you might find it more comfortable and cleaner to take one of the car mats out of the car so that you've got something to kneel on. Having thoroughly shaken the can, remove the dust cap and put it away somewhere, perhaps in your pocket, somewhere safe. Carefully screw the inflator's tube on to the tyre, making sure it is a nice secure fit. And when it stops hissing it is secure. There are two main forms of control on the inflators. Most will have a ring which you'll need to remove first. This has a rotating control. You open it fully up and that is all you need to do, just hold the can. Others will have a push button. The disadvantage of which is you have to hold that button down firmly for a process which may take several minutes.

So, as you turn it to the ON position, the tyre will both fill with healing latex, and be pumped up by the pressurised air in the canister. This takes a couple of minutes, so be patient. Sometimes you'll need to shake the can a little to ensure it all goes in. But, once it is empty, switch off the canister's tap, or release the button disconnect the canister from the tyre and replace the dust cap.

Hopefully the latex will have sealed the tyre and inflated it to a safe operating pressure. It usually does unless the hole is just too large to fill. You should then drive the car slowly, not more than 30 mph, for 5 or 6 miles, which gives the latex a chance to work its way round inside the tyre and seal the puncture. It is perhaps a good idea to use this journey, 5 or 6 miles, to get yourself to a garage forecourt where you can check the tyre pressure properly and make sure it is sufficiently inflated.

Better still to get yourself to a tyre specialist where you can have the tyre checked over properly.

If the fix has been successful, it should hold good for many miles, as long as it is driven sensibly, no more than 50 mph. But better still, go and get the tyre checked properly to make sure that it is safe before you go on any long journeys.

If the inflator hasn't worked, or the hole is simply too large for it to fill, then, if your car has a spare tyre, now is the time you have to change the wheel.... but we cover that in another Forecourt Fixes video.