Consumer Reports: Quick Flat Tire Fixes
October 30, 2013 -- Nearly every new car used to come with a spare tire, but these days spares are no longer standard. And even if you have a spare, changing a tire is no fun. Consumer Reports just tested eight products that offer an easy solution.
A Safety Spair commercial promises to repair your punctured flat tire without changing it. Consumer Reports tested Safety Spair, along with other tire-sealant compressor kits, as well as aerosol cans that promise a quick fix.
To test, a car was outfitted with 15-inch, all-season tires. Gene Petersen punctured one of the tires with a small nail and put the products to work.
All the aerosol cans were able to seal the small hole and inflate the tire, which kept going for more than 100 miles.
But Consumer Reports found all the cans had difficulty with larger holes. And since an aerosol can is under pressure, you can't keep it in your car in hot weather.
"It can explode. So, that kind of limits its use. You're not going to keep it in your car. You're probably going to keep it at home, and when you need to use it, it's not going to be with you," said Gene Petersen of Consumer Reports.
The compressor units are more expensive but can be safely stored in your car. You plug the compressor into your car's power adapter and attach the sealant canister to your tire.
All the compressor kits fixed even larger holes. They also come with a gauge to make sure you're inflating to the recommended pressure.
Consumer Reports found the $80 ContiComfortKit works the fastest, with enough sealant to repair a wide variety of tire sizes.
Consumer Reports cautions that tire-fix products are just a temporary fix. As soon as you use them, get to a service station to have the tire inspected, repaired, or replaced. Also be aware none of these products can repair very large punctures. And they should never ever be used to fix punctures in the sidewall of the tire.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2008. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit www.consumerreports.org.
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