Three Tools to Help You Fix Flat Tires

Few things are as frustrating as having a flat tire, but getting back on the road quickly isn’t difficult.

Man jacking up a car
Fixing a flat tire is easy if you have the right tools for the job.Arcan

A flat tire can ruin your day. Fixing it can leave you dirty, frustrated, and late to your destination. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. Changing a tire is actually quite simple if you have the correct tools. Avoiding flats is even easier if you keep a close eye on your tires and perform a little routine maintenance. Sometimes, you can avoid changing a flat tire on the road by having what you need to re-inflate a tire that only has a slow leak. Most people have had a flat in the past, and most will have plenty more in their lifetimes, but these three things can help you get back on the road quickly.

Portable Tire Inflator

Audew Portable Air Compressor Pump, Auto Digital Tire Inflator
This portable tire inflator can help you get your tire aired up and back on the road quickly.Audew

If your tire has gone flat from a slow leak instead of some kind of catastrophic failure, you might be able to save yourself the time, mess, and hassle of changing it by adding a little air. In many cases, you can inflate a tire with a slow leak and it will stay inflated long enough for you to get your vehicle home or to a tire shop. That’s where a portable tire inflation pump comes into play. Portable tire inflators are available from many manufacturers, and in a wide range of quality and prices. Most are powered by your vehicle’s 12V outlet. Two main considerations when choosing a portable tire inflator are how portable it is and how easy it will be to store between uses. Smaller is better if it will do the same job as a larger one, as it will be easier to carry around and stow in your trunk or somewhere else in your vehicle. You’ll also want to consider how long a pump will take to air up a tire. Weak pumps might take a very long time to air a tire up to capacity, making them not as effective, depending on the size of your tires.

Jack

Arcan 3-Ton Quick Rise Aluminum Floor Jack
This floor jack has a two-piece handle for easy storage.Arcan

A good jack can be the most useful tool you can have for changing a tire, whether on the side of the road or at home in your garage. Jacks are available in several different types, and all have their preferred uses. Scissor jacks are quite common and the type of jack most people have in their cars. They are simple in design and functionality. A small crank is connected to the scissor jack. When turned, it turns a large, threaded bar within the jack. That, in turn, moves the two ends of the jack closer together, pushing the arms upward. Scissor jacks are small and easy to stow, making them ideal for carrying in cars and small trucks. When closing, simply screw it the other way, the arms spread back apart, and the jack flattens out for storage. Floor jacks, though bulkier, are safe and easy to use, and large ones can lift several tons. Bottle jacks are compact and easy to store, are easily transportable, but frequently won’t lift as heavy of loads as a floor jack.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

AstroAl
This tire pressure monitoring system can help drivers know about problems before they have to deal with a flat and add air if needed.Amazon

Some automobile experts believe the best way to get down the road is to not have a flat tire in the first place. Since one main cause of flat tires is running tires without adequate air pressure, a key to avoiding flats is to always know that your tires are properly inflated. (Incidentally, running tires without enough air pressure can also be dangerous.) That’s where a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) comes into play. While some vehicles come stock with a TPMS, many do not. Additionally, many older vehicles don’t have any mechanism to monitor tire pressure. Fortunately for all drivers, several manufacturers make aftermarket pressure monitors. Tire pressure monitoring systems are available in two basic types. With a direct TPMS, the user can adjust the pressure standard to whatever level they wish and be immediately alerted once the pressure goes below that threshold. An indirect system isn’t as good because it won’t let the driver know which tire is needs inflated and typically isn’t as accurate.

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