How to Fix a Flat Car Tire with Fix-a-Flat

Though it's not a permanent fix and won't work in every situation, the aerosol Fix-a-Flat is a quick and popular solution for flat car tires, and one that can save the day in a pinch.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
While not a permanent fix, Fix-a-Flat can get you back on the road long enough to get to a repair shop.
If you’ve ever heard the dreaded popping sound that indicates a flat tire, then you know how frustrating it can be to have to fix a flat tire while you’re out on the road. Vehicles almost always have a spare tire, but depending on the damage, there might be an easier solution that doesn’t involve a jack and a lug wrench.
is an aerosol water-based sealant that seals punctures, inflates tires in a pinch, and won't prevent the tire from being repaired by a professional shop. It comes in
several options
based on your tire size, including compact, standard, large, and extra large. Determine which product is best for use on your vehicle and keep a bottle in your car for emergencies.
Though this is a popular solution for flat tires, keep in mind that it won’t work in every situation. Here's our instructions on how to use Fix-a-Flat for car tires.
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Diagnose the cause of your flat tire

Step 1: Pull over or get to a safe location. The first thing to do if you think you might have a flat tire is to get your vehicle to a safe location.
You don’t want to drive very far on a flat tire, but you should avoid hazards and fast-moving vehicles that could cause an accident.
Step 2: Examine the tire. Flat tires can be caused by road debris or other objects, or by excessive wear.
Your tire could just be leaking air, or it might have gone completely flat. Look for the source of the air leak or damage to understand what the best solution is.
Fix-a-Flat can only be used if the damage is relatively minor and the hole or tear isn’t greater than ¼ inch.
MORE: Car hand signals in case of emergency: the basics

Use a can of Fix-a-Flat

If you do notice a flat, using Fix-a-Flat to travel a short distance (under 100 miles) or for a short period of time (three days or less) can help avoid a costly tow.
Step 1: Have a can of Fix a Flat in your vehicle. It’s a good idea to carry a can of Fix-a-Flat with you in your vehicle to use in a pinch.
While it doesn’t work for all situations, it can be helpful for emergencies and unexpected flat tires when the nearest town is several miles away.
Step 2: Unscrew the cap on the tire valve. You will be applying Fix-a-Flat through the valve on the flat tire.
Step 3: Shake it up. Before using Fix-a-Flat, you need to shake the can vigorously. After shaking the can well for about 30 seconds, unscrew the tire valve cap and screw the nozzle of the can onto the valve. The can should be in an upside down position as the plastic nozzle is screwed on in a clockwise direction.
Step 4: Secure the Fix-a-Flat nozzle to the tire valve. Once you connect the can’s nozzle to the tire valve, you will be able to hear the air moving into the tire.
An entire can of Fix-a-Flat is intended for a single flat tire only, so don’t plan on reusing it. You will keep this connection until the can is empty.
Step 5: Disconnect the nozzle and replace the cap on the tire valve. Once the can is empty, you may remove the nozzle and put the cap back onto the tire valve.
Step 6: Drive away. It’s essential to resume driving as soon as possible to ensure that the Fix a Flat product is dispersed within the tire.
Step 7: Check to see if the tire’s rim has left the ground. If it has, you should immediately drive the vehicle between two and four miles to allow the sealant to fully spread and for the tire’s pressure to increase.
If the tire’s rim is off the ground but the tire’s air pressure is still low, fill the tire to the automaker’s suggested air pressure.
You can find the recommended PSI for each tire in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. This information can also usually be found inside the driver or passenger’s side door or along the interior of the trunk.
Use a tire gauge to check the air level of the flat tire, and add air using an air pump if needed.

Get the tire repaired or replaced

The use of Fix-a-Flat should be reserved for emergency use only. You’ll still need help to get the tire repaired or replaced.
Do not drive your vehicle if, after using Fix-a-Flat, the tire’s rim does not lift up from the ground. Call your roadside service provider or for a tow to a repair facility. After use, take the tire to a repair center to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible before three days have passed or 100 miles have been driven.
In addition, be sure to let your repair shop know if you used Fix-a-Flat before they attempt to repair the tire so it can be cleaned up correctly. If you have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), check your
service manual
before use. While Fix-a-Flat notes that the product will not damage a TPMS system, it should be cleaned off properly with water by service professionals to ensure it continues working properly.
Always maintain personal safety when dealing with a flat tire, and assess the situation before acting on a possible solution.
Key Takeaway: Though useful, Fix-a-Flat is only a temporary emergency fix, not to be used for longer than 100 miles, or three days. It also won't work for every problem, so familiarize yourself with your vehicle and potential repair options.
A flat tire can be stressful and inconvenient, but it doesn't have to mean waiting for a repair truck or getting a tow if you have some Fix-a-Flat. But what happens if you're too far to make it to a repair shop, or if your last can of spray just doesn't solve the problem? In that case, you'll want
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How does Fix-a-Flat work?

Fix-a-Flat works by using both a liquid sealant and air. When you use Fix-a-Flat, air forces the sealant into the tire, and the liquid sealant foam plugs any holes in the vehicle. The air continues to fill the tire until you can drive it again.

How long does Fix-a-Flat last?

We only recommend using Fix-a-Flat on a tire as a temporary solution. If you find yourself needing a tire repair, you should only use Fix-a-Flat to get to your destination, and then to a repair shop. You should only use it for a maximum of 100 miles or 3 days.
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