CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Flat Tire

If I put fix a flat in and waited 3 weeks to repair the hole in my tire, will it eat the inside of my tire, like my mechanic told me?

I won’t “eat” the inside of the tire, but it sure will make a mess. Some shops won’t work on tires that have had that stuff blown in.

yeah, if you put that junk in, you won’t have to worry about fixing the tire, you’ll just replace it with a new one in two weeks.

I used “fix-a-flat” on a basketball that kept losing air. “Fix-a-flat” converted the basketball into a bowling ball, but it no longer lost air. I certainly wouldn’t want this stuff in a tire–I think it would throw it way out of balance.

However, with my “fix-a-flat” basketball, I did get the feel of shooting an out-of-balance ball and would take on anyone in a game of HORSE if we used my basketball. My advice is to keep that stuff out of your tires. You will end up throwing the tire awaw just as I eventually had to do with my basketball.

When you make an appointment to get it fixed, make sure you mention that you did this. They’ll probably charge you extra to clean up the mess, assuming they don’t refuse to work on it at all.

“converted the basketball into a bowling ball”

I’m glad I wasn’t eating split pea soup when I read that…

It WILL ruin the tire. And it may put the tire in such and out-of-balance state it’ll drive like crap.

No it won’t eat the inside of your tire, at least I’ve never seen it do that. I have seen it make a mess of the tire busting machine when the tire is taken off the wheel. But if you’re on the side of the freeway at night and you have to choose using a can of that stuff or changing a tire, it might be just saves your life. I personally wouldn’t touch a tire with that stuff in it. Too messy. But there is a time and place that it is useful.

One more comment about Fix A Flat.

I bought inner tubes for my snowblower tires, which are notorious for not holding air. The only ones I could find came with Gunk in them. After popping the tire beads on the wheels, I went to adjust the pressure. That crap came out the valve, making a mess. There is no way I was going to put my good bourdon tube pressure gage on that valve with that crap all over inside it. I basically just left the pressure high rather than fool with it. On a snowblower I can get away with this, but on a car you cannot.

But Benny made a good point. If my daughter were to get a flat in an unsafe area I’d rather see her pump the tire full of that stuff and worry later about replacement costs than to have her take the chance of getting assaulted. It has its proper place in the world.

It doesn’t ruin the tire, at least not in a couple of weeks, and it doesn’t throw it out of balance.

Fix-a-flat is air and a little white latex paint. The paint will accumulate in any holes in the tire and sealing them up. It works best on small holes.

I’ve had a tire last 4 years with this stuff in, before I learned the down side of the stuff. The latex paint is mostly water and water will make the rim rust. After four years, the tire was still good but the rim rusted through and cracked.

My Father in Law used this stuff in two tires. When they wore out and he went to replace them, the rims were so rusted inside that it was almost impossible to remove the old tires. When they finally came off, the new tires would not seat properly and they leaked around the beads.

If you have the tires removed from the rims within a reasonable time frame, dry them out and dry off the rims, repair the leak and remount, you should be ok. While this is extra work for the repair shop, it can be worth it if the conditions at the time and place you got the flat in justify it.