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Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

Posted July 29, 2008 9:44 AM by Jaxy

There will always be two choices for me with regard to my car. I can go to a garage and have my vehicle looked at by a professional, or I can ask my father for help. Dealing with Dad is the more interesting option.

My car's leaky tire seemed simple enough to fix. Just find the leak and apply a patch, right? To locate the source of the leak, my father brushed warm, soapy water on the tire. Right away, we noticed small bubbles appearing by the rim, near the balancing weights. This posed a bigger problem than originally speculated because a regular patch doesn't work on the bead of a rim.

Undaunted, my father deflated the tire and pushed it from the edge of the rim about an inch or so. He then used a wire brush and fine sandpaper to remove the accumulated dirt and grime, creating a clean sealing surface around the area that leaked. I wouldn't recommend using this surface as an operating table or anything, but it was clean enough.

Although my father has an unconventional way of fixing things, he has worked on cars for a good portion of his life. So I trusted him. But even I was surprised when his weapon of choice was gasket sealant. Then again, this is the man who helped me duct tape a tree.

After using a generous amount of sealant to coat the inside of the rim, he filled the tire back up. There was good news and bad news. The good news was that the leak around the tires weights was fixed. The bad news was that two more leaks had appeared. Patiently, my father repeated the laborious process (deflating the tire and removing it slightly from the rim), and then used the sealant all around the rim this time. So did it work?

When the tire was re-inflated, there weren't any leaks and the tire maintained its proper pressure. Using the materials available to him, my father provided what may just be a temporary fix, but one that seems to be working. Right now (a couple of days later), his unorthodox way of fixing a tire leak is still holding its own – pressure.

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#1

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/29/2008 3:55 PM

Your father did a nice job!

Just remember, you have a lot riding on your tires, no pun intended. I have noticed a number of accidents on our local highway due to a high speed blowout and subsequent spin and or rollover of the vehicle. Many have had fatalities.

It pays to keep your tires in good order since your life and others' depend on it.

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#2
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/29/2008 4:26 PM

You are 100% right. In fact, after my father had fixed my tire, I took it for a test drive up and down the road (always a good idea after fixing virtually anything on a car). My father has years of experience under his belt from fixing his own cars. The leak was only minor (slow leak) and I am sure if the problem was greater in magnitude, he would have sent me to a mechanic.

My father has always done his best to keep his cars in great shape. Sometimes his unorthodox ways pay off (he doesn't have to take a trip to the mechanic). I am not sure what he would have done if my tire was still leaking after he 'fixed' it.

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#3

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/30/2008 5:09 AM

You can see the quick method of re-inflating a tyre that has come off the rim in the Top Gear expedition to the North pole.

For the impatient, this is about 2/3 through the clip after the broken shock & before the kite powered skiing.

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#4
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/30/2008 8:02 AM

Haha! I love Top Gear! I am going to have to consult with my father and show him the clip and make sure that we use that method every time

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#5

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/30/2008 9:02 AM

????? Did you balance the tire after the repair??? Be careful of "Rim Leaks" because here is where most Blow Outs will happen. Make sure to place the repaired tire on the rear of the car in case a blow out happens.

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#6
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/30/2008 9:23 AM

To put your mind as at ease as I can, it has been balanced and the tire is on the rear of my car already. I know that the chances of a blow out are increased with a rim leak, but it seems as though the gasket sealant had filled that gaps since the tire has held the pressure just fine since it has been 'repaired'. The sealant used was also for high temperature, which is best for tires. I took as many precautions (test driving and the like) as I could before driving it around other vehicles.

The bottom line is that a blow out is very unpredictable and I took all the possible precautions short of taking it to a professional mechanic. It is my believe that my car is the safest it can be without changing the tire.

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#7
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/30/2008 9:58 AM

Great! Good luck with it. I will have to include this repair in my personal bag of tricks. If I ever use this I will make sure to credit your Farther for the idea.

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#8

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/31/2008 8:31 AM

This procedure may seem unorthodox today, but 40 years ago it was quite common. In high school I had a part time job at a local garage.

For this repair, I was instructed to break the bead, then clean the rim with a wire brush on an electric drill. I would then apply some black, stinky, gooey stuff from a tin can, (probably something like Form-A-Gasket). Then fill with air and check for leaks. It worked every time. We'd charge 2 bucks, ( highway robbery at the time).

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#9

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/31/2008 10:29 AM

This is totally unrelated to your blog content, and I apologize. But everytime I see this title, I get the song "Under Pressure", by Queen stuck in my head. It always makes me smile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtrEN-YKLBM

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#10

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/31/2008 1:18 PM

Question:

Wouldn't "Fix-a-Flat" seal a rim leak much faster (although not as cool)?

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#11
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/31/2008 1:23 PM

Perhaps - but we didn't have any on hand nor would it be an unorthodox way to fix a tire

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#12
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/31/2008 1:27 PM

True. I was just curious if I find myself stranded off of Jordan Road, in the middle of the night and had no sealant available, if the alternative would work!

Now you have me thinking of all the different ways I could fix a leak. I wounder if Gorilla Glue would work for a puncture...

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#13

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

07/31/2008 4:59 PM

Don't tell the safety police, but I have successfully used the nearest at hand can of spray paint used for the rim to tire sealant. I would only do this on stuff I was pushing around the barn.

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#15
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Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

08/04/2008 10:36 AM

That is pretty funny. I wonder how much pressure a 'spray paint' fix could handle... That would be an interesting fix if it could be used for bikes or lawn mower tires. I would never try that...

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#14

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

08/03/2008 11:58 PM

Another way when you have leaks around the rim is too over inflated the tire and then beat the heck out of it with a hemmer around where the tire and rim seal. Hit the tire but be careful that hammer will bounce up. This will allow the air inside to blow out any dirt around the rim causing a leak. I have done it many times over the years.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

08/04/2008 10:37 AM

That is a seemingly effective method. Thumbs up for another unorthodox (& very physical - I might add) way to fix a rim leak.

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#17

Re: Under Pressure: An Unorthodox Way to Fix a Tire Leak

08/05/2008 7:38 PM

Really good ways to find leaks.

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Anonymous Hero (1); Anonymous Poster (1); Bricktop (1); dadw5boys (1); DaveB (1); Jaxy (6); NiCrMoNoMore (2); Nigh (1); ShakespeareTheEngineer (2); Sharkles (1)

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