What is Fix-a-Flat?
Fix-a-Flat is an aerosol that can quickly repair tires. It is a one-push spray that can inflate and seal your tire for a fast repair. The spray will seal any holes or punctures in a tire to prevent any current leaks and keep the tire inflated adequately.
Fix-a-Flat uses a liquid propellant that inflates without the hassle of using a traditional air pump. The polymer latex composition enters the tire and creates a thick foam that hardens when exposed to air. When sprayed along the inner tire wall, it hardens over the puncture and seals wherever the leak occurs.
The size of the hole is not an issue either. Fix-a-Flat can seal holes up to 1/4 inches without extra tools or equipment needed. Unless you are facing severe tire damage, this is a reliable repair option.
How Long Can You Drive with Fix-a-Flat?
Because Fix-a-Flat does not properly inflate the tire the same way a pump would, it is recommended to only use it as a temporary solution to regain road mobility. The manufacturer recommends driving on Fix-a-Flat for three days or 100 miles, whichever occurs first.
Customers have reported instances where Fix-a-Flat lasts longer or shorter as well. We decided to run a few tests to see how different factors impact the length it will last on your tire. We determined there were three key factors to consider.
Type of Tire Damage
The significance of your tire damage will determine how effective Fix-a-Flat will be in inflating and sealing your tire to help you get back on the road.
Remember, you can only expect to plug a hole as large as 1/4 inches. Anything larger may be temporarily sealed, but the distance you can travel will be extremely short-lived.
It is ideal to use for more minor punctures from objects like nails that create a small hole that is easily located on the tire. Sidewall damage can make it more challenging to create an effective seal too.
Current Weather and Road Conditions
Road conditions will impact how long your seal will last. A new Fix-a-Flat seal can puncture quickly on uneven dirt or stone roads filled with sharper objects. It is best to avoid these if possible until you can properly repair or replace the tire.
The weather also plays a vital role. When the temperature drops, so does the effectiveness of the sealant. It is best to avoid using it during the winter months because Fix-a-Flat can freeze when exposed to this type of weather.
When the sealant freezes in your tire, it will cause an imbalance in the tires. This can cause your driving to suffer and put the vehicle at risk for internal damages. The other tires also wear quicker because they are driving unevenly.
Amount of Seal Needed for Repair
Through some testing, we learned that using the correct amount of sealant is extremely important to how long your tire can last on the road.
If you use too much, it can damage the internal structure of the tire. However, if you do not use enough sealant, it will not be effective. The foam forms to seal the holes in the tire, so adding a little extra is a way to ensure the tire will drive evenly and last long enough.
How to Use Fix-a-Flat Safely
The process to get started with Fix-a-Flat is relatively straightforward. However, there are a few things to consider to make sure each step is performed safely.
1. Pull Your Vehicle Into a Safe Area
A flat can leave you stranded in difficult areas. Be sure to pull your vehicle off the road to perform a repair safely and away from any potential accidents.
2. Check Your Tire PSI
Use a PSI checker to see the current level of your tire. It helps to know how much air your tire needs to reach the ideal PSI level for driving, so you know how much Fix-a-Flat is required.
3. Connect the Fix-a-Flat Valve to the Tire
The can of Fix-a-Flat has a hose on the end that connects to the tire’s valve stem to inflate and seal the tire quickly.
4. Fill the Tire
Allow some tire to pass while the can is connected to the tire. You will hear the sound of air filling the tire. Checking the PSI after filling the tire is the best way to ensure you put the correct amount in.
5. Disconnect the Can and Seal Your Tire
Be sure to disconnect the can when you finish and put the valve stem cap back on your tire to keep it inflated.
6. Drive Your Vehicle
The foam from the can of Fix-a-Flat requires movement in the tire to settle and create an accurate seal inside the tire properly. Start driving to allow proper circulation.
7. Repair or Replace Your Tire
Head to a repair shop as soon as possible to have your tire permanently fixed or replaced.
Fix-a-Flat Pros & Cons
Fix-a-Flat sounds like an easy solution, but it also has some negatives as well. We break down both the pros and cons of using Fix-a-Flat for your tire repair.
- Low-cost repair solution.
- Easy to use product for any driver.
- Quickly seals and inflates tires for immediate driving.
- Lasts for up to 100 miles.
- Seals tire holes up to 1/4 inches.
- It can potentially cause damage to your rims and wheels.
- Puts your Tire Pressure Monitoring System at risk.
- Tires will wear unevenly.
- It freezes in cold weather.
You might be wondering, what are the risks of Fix-a-Flat? Is it worth using?
Well, it depends on the type of vehicle you have and how you use it. A few risks include uneven tire wear, rim damage, wheel damage, and TPMS damage.
Rim and Wheel Damage
The chemicals used in Fix-a-Flat can become corrosive when exposed to air. They use specific chemicals that can eat away at these critical elements of your vehicle.
This could lead to long-term vehicle damage and cause an unbalanced driving experience. Other risks include uneven tire wear because of the imbalance.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Damage
It is recommended to avoid using Fix-a-Flat if your vehicle uses a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) because the sealant can ruin its effectiveness. They cost a lot of money to fix, and it is not worth the hassle.
It can damage your TPMS because the sealant builds up on the inner sidewall of the tire and permanently plugs the hole that gauges your tire pressure. Sometimes it can be repaired quickly, but the risk outweighs the reward.
The Verdict: Is it Worth it? How Long Will It Last?
After considering all of the benefits and risks involved, what should you do? Are there better solutions?
We always recommend that drivers have a temporary spare tire in their trunk for flat tire situations. However, it is not always feasible to make the change. Packing a can of Fix-a-Flat in your trunk is an excellent safety option too.
You can expect to get up to 100 miles in driving with Fix-a-Flat. This is plenty of support to get your vehicle to a repair shop to replace or repair the tire. While we don’t believe Fix-a-Flat is the number one flat tire solution, it is undoubtedly a reliable option in an emergency.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding