When do you need to use tyre sealant?
Have you ever been stranded somewhere with a puncture and no spare tyre? One consequence of car manufacturers seeking to improve their eco scores is that they have taken drastic steps to reduce the weight of the vehicles they produce. With that in mind, spare tyre and wheel assemblies have increasingly been seen as, well, a spare wheel in the life of the average motor. And that’s made many marques call the need for the common-or-garden spare tyre into question.
First came spacesavers, which tyre manufacturers such as Vredestein have made an additional niche stream of business over the years, and then the compressor/sealant combination. But did you know that an increasing number of tyre manufacturers are offering built-in sealant options and that sealants are available to the average motorist on the aftermarket too?
Sealants offer a quick DIY solution for leaky or punctured tyres to help you get your car back on the road and to a safe place. They are basically adhesives that are injected directly through the tyre valve to seal any punctures from the inside. There are two main types of sealing products. Pre-puncture products are used to prevent flat tyres. They are added before the damage occurs and automatically seal punctures when they appear. Post-puncture sealants are injected after the problem arises. The gel fills up the hole so that the tyre can be pumped up and the car can be driven to a safe place or garage. It is important to note that they are only supposed to be short-term solutions to this problem and that the tyre should be properly repaired or replaced as soon as possible for safety reasons.
As we mentioned at the start, if the vehicle doesn’t come with a spare tyre, it should include a compressor for pumping the sealant. Certain products require you to apply the sealant first and then inflate the tyre, whereas all-in-one products allow you to do both at the same time. It is also important to find one that can easily be removed and won’t damage the tyres, such as the K2 Tire Doktor 535 ml for wheel repairs. The universal product consists of an aerosol can and hose for efficient pumping. You won’t need to remove the wheel or use any special tools to fix the leak.
How long does the sealant last?
Sealents don’t fix the tyre forever and are only for emergency purposes. However, some brands claim that their products can keep the tyre airtight for over 100 miles. The durability of the seal will depend on several factors, such as the cause and size of the damage, your driving style and environment, and the age of the sealant itself. You should always check the expiry date of the product before application.
How to use a tyre sealant (post-puncture)
The procedure will vary depending on the sealant used. Of course, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before proceeding. But it generally works something like this:
- Make sure that the handbrake has been applied and the passengers have exited the vehicle.
- You will need to locate the puncture. If the wheel is damaged, there’s a rip in the sidewall or the hole is too large, this cannot be repaired with the kit. If you find any glass, nails or other sharp objects stuck in the tyre, it may be better to leave them to avoid making the puncture larger.
3. The next step is to set up and connect the repair kit. Depending on the specific application method, you may be required to manually squeeze the product into the component through the air valve. If a compressor is used, it will need to be securely connected to the valve. When applying something like the K2 Tire Doktor, the hose of the can should be screwed into the valve before raising the cap and pressing it in. This should pump and seal the tyre within minutes.