1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

How To Fix a Flat Tire on a Car or Truck

Share on:

How To Fix a Flat Tire on a Car or Truck

Created on: 2011-03-17

Learn how to spot a tire's leak, remove a foreign object from the tire, and patch the tire if possible with the steps in this how-to video

  1. step 1 :Identifying the Leak
    • Identify potential sources of the leak
    • Mix dish soap and water in a bucket
    • Pour soapy water over the tire
    • Look for bubbles at potential leaky spots
    • Check the bead and the valve stem
  2. step 2 :Removing the Foreign Object
    • Apply rubber solution to the reamer
    • Pull out the nail (or other foreign object) with needle nose pliers
    • Note the path that the nail has traveled
    • Be careful of air pressure when the nail is removed
  3. step 3 :Patching the Tire
    • Coat the reamer with rubber solution
    • Work the reamer into the hole, in the path the nail had followed
    • Bend one patch in half
    • Apply rubber solution to the folded end
    • Push the patch onto the pin, past the hook
    • The patch should be centered on the hook
    • Push the reamer in and out until it slides out easily
    • Push the patch in with the pin until about half an inch of patch sticks out
    • Give the pin a quarter-turn and pull it out
    • Use a razor blade to trim the patch to the level of the tire
  4. step 4 :Checking the Tire
    • Reinflate the tire to the correct pressure
    • Use the soapy water to check that there are no leaks

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools

    Razor Blade / Gasket Scraper

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Soapy Water

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

    Needle nose pliers

  • Specialty Tools

    Tire Plug / Patch Kit

Installation Video
Watch video

Brought to you by, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet.

Hi, I'm Mike Green. I'm one of the owners of 1A Auto. I want to help you save time and money repairing or maintaining your vehicle. I'm going to use my 20-plus years experience restoring and repairing cars and trucks like this to show you the correct way to install parts from The right parts installed correctly: that's going to save you time and money. Thank you and enjoy the video.

Okay, so you've got a leaking tire and as you can see here we've got a pretty visible issue. We've got a nail in the tire right here, so if you have a leaking tire you want to look for something like that. You also want to make sure if you find something like that that that's really your issue. You can get a nail in the tire or a piece of a nail and have it not even leak, but then you go after it and you think that's the problem and it ends up being something else, so I'm going to show you the easiest way to figure out if that's the problem.

So, I've got a bucket, some household dish soap; put a bunch of soap in the bucket, just kind of gently mix it with your hands. You don't want to make too many bubbles, and then you just pour it over your tire. I need more, okay. Then what you would do is look at where you poured the water and look for, you can probably see, the little soap bubbles bubbling up around it, and I actually could have used . okay, so that little white trail of white soap bubbles tells you, okay, I've got air coming out there. So, if you see a nail, that's the way you can confirm that that's where you are getting leaking from.

When you do that, the other area you just want to check is around the bead and both sides, and this is if you don't find the nail or if the nail you find doesn't seem to be leaking, check around the bead and also check around your valve stem. Many times your valve stems can go bad and leak.

Okay, to fix this nail, first I'm going to take my rubber cement or solution from my kit. I'm going to puncture it. This is called my reamer. I'm going to take some rubber solution, and put it right on there. Put that down for just a second. Pliers, needle nose or otherwise, pull the nail out. You want to note that this nail is straight in. Your nail could be in at any kind of an angle. You want to note how your nail is in there, because when you ream it, you want to ream it the same way. Be careful when this comes out because it could jet out. So then take your reamer, work it into the hole. Two things, you're putting a little bit of that rubber solution in there. You're prepping the hole. Leave that in there, take my needle, one of my patches, put the patch right in the middle so you basically have two equal sides, take a little rubber cement, just put a little bit on the end there, and make sure your patch is way down in the hook really well. Take your reamer and finish this, because you really want to clean out this hole, make sure this is going and out nice and easy. Once you have it going in and out nice and easy, pull it out. Put in your patch. Twist it in. It's difficult to put inside. You just want to be careful that when you get it to go you don't push too hard and push the patch all the way through, so keep pushing it in until there's about a half an inch coming out, give it a quarter turn, and pull it up quick. Then use a little trimmer or a razor blade and just trim the patch off the same level as the tire. That will basically work its way in and wear down with the tire. Obviously you'll want to check and re-inflate the tire to the correct pressure and take a little bit of water here to make sure. Okay, check to make sure no more bubbles, so we're all good.

We hope this helps you out. Brought to you by, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet. Please feel free to call us toll-free, 888-844-3393. We're the company that's here for you on the Internet and in person.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Razor Blade / Gasket Scraper

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Soapy Water

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Needle nose pliers

  • Specialty Tools

  • Tire Plug / Patch Kit

How To Fix Rear Defrost Grid Connector

How To Fix Rear Defrost Grid Connector

1A Auto shows you how to fix a rear defroster terminal connector tab.

Search Videos
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.