Under the Radar

Don't Get Stuck With Fix-a-Flat


Fix-a-Flat promise to get you safely back on the road from a flat tire, saving you the time and expense of waiting for a tow truck. The all-in-one Ultimate 1-Step Tire Repair Kit includes both sealant and a 12 volt inflator and can be found for around $25. Fix-a-Flat Pro is a trigger-controlled aerosol option that sells at $14.99.


The extra $10 buys you time: the Ultimate promises to get your tire to 100% inflation in seven minutes. You get the tire in place, push the button and wait for the foam to work its magic.


The aerosol version is going to require you to keep focused and hold the can in place while you pull the trigger. For some people, saving $10 is going to be worth that extra effort.


Here's are some critical facts you should keep in mind:

Both products promise to fix your flat and don't say anything about repairing your flat. Fix-a-Flat claims the fix is good for 5oo miles. You've got to get your car to a proper garage for a complete repair or replacement before too long.

The product works by spraying a solution that coats the inside of your tire and turns to foam. That foam plugs the leak but it also has to be cleaned out of the tire once it's permanently repaired.

A lot of tire mechanics hate cleaning out the solution and some manufacturers have voided tire warranties when customers have used the product. There's also a lot of hazy anecdotes about whether the solution can damage the tire pressure sensors that let your car's electrical system warn you when you've got low tire pressure.

Of course, you probably aren't going to be too worried about voiding your tire warranty if you've got a flat in the middle of the night someplace where you don't have enough of a cell signal to call AAA. In extreme conditions, Fix-a-Flat could be just the solution to bail you out of a terrible jam. Your tire mechanic might complain, but a little grousing from them is a lot better than spending the night in your car, right?

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