Inflating a Flat Tire | Tool Tip

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Tip For Inflating a Flat Tire

Nothing can slow or altogether kill your momentum when you pull out the wheelbarrow, lawn mower, or hand truck and discover the tire has gone flat. If it’s a tube-type tire, your only real option is to get another tube and spend the next hour or so wrestling with it. If you’re dealing with a tubeless tire, there’s hope for a reasonably quick fix.

You’ll need: Ratchet strap, air compressor or pump, inflating nozzle, and maybe some soapy water.

First, of course, you need to look for anything that may have punctured the tire. If you find a nail or any other foreign object, you’ll need to remove it and patch the tire from the inside. In our case, we’re simply dealing with a tire that had been sitting in one place too long and lost its will to be inflated.

Flat Tire

For tires that have simply deflated after a prolonged period of non-use, this tip can breathe some new life into them.

Fixing The Flat

For first-timers to this process, the goal is to ‘seat’ the inner lip of the tire onto the wheel and achieve a good seal – or tight bead. This must be done using outward pressure on the sidewalls of the tire, causing them to bloat outward and make solid contact with the wheel.

While there are several ways to fix the problem, I’ve always had good luck using a ratchet strap. The nylon band is wide enough to cover a lot of the tire tread, and the attached hooks can be used for leverage.

In our shop, the flat occurred on a 2-wheel hand truck, so we left the tire in place. For larger equipment, you might want to consider removing the tire, just to make it easier to handle.

First, wrap the ratchet strap around the tire, making sure the band is flat and centered on the tread.

Flat Tire

The quickie method sometimes works – just wrapping the strap around the tread and pulling it taut while inflating.

Then, you have a couple of options. You can either simply loop the band through the hook eye and pull the strap to apply pressure, or install the ratchet end of the strap and crank it down until the tire begins to bulge outward.

Flat Tire

For tires that have a flat spot, using the full ratchet strap may be the only option. Cranking it down will apply the needed uniform pressure to seat the bead.

And With Your Third Hand…

No matter which method used, you’ll need to use the inflating nozzle to force air into the valve stem. You may have to move the tire back and forth on the wheel until it catches. A little soapy water can also be beneficial during this process, to lube up the inner lip of the tire, making it a little easier to seat on the wheel.

Flat Tire

Manipulating the tire duration inflation can help achieve the tight seal. This can get a little frustrating (or maybe I just lack a sufficient amount of patience).

Once the bead catches and the tire begins to inflate, loosen the strap and inflate to the proper tire pressure.

Flat Tire

Ahhhh….now the real work can begin.

Even though the process sounds simple, it may take a little while to accomplish, so patience is a virtue here. If you have any tips or suggestions for this method, please let us know in the comment section below.

Check price and availability of ratchet straps on Amazon: CLICK HERE

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Brad Staggs

Contributing Writer/Producer at Tool Skool
Brad has worked in and around the home improvement and tool industry most of his life. He was host of Talk2DIY Home Improvement, Co-produced DIY Tools & Techniques and is the author of Spend a Little, Save a Lot Home Improvement.