Tires are everywhere you look. During a survival situation, the ability to fix a tire and extend its life is a good skill to have. The supplies in this article are inexpensive and can be bought a little at a time so it is not hard to fit into even a modest prepper budget.
To be honest, these are things you should probably have on hand even during good times if you have any vehicles or machines at all.
Tires Have A Limited Life
During SHTF, getting a new set of tires may not be a possibility. This means that extending the life of what you have is going to be the new reality. Even if you are just using small machines or wheelbarrows, tires are going to be part of your life.
Rolling firewood along in a wheelbarrow means less work and strain then if you are having to carry all that by hand. Tires can make or break the deal.
Tire Repair Is A Valuable Skill
Making yourself useful during a crisis can make it a lot more likely that you will come out ok in the end. Tire repair is a skill that is not incredibly hard to learn but it sure is valuable to everyone.
If you have some extra supplies on hand, you can be a major benefit to those around you. Even if everyone starts out with tires that are in good shape, it only takes one sharp object to make a vehicle, machine, or tool, unusable.
Not Just For SHTF
Would you be able to take care of a basic tire issue if you were stuck with a flat? There are plenty of people that just figure they will call AAA to take care of it. That is fine if you are somewhere with a cell signal or when services are not being stressed.
Staying on the side of the road for hours waiting when you could fix it yourself in 20 minutes doesn’t make a lot of sense if it is something minor.
1. Tire Slime
This toxic looking substance is great for making tires last longer. It is actually an excellent preventative measure you can take to prevent a leak from ever happening in the first place.
While this is not an expensive item, you can definitely catch this stuff on sale or use coupons from auto stores to get it at a real bargain level price. It comes in quart and gallon sizes with the gallon being the most economical way to buy it.
It takes a bit to do a large vehicle tire so having a gallon or two extra after you have reinforced your own tires is a good plan. Despite what it looks like, it cleans up well with water and repairs and seals tires for up to 2 years. If your tires are still good by then you can put Slime in them again and keep going.
Tire Slime Leak Prevention Plan
Some household have more wheels than others. If you have a lot then it might take you some time to get all your tires sealed well.
To seal with slime:
- You first need to deflate your tire.
- When this is done, you pump the slime into the tire. The amount you need is based on your tire size and the chart on the bottle.
- You then inflate the tire.
- After inflation, you will need to go drive around for a minute or two to make sure the slime gets distributed throughout the tire.
Your tires are now sealed and have an extra layer of leak and puncture prevention that will last the life of your tire! If you do get a puncture that goes all the way through, then you will want to reseal with slime again after the more major repair if there is enough tread left on the tire to make it worth it to repair.
When holes are obvious or when they are large, you need to be able to plug the hole. This is the same thing they do when you get a repair done at a professional tire shop. It takes some time but it is not a repair that is out of the realm of skill for even those with no tire repair experience.
Having two sets of the tools is probably a good idea though just in case you drop or lose one.
At this price point, it is not like you are making a huge investment.
Here is the one area where you can pay a little or a lot and there are a ton of different options out there. No hand pump is going to be fast but in an emergency situation any pump is better than none. This being said, do not go out and buy the cheapest pump out there. This is the most expensive item mentioned in this article.
If the grid is up, we just use an air compressor to fill tires at our place but if it were down it would be a challenge. There are 12 volt pumps you can get if you have solar power or some batteries. It takes a lot of pumping to inflate a bigger tire so if you can find a way to not do it by hand then that is a good thing.
The pumps for car emergencies that are frequently sold are slow but you don’t have to hand pump so a little extra patience may be worth it. There are a lot of pumps out there so do some research and read some reviews before purchasing.
You may just want to invest in several types to make life easier during different situations. Having one that works manually and one that is electric for example covers you in varying circumstances.
If a tire is attached to a vehicle or heavy tool then you are going to need a jack to do some repairs. In fact you may want to have several different types on hand. A lot of cars are sold with a small jack included but they are not always the greatest for all purpose use over time.
A floor jack and a bottle jack puts you in a good position for all types of repairs and can be useful for a lot of other things around the home.
The jack you choose is going to potentially be holding up a very heavy thing that you have to work around so this is another tool where you should not just buy the cheapest or lightest weight rating tool that you can find.
1. Pro Lift Bottle Jack 6 Ton
2. Pro Lift Floor Jack
3. Fix A Flat
This canned tire remedy is useful but definitely has its limitations. It is meant to be a good enough fix to allow you to get a vehicle somewhere that permanent repair can be done. At the same time, there are plenty of rebels out there that have went a long time on a tire that was just repaired with Fix A Flat.
While it is better than nothing and definitely worth it to have a few cans of, it is not something you want to trust for a very long term fix. Still, if it allows you to make it home when you have a breakdown, especially when helpful resources are limited or there is a major situation going on, the $5-$10 you spent could even save your life. Little things can sometimes have major consequences for better or worse.
Be aware that Fix A Flat has an expiration. Eventually, it will lose the pressure in the can and be useless so you need to occasionally toss it and buy new if you want to keep it around all the time just in case.
One can take care of fixing and inflating a standard tire. Really large truck tires may require one or more cans.
Getting Some Practice
If you have absolutely never had to fix a tire then it may be worth it to get an old tire and practice plugging holes a few times. Like any skill it may take a few tries before you are comfortable.
Old tires are easy to get a hold of. You may have one just laying around if you have lived at your place for very long or if you were blessed like we were with old tires that relatives threw out in random places.
I don’t really think the practice is 100% necessary but if you are lacking confidence in your ability to do repairs it can help. There are a ton of Youtube videos to show you the basics and those would be worth watching a few of.
Tube Versus Tubeless Tires
How and what you use for fixes is dependent on what type of tire you have. There are different types of tire slime for tubed tires. The vast majority of tires are tubeless. The major exceptions are wheelbarrows and bicycles.
Tubed Tire Know How
A tube patch kit is really inexpensive so definitely worth it to put back a few in your tire repair kit. Bicycles can become a more common method of transportation depending on the circumstances.
Tube Tire Repair Kit
The kit you can get works well for motorcycles, atvs, bicycles and more. You get 5 rubber patches in the kit.
Knowing When Not To Repair
It is not considered safe to try to patch the side area of a tire. There is just too much pressure on the sidewalls so a weakness is going to often cause tire blow outs or a continued leak. Tread areas are what you can fix.
A tire blowing out can cause loss of control and fatalities so it is not worth it to risk it to repair a sidewall unless you are in a very dire situation indeed. Also some states require inspections on vehicles to per performed annually and a shoddy repair can mean you fail and cannot be insured.
Sometimes a valve stem can become damaged. This is the one exception to the not fixing something located on the side of the tire.
A kit like this should be on hand for any emergency tire repair. The included tool is small and a bit easy to lose so it would be worth it to have two of these.
Valve Stem Repair Kit
Never Repair A Repair
There is only so much you can do to get some use out of a tire.
If it is obvious that a tire has been patched in an area and then it gets another leak in the same space, chances are there is a weak spot that is only going to get worse and possibly cause harm if goes out at an appropriate speed.
Kit For The Road & Home
If you have some extra space it is not a bad idea to keep most of the things listed above both in your car and at home. This allows you to pretty much always have access to some tire repair supplies.
What if your significant other is away on a trip and you have to make a repair? What about being stuck on the side of the road and finding out you left the Fix A Flat in the garage?
Start Your Tire Prepping Today
The great thing about getting a tire kit together besides being on top of it with your prepping is that you can put it together with a little at a time. $10 here and there and before you know it you have a complete set up for getting the most out of your tires.
What tips do you have for tire repair or making tires last longer in general? Let us know by commenting below.
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