Fix-a-Flat

Published in the December 2015 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”










Ⓒ2015 Technolab / PedrosGarage.com

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Fix-your-flat      by Pedro P. Bonilla (GCR PCA)

Pedro

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  1. Wheel lug wrench and special 

  tamper-proof socket if required.

• Jack

  1. Tire repair kit (plug type). Go buy

   one now dfor each car.

Electric (12 VDC) air compressor

• Pliers


The older models have an emergency spare tire in the front trunk, but this tire is to be used at low speeds (55 mph maximum) and short distances (50 miles maximum).  They are also inflated to 60 psi and in most cases, since they are stored out-of-sight, when needed, the pressure has slowly dropped to unusable levels.


In the spare tire’s rim or in a cubby hole in the trunk are the factory tools and scissors jack to perform the operation.

But I’ve found that it takes less time and less effort to repair your tire (in situ) than to remove the punctured tire, install the emergency spare, drive to a tire store, have the puncture repaired, replace the tire, and store the spare.

Using a portable12 volt air compressor, inflate the newly fixed tire to the recommended pressure (+/- 35 PSI).  For exact tire inflation pressure consult the sticker on your driver’s door or door jamb.

Quickly (before the cement dries) insert the plugging cord using the “pickle fork” tool.

By using a quick in-and-out motion into the tire. The plug will remain in place when the tool comes out.

You can now cut the protruding plug off with wire cutters or a sharp knife.  If no cutting tool is available, leave it.  It will wear out as you drive.

Take a plug strand from the kit and place it in the “pickle fork” tool, also found in the kit, and apply the supplied cement liberally on both the plug strand and the (reamed) puncture hole. 





The cement will act as a lubricant allowing the plug to go in easier as well as sealing the puncture.

The pickle fork should hold the plug strand more or less in the middle.

Using the special ream tool in the tire repair kit, ream out the puncture. Because of the steel belts in some tires, it could be hard work.  But this step is necessary to ensure a good puncture seal.

Using pliers pull out the nail or screw.

To remove the tire:

a) Take the wheel lug wrench from  the tool kit and loosen every lug bolt. 

Note that most Porsches have a tamper proof lug bolt on every wheel and you will need to use the factory-provided matching socket.

b) For extra safety, make sure the car cannot roll off the jack by wedging an object under the other tires, using it as wheel chocks.

c) Once the lugs are loose, put the scissors jack in place and slowly raise the car.  There’s a jacking point just in front of each rear tire and just behind each front.

d) When the wheel is off the ground, remove the lug bolts and pull the wheel off. 

I need to point out that not all punctures can be repaired.  If the puncture is on or very near the sidewall, it should NOT be repaired.  However most punctures of the tread (contact patch) may be repaired unless the tire has been torn open or has a large gash.


For the majority of punctures, caused by nails, screws and similar, here’s what to do:


Once you notice that you have a flat, carefully reduce your speed until you can safely stop away from traffic.  Avoid driving on a deflated tire, because the car is more difficult to control and because the tire will be damaged beyond repair.

When pulling off the road, make sure you don’t put yourself in danger.  Try to stop in more or less level ground.  If you have emergency triangles, place them a few hundred feet before traffic sees your car.  Also make sure that your emergency flashers are on and that you are visible to traffic.


Now you need to find the culprit.

If you can’t see it immediately, roll your car a few inches forward or backward and check the tire again.

Once you identify the cause, you can opt to fix it in place (if you have enough room to work) or you can remove the tire and work more comfortably.

If you removed the tire, remount and tighten lugs lightly.

Lower the car and finish torquing the lugs (96 ft-lb).

Store the jack and tools.


The car is safe to drive right away.


It is not recommended that a plugged tire be used at high speeds, because the tire may loose its “Z” rating after a puncture.  But having said that I have repaired all of my punctures that way and have never had any problems whatsoever.  The repaired tires were used normally after plugging and were replaced when the rest of the set was worn and the plugs were still intact.


These photos are from an actual in-situ tire repair performed during the West Coast Boxster Fest (WCBF ’07) in Lake Tahoe, NV, on my own loaner Boxster S.

I want to thank MartinJF for taking the photos and more importantly, for letting me use his tire repair kit and his portable air compressor.

Thanks, Martin.  You saved my day.


For more information on fixing tires and more, please visit my website:

www PedrosGarage.com.



Happy Porsche’ing,

Since the newer models don’t even have the spare at all, Porsche supplies the owner with a fix-a-flat can of “goo”.  Although somewhat effective on the smallest of punctures, keep in mind that if you use the goo, it will cost you a pretty penny to have the wheel cleaned, before a new tire can be installed.  That stuff is a nasty, sticky slime that is very difficult to wash off.

We all love driving our cars, so eventually we’ll get a tire puncture.

I’ve had six in 18 years (265,000 miles) of Boxstering.

I have good news and bad news for you.

First, the bad news: The newer cars (981s, 991s, 987s and 997s) don’t even come with a spare tire, so how can you avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere or having to wait hours for a tow truck to appear?


Now, the good news:

You can fix your own flat!