Commuter Crossing: Spare tire or Fix-A-Flat?

CommuterCrossing-nameAsk anyone what the roads are like and I guarantee everyone will complain about potholes. They have been showing up lately due to the recent severe weather. Water will freeze in cracks, expanding the asphalt, which leads to the asphalt breaking and creating a pothole.

Unfortunately, hitting a pothole can seriously damage your tires, as well as other parts of your car. So, what happens when you hit one and have a flat tire and need to be somewhere soon? Do you use Fix-A-Flat or replace your tire with your spare donut? Both are good, temporary solutions until you can get your tire fixed.

Fix-A-Flat is an aerosol tire inflator meant to seal punctures and inflate your tire until you can get your tire replaced. Fix-A-Flat is not to be used with tires that still have the recommended PSI. According to its website, “the pressure inside the tire could push back against the sealant and result in spillage.” It is the cheapest, quickest fix when in a hurry. However, Fix-A-Flat can freeze. Once thawed, the product in the can will not be damaged. If the product is in your tire, the makers of Fix-A-Flat recommend you “immediately take the vehicle to a qualified tire professional for repair” in freezing temperatures.

Spare tires, or donuts, have the same function as Fix-A-Flat — to get you to the nearest service station to have your tire repaired. Donuts require more work and strength, as you are replacing your flat tire. You also need the proper tools to take the tire off your car, such as a jack and a wrench. The types of spare tires vary on the needs of your vehicle. Depending on the size spare you have, it can weigh down your vehicle or it may need to be part of your normal tire rotation.

Both solutions are temporary and you should find a service station as soon as you can. Donuts have a restricted speed limit and distance and are not recommended for more than 50 miles of use. Fix-A-Flat is intended to be used fully on one tire and will not repair severe punctures.

What you want to keep in your vehicle depends on your vehicle’s needs. Certain new cars, like my Kia Soul, for example, do not come with a spare and are sold with Fix-A-Flat. However, it does have room for the spare, should I choose to purchase one.

Always be prepared, and being prepared means knowing how to change a tire, knowing your options and watching the roads. Some potholes are avoidable. Some South Jersey news organizations even have interactive maps showing where the major potholes are located to help make your commute as easy as possible.

For comments/questions about this story, email or tweet @thewhitonline.

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