Having a flat tire on your car is not only inconvenient but the repair cost can also be expensive. The cost of fixing your tire after a slow leak or blowout varies depending on the amount of damage done to it and the repair method you choose. In some cases, you'll use a temporary DIY puncture repair before you can fix the tire permanently or replace it, which lets you make the auto repair and then drive on your spare tire.
Using Tire Sealants
Tire sealants are pressurized sprays that inflate a flat tire while coating the interior surface of the tire with a liquid sealant, which hardens to close holes created by car tire punctures. Cans of tire sealants, like Fix-A-Flat, generally retail for around $8 or more on sites like Amazon, though the price may be higher or lower depending on the size of the can, the brand of sealant and where you buy it.
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Though sealants are not meant to serve as permanent repairs, they will fix flats sufficiently so that you can drive your car until the tire is permanently repaired. If you don't have a pressure gauge in your car, you probably won't be able to inflate the tire to the recommended tire pressure, which is why you want to get to a repair shop sooner than later. Once you add your sealant, look for a gas station with an air pump, which usually shows you your air pressure as you fill the tire.
Patches and Plugs
Tire plugs are adhesive-coated inserts that fill puncture holes in a tire, and though they are recommended as temporary repairs, they are often used as long-term solutions for punctures, especially for a small puncture. Patches are rubber or plastic pieces that are glued to the inside of a tire to cover and seal a hole.
The two repair methods may be used separately or together, with individual tire patch cost or plug repair kits running between $10 and $15, while a patch repair and plug combination costs between $25 and $30. Plug kits are also available for car owners to use at home, retailing for between $6 and $10 depending on the kit contents.
Replacing the Tire
In some cases, the damage to a tire is too severe to repair or is located in a portion of the tire that can't be repaired, like the tire's sidewall. If this occurs, then the tire must be replaced. The cost of tire replacement varies significantly, explains Tirebuyer, depending on whether the tire is replaced with a new, used or retreaded tire. The type of tire and the brand name of the tire also heavily influence price. You can buy a tire and put it on yourself or use a tire repair service.
Tire replacement may cost as low as $50 or as much as $200 for a passenger car depending on the tire purchased as a replacement for your damaged tire. The price for a new tire on a pick-up truck or SUV is even higher at $60 to $350. Do you need an all-terrain tire? That will cost you between $110 and $750. Depending on how you got the flat (for example, driving over a curb), you might need to rebalance your front or back wheels as well. This is often a free service if you're getting a new tire or have a service warranty, auto club membership or vehicle lease.
Hiring a Professional
The cost of professional tire repair varies depending on whether the tire is getting plugged, patched or replaced. Tire shops may offer plugs or patch-and-plug combinations as their standard repair option, though liability associated with faulty plug installation may cause some repair shops to avoid trying to fix tires.
Though tire shops charge more for plugs, patches and replacements than doing the job yourself at home, they do offer the advantage of balancing the tire afterward to ensure that the repairs haven't changed the balance of the tire on its rim. Expect to pay between $20 and $35 per tire depending on the quality of the tire, the repair service and your warranty, according to Openbay. If you bought the tire with road insurance (about $5 per tire at the time you purchase the tire), you might get the tire repaired or replaced for free.