Fix-a-Flat is a tire repair product that comes as an aerosol spray. It is a
helpful tire sealant that can help you deal with a flat tire on the road.
That said, it is only a temporary fix, and you have to go to a tire repair
center to have your tire permanently fixed.
So how long can you drive on a tire with Fix-a-Flat? Let's find out.
According to the Fix-a-Flat website, you can drive up to 100 miles on a
tire with Fix-a-Flat. Alternatively, it also suggests three days,
whichever one comes first. If you drive longer, Fix-a-Flat will harden
and damage your tire.
Before going any further, let's see how Fix-a-Flat works.
Fix-a-Flat is a liquid sealant that repairs a flat tire without any tools.
It comes as an aerosol spray canister that contains air and a pressurized
latex emulsion liquid.
You connect the provided tube with the tire's valve stem and press the
button on the can to dispense the product into the tire. One can of the
product is used for one tire, so keep dispensing until the tire inflates.
After filling the tire with Fix-a-Flat, you must drive the vehicle a bit.
As the tire moves, its centrifugal force distributes the chemical evenly
throughout its inner surface. As the pressure lifts, the latex emulsion
converts into a foam that hardens against the tire's interior wall. It also
seeps inside the punctured hole and seals it.
With this temporary fix, you can drive to a tire shop and have your tire
repaired. However, the repair guy will first have to remove the Fix-a-Flat
from your tire.
But what happens if they don't remove it? Can you leave Fix-a-Flat in a
Can You Leave Fix-a-Flat In A Tire?
You can leave Fix-a-Flat in a tire, but you should not do it. It may
come out as a liquid but becomes a dry, stiff foam. If you don't remove
it from the tire soon, Fix-a-Flat can corrode your tire rim, mess with
your tire pressure monitoring system, and compromise the integrity of
Some claim they have been driving around with Fix-a-Flat in a tire for
years. But this is dangerous.
As we clearly state in answer to the original question, you can drive up to
100 miles or for three days. So it's better that you don't test your luck
by going further.
Let's look at what happens if you leave Fix-a-Flat in your tire for too
Besides air and the sealant, Fix-a-Flat also includes R134A in its formula.
R134A is a propellant that the air conditioning system of your car uses.
Although this chemical is water-based, when it combines with water, this
mixture becomes corrosive. It can eat away at metal, paint, and even
rubber. In fact, this corrosive property adheres Fix-a-Flat to the tire in
the first place.
However, if left in the tire for too long, it can corrode the rim, ruin the
car's finish, and weaken the tire.
Damages The Rim
Besides its corrosive nature, Fix-a-Flat can also damage your rim by
splattering all over it. While it begins as a liquid, Fix-a-Flat quickly
converts into a dry, stiff, and rigid foam. As the tire moves, some of it
also gets on the rim.
If you leave it in for too long, the foam will harden and stick to the rim.
Removing it is so labor-intensive and time-consuming that many tire
businesses don't offer the service.
You can try removing it yourself. But typically, car owners are forced to
buy a replacement.
Ruins The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Modern cars rely on a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to monitor
tire pressure. This system measures the pressure through a tiny hole in the
When you fill the tire with Fix-a-Flat, it also seals this hole. So,
unfortunately, the TPMS won't get a reading with the hole plugged.
Its corrosive properties can also damage the TPMS sensor, forcing you to
Now, even if the sensor works fine, you'll have to pay an industrious
repairman to clean the equipment.
Endangers The Tire's Integrity
Fix-a-Flat relies on your tire's centrifugal force for even distribution
inside the tire. However, there is no telling that it did cover the entire
surface evenly. Therefore, there are bound to be some areas where the
concentration of the product is heavier than the others.
If you leave it in the tire, the foam will eventually harden, causing the
weight inside the tire to be uneven. The uneven weight distribution will
make the tire unbalanced. Thus, uneven tire wear. Driving an unbalanced
tire with an uneven tread is dangerous, especially in wet and snowy
How Long Should You Drive After Filling A Tire With Fix-a-Flat?
It would be best if you drove a distance of two to four miles after
filling a tire with Fix-a-Flat. Doing so helps the product spread
uniformly throughout the tire. It also helps agitate the liquid to
raise the pressure inside the tire.
As you can clearly read in the product's directions, you should immediately drive your car 2 to 4 miles to help the sealant spread
. This step is crucial because it allows the sealant to coat the inside of
the tire. Doing so also ensures that it goes through the punctured hole and
plugs it to prevent air escaping.
If you don't move, the Earth's gravity will keep the product in one place.
But when you drive around, the tire's centrifugal force helps uniformly
spread it, so the foam does not collect in one place only.
And as the liquid is agitated, the air pressure inside the tire increases,
making up for the air that leaked due to the puncture.
Can I Put Air In My Tire After Using Fix-a-Flat?
Yes, you can put air in your tire after using Fix-a-Flat.
Even though the
product fills your tire with enough air to get you back on the road, if
you feel that the air pressure is low, you can use a tire inflator to
fill your tire with more air.
The Fix-a-Flat canister has extra air to lift your rim off the ground. But
sometimes, this small amount of air is not enough to keep your vehicle
In such a situation, you can drive your car to the nearest auto repair shop
or use a portable tire inflator to put more air in the tire.
Should I Remove The Nail Before Using Fix-a-Flat?
You should remove the nail from the puncture hole before using
Fix-a-Flat. If you don't, it will prevent the sealant from plugging the
hole, so your tire won't be repaired.
It is a common belief that you should let the object that punctured your
tire stay in it when you use Fix-a-Flat. This is not true. You should
remove the nail or any other cause of puncture from the tire before you
fill it with Fix-a-Flat.
The reason is that when you let the culprit, say, the nail, stay in, it
will plug the hole.
And, when you fill the tire with Fix-a-Flat, it won't be able to seep into
the hole to seal it.
So, when you remove the nail after the treatment is complete, the hole
won't be repaired, leading to air loss again.
Removing the nail is crucial for Fix-a-Flat to work.
When you remove it before using Fix-a-Flat, the sealant will have a better
chance of finding its way into the hole and clogging it to prevent air from
Can You Use Fix-a-Flat In Cold Weather?
The Fix-a-Flat website says you can use the product in cold weather,
but we recommend against it. This is because Fix-a-Flat freezes at
temperatures below 32°F. So even if you thaw the frozen chemical, it
can refreeze once injected into the tire, throwing it off balance.
If the environmental temperature falls below 32°F, Fix-a-Flat will freeze.
According to the FAQs on the website, if the can or the product inside is
not damaged in any way, you can thaw it with your car's heater and use it
They further explain that if you have already filled the product in a tire
and freezing weather is predicted, you should immediately take the car to a
tire shop to remove it.
So you shouldn't use Fix-a-Flat in cold weather.
Even after thawing it, the cold weather will make it freeze solid again
inside the tire. This is because it needs to stay in a liquid or foamy
state to work. But if it becomes solid inside the tire, it will make it
unbalanced and risky to drive.
How To Remove Fix-a-Flat From Tire?
According to the Fix-a-Flat website, Fix-a-Flat cleans up easily with soapy water and a shop rag.
When it is in liquid form, it is water-soluble, so you can clean your
tire fairly easily. But if it has hardened, you'll have a hard time
prying and scrapping the foam out of the tire.
Removing this sealant from the tire is essential for proper repair.
Most tire shops properly clean the tire before repairing it. But there's a
catch — they'll do it if you are at the shop before the sealant has
Once Fix-a-Flat has dried, it becomes a stiff foam that is very difficult
to remove from the tire.
Here is how to remove Fix-a-Flat from a tire:
Take a razor blade or putty knife to cut the seal around the tire's
Drain the residual liquid from the tire.
Take some soapy water and pour it into the tire.
Now take a rag and use it to spread the soapy water all over the tire
Rinse with clean water and dry using a paper towel.
Removing Fix-a-Flat from the tire is a bit different when it has dried.
Here are some ways to remove it after cutting the seal around the rim.
Scrape With A Blunt Object
Before you engage in an elaborate cleaning ritual, try scraping the sealant
out as much as possible.
Use a blunt tool like a putty knife or screwdriver to scrape away as much
of it as possible.
Once you have scraped most of the sealant out, you can move forward with
any of the cleaning procedures described below.
Spray WD40 Lubricant
WD40 is a multipurpose solution that you can use for lubrication, cleaning,
and more. When you spray the WD40 lubricant on the Fix-a-Flat sealant, the
oily formulation helps break the sealant's grip on the tire and rim.
Let it sit for a few minutes after spraying, then use a microfiber towel to
clean the sticky goo quickly.
Apply A Brake Cleaner Or Degreaser
Like WD40, brake cleaners and degreasers are also oil-based products. You
can use any of these to soften the sludge before removing it.
Once the excess is out, you can use an abrasive pad to scrub off the
residue. Be careful because if you go too deep, it can damage the tire.
Clean With Detergent Water Mixture
Removing the sticky element using a mixture of detergent and water is
Squirt some of the soapy solution on the inside of the tire and use a brush
to scrub it. Rinse with clean water afterward.
For maximum effectiveness, mix the detergent with warm or hot water.
Wipe With Mineral Spirits
Unscented mineral spirits are also very effective at removing dried sealant
from the tire and its rim.
You can soak an old rag in a mineral spirit and use it to wipe the affected
areas. Then, work on it until all the sticky stuff comes off.
Now rinse the area with water and dry it with a clean towel.
Fix-a-Flat is a temporary solution for a flat tire. It is designed to get
you rolling if you are stuck with no spare tire. It can get you far enough
to get your tire professionally repaired.
How long can you drive on a tire with Fix-a-Flat? You should not drive for
too long. One hundred miles or three days, to be exact.
And try to get it removed soon because if left in the tire for more than
three days, Fix-a-Flat will convert into a stiff, dry foam that can damage
your tire, TPMS, and the rim.