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An alternative to “spare”? Tips for car repair

An alternative to "spare"? Tips for car repair 1

Alternative to ‘reserve’?

This question was asked by us, experts of the expert group “A few incredulous guys”, engaged in consumer tests of automotive components. We decided to find the answer by conducting comparative tests of several samples of sealants in conditions as close as possible to reality.

The question of how efficient and convenient aerosol formulations are to use to “treat” punctures is by no means an idle one. More and more automakers are depriving new models of their cars of not only a full-size spare tire, but also the so-called “donut tire”. And in the niche at the bottom of the trunk, only a compressor and spray can with a special tool for eliminating punctures are laid. But those whose car is equipped with a fifth wheel will surely recall more than one case from their practice when one of the wheels was punctured and replaced with a spare one. The further path in this case goes in a very nervous atmosphere with the thought that God forbid not to puncture another wheel, there will be nothing to replace it. And well, if in such a situation, tire fitting is close … But what if, as they say, go and go to him? Perhaps for those who often travel away from civilization, it is still worth having a can of sealant in the trunk? Will he allow me to fix a puncture?

We agreed to help us conduct comparative tests in St. Petersburg. Tire Plus tire center specialists on Petrovsky Island provided at our complete disposal the required number of brand new identical tires of dimension 175 / 65R14 and tire fitting equipment. The condition that the tires should be of the same dimension and new, we initially set when looking for opportunities for this test. Indeed, only in this case, the conditions of the comparative test will be as correct and reproducible as possible for all tested samples. Indeed, in tires of different dimensions, the sealant will spread in different ways and in a large tire, the composition will cornily spread over its bowels and will get to the puncture site in less quantity than in a small wheel. The big difference in the age of the wheel can also affect. The rubber of the inner surface of the old tire is inevitably mottled with a network of microcracks. And on such a surface, the sealant will flow in a completely different way than in a completely new wheel.

Abro tire repair spray

Specified Manufacturer – Abro Industries, Inc. (USA) The composition of the cylinder was able to raise the initial pressure in the wheel to the level of 0.7 bar. While the inscription on the balloon promised that the wheel would be pumped up to 2.4 atm! Deceives the instruction and promises to eliminate the puncture of the wheel within 1 minute. The air leak did not stop either after the first or even after the tenth minute. Moreover, during this time, the entire sealing compound leaked out of the tire through the control puncture. As a result, the sample was removed from the test..

Tire Repair Spray Auchan

The specified manufacturer – Car Plan Tetrosil LTD (Great Britain) Although there is a bravura promise on the label of this sample “instantly eliminate any puncture”, in reality everything is much sadder. It took a long 10 minutes for the foam to thicken in the hole of the control puncture and stop the leakage of air from the wheel. The wheel was pumped up only to 0.6 atm. In addition, the foam from this balloon sticks to your hands so much that we recommend wearing gloves before using it. The sealant that got into the wheel caused his strong imbalance – 65 grams. Driving above 50-60 km / h may cause damage to the suspension.

So, the site for the correct comparative tests is prepared. And we went to buy samples. We will not hide our disappointment. We expected to find and compare at least 7-8 samples of sealants. But what was our surprise when, in dozens of stores in Moscow and St. Petersburg, before our eyes were presented cylinders with sealants from the same manufacturers. The most common were formulations from Abro, Hi-Gear, Holts and Liqui Moly. We bought them. And completely unexpectedly, the company Auchan, which we bought in the supermarket of the same name, made up these well-known brands..

The test program for these 5 samples developed by us was very simple. On the side of the tread opposite the valve, a puncture with a diameter of 6 millimeters is made, which we will try to eliminate by introducing sealant into the bowels of the wheel. The most distant point of the wheel is selected in order to maximally complicate the task of conveying the composition of the sealant to the puncture. Wheel repair will be done in strict accordance with the instructions on the bottle. Well, we will observe whether the composition is capable of plugging a puncture hole. We will also measure the pressure generated by the gases injected into the cylinder with the sealant in the punctured wheel, while immediately after the puncture, the pressure in it will be brought to zero. Well, at the end of the test, those wheels that stop the air leak will be checked for imbalance, based on which it will be concluded whether normal movement can continue on them.

By the way, it is immediately worth noting the fact that all manufacturers give different recommendations about in which position of the punctured wheel it is necessary to add a rescue team to it. The Abro instructions say that the valve must be positioned within 5 to 7 hours of the dial. Holts offers to raise it in the range from 10 to 2 hours. In the instructions for Hi-Gear and Auchan there is not a word about this at all. And the Liqui Moly instruction, which advises us to orient the wheel so that the puncture in it was at the bottom of the wheel, seemed to us the most thoughtful in this regard. It’s logical, because in this case the train, hitting the tire, will most likely get to the puncture site and “get to work”.

But further in the instructions a complete bacchanalia begins. And we have the opinion that all this confusion is the result of too free, and sometimes absolutely superficial translations of instructions. We advise all manufacturers to carefully and carefully approach this procedure. After all, compliance by the consumer with the recommendations of an illiterate translation in the best case will not give him any results, in the worst it will bring even more damage than there was. Some manufacturers advise, as soon as the sealant is poured into the wheel, immediately pump it up to the recommended pressure. Others are optimistic that the cylinder containing the sealant will restore pressure in the tire if you let the contents of the tire into the wheel completely. But in the case of a serious puncture, which we are going to imitate, both of these recommendations are essentially meaningless. After all, the required pressure in the tire will not be able to create either a compressor or excessive gas pressure in the cylinder. The air will leave the wheel unhindered through an unmade hole.

Read on. All sealant manufacturers recommend immediately after emptying the cylinder to start moving the vehicle “at a moderate speed”. The distance of the “repair” trip is offered different. Hi-Gear asks to drive 1-2 km, and Abro – 3. All other manufacturers are even more optimistic. In their opinion, it is necessary to drive 10-15 km on the tire into which the contents of the cylinder with the sealant have just been released. The general meaning of the recommendations is clear. The sealant composition that has got into the wheel spreads over its bowels, the adhesive will be delivered to the puncture and seal it. And excess sealing compound under the action of centrifugal force as evenly distributed on the inner surface of the wheel, without causing its imbalance.

It’s like that. But only if you drive even a couple of kilometers on a tire whose pressure does not reach at least 1 atm, then its sidewalls will inevitably collapse. And the wheel will be unsuitable for further operation …

Therefore, to conduct the tests, we developed the following algorithm of actions. The wheel is punctured and after the air pressure in it drops to zero, the sealant composition is introduced into it. Immediately after that, we fix what air pressure in the wheel could create the gases of the cylinder with the sealant. Then, if the pressure in the wheel is less than the norm of 2 atm, we pump it up and use a machine suspended on a lift to simulate movement over a distance of 2 km at a speed of 40 km / h. After that, we will check whether the wheel is tight and restore its imbalance. And based on these data, we conclude whether the wheel is suitable for further full-fledged operation. So, five tires are collected on disks and balanced. The wheel is mounted on the car and a control puncture is made in it. Whistling air leaves the tire, which quickly enough completely descends and the rim of the disk touches the supporting surface.

The first in the battle we sent the composition of Hi-Gear. Foamy composition on a transparent tube rushed into the wheel, which for
minutes, until the cylinder was empty, it rose significantly from the floor. We measure the pressure. The pressure gauge shows 0.7 atm. This is clearly not enough for movement. In addition, the foam composition rapidly leaves the wheel through a puncture. After a couple of minutes of “driving” by car, it was audible that the air was still leaving the tire, but less and less active. We remove the wheel and place it in a bath of water, where it immediately becomes apparent that small air bubbles form at the puncture site. But literally three minutes later they disappeared. The wheel regained tightness! Is it possible to ride it? Quite as the check on the balancing machine showed. Wheel imbalance reached 20 grams – an indicator acceptable when driving at speeds up to 100 km / h.

Hi-Gear Tire Repair Spray

Specified Manufacturer – Hi-Gear Products, Inc. (USA) This compound thickened quickly enough in the puncture. Although the manufacturer honestly reports that this sealant will help to cope with damage to the wheel measuring only 4.5 mm. In our case, the sealant did the job more seriously, eliminating the 6 mm hole. The wheel imbalance turned out to be quite acceptable for the further movement of the car – 20 grams. But, alas, only in the summer. In the cold of minus 20, the composition simply froze inside the tire. But even at this moment, the manufacturer is just as honest with us – the instructions say that the composition should have a temperature of at least plus 15 degrees …

Tire repair spray Holts

The specified manufacturer – Holt Lloyd Products (Great Britain). The cylinder raised the pressure in the punctured wheel to 0.9 atm. Record of our test. But at the same time, the inscription on the cylinder promises a pressure of at least 1.2 to 2.5 atm! We especially note the extremely successful valve design on the cylinder cover – it is enough to just turn it and wait until the train enters the wheel. Very comfortably. But the composition thickened for a long time – more than 10 minutes. And the wheel imbalance turned out to be the largest in our test – 75 grams. This is unacceptable for normal further movement of the car..

Tire repair spray Liqui Moly

Price – 435 rub.
The specified manufacturer is Likvi Moli GMBH (Germany). The initial pressure in the wheel after introducing the contents of the can into it reached insignificant 0.4 atm. But the sealant coped with its direct task perfectly. The puncture was sealed up very quickly – in less than 5 minutes. The wheel imbalance was extremely slight and amounted to only 10 grams. On such a wheel, it is quite possible to continue driving at any, even very large, speeds. We recognize this sample as the winner of our test..

The second test was the composition of Liqui Moly. He could pump the wheel only to the level of 0.4 atm. However, this pressure is literally melting before our eyes. Gas from the cylinder without any obstacles leaves the tire together with the working composition of the sealant. We pump up the wheel, “drive” 2 kilometers. And we get a result similar to the first sample – a small air leak, which was gradually eliminated by the composition thickening in the puncture within three to four minutes. The wheel only needs to be pumped up to working pressure and it is quite possible to go on it! Moreover, as it turned out, with any, even the highest speed. The imbalance amounted to barely perceptible 10 grams.

The third Holts sample in our tests, we recognize as the most convenient to handle. It is equipped with a convenient valve that regulates the introduction of the sealant into the tire. A small rotary knob reduces all problems to zero – turned it and wait until the cylinder is empty. While the remaining four cylinders for a half to two minutes, you need to press and hold a finger with a fairly tight key on its cover. The task, frankly, for a strong male hand. Female, if she copes with it, it is not without prejudice to manicure. Holts set an intermediate record for our test. He was able to pump the wheel to 0.9 atm. The pressure, of course, is low, but in case of emergency, for example, if the compressor fails, you can drive several kilometers at extremely low speed on such a wheel. And then disappointment followed. When simulating a two-kilometer race, the sealant foam so actively left the wheel through the puncture, so that the entire wheel niche of our aggregate carrier was dirty. The tire actively poisoned the air with foam even after the car stopped. And only ten minutes later, when we were about to remove this sample from further testing, the air leak stopped. However, the fiction was disqualified anyway. The wheel imbalance was completely unacceptable and amounted to 75 grams! Another record of our test. Alas, with a minus sign. With such an imbalance, movement can only be continued until the nearest tire fitting. And even then at a speed of no higher than 50-60 km / h. Otherwise, the repair of the suspension and steering gear cannot be avoided …

An unpleasant surprise was presented by Auchan sealant. The fact is that the remnants of the composition inevitably fall into the hands when unscrewing the hose from the valve of the wheel after the cylinder is empty. But if for all samples the sealant that fell on the hand was easily washed off with water, then the foam of the Auchan sample turned out to be so sticky that it was possible to wash it with great difficulty. There is only one conclusion – work with gloves … The pressure in the Auchan wheel has increased only to 0.6 atm. And it thickened in the puncture hole and eliminated the air leak as slowly and reluctantly as the previous sample. When, finally, the foam sealed the puncture, it turned out that the wheel imbalance is also unacceptable for normal further operation – 65 grams.

Expert opinion

Vasily Gavrilov, shift master Petrovsky tire center Tire Plus:
“I am skeptical of similar sealant bottles. In the event of a serious puncture or cut of the wheel, as well as in case of damage to the sidewall, they will be absolutely useless. But with minor punctures, such a spray can quite help. Of the samples that we checked, I recommend Liqui Moly – it quickly sealed and punctured and the subsequent wheel imbalance did not arise. This tool can be carried with you in the trunk. Hi-Gear with a puncture wheel also coped perfectly well and the imbalance was small. But, as it turned out, he is afraid of frost and freezes very quickly. You won’t get far on such a wheel in winter. Compounds Holts and Auchan can also seal a puncture. But with such an imbalance, the maximum that the wheel that was repaired by these sealants is capable of in the future is to allow it to slowly reach civilization and already there to do a full wheel repair on a tire fitting. In general, I advise everyone to have a set of repair harnesses in the car. In use, they are very simple and convenient. In addition, unlike liquid sealants, they can patch a puncture in the sidewall. Well, anyone with a screwdriver or wrench can handle these harnesses. ”

Well, the fifth sample – Abro – we shot from a distance. He could not stop the air leak from the wheel. During the “check-in” and within a few minutes after it, almost the entire sealing compound “kicked out” of the tire through a puncture.

So, two samples – Hi-Gear and Liqui Moly – coped with the task. A large 6 mm puncture is successfully sealed, the imbalance is quite acceptable. But … Why, in the instructions on the cylinders, manufacturers recommend using these compounds only when heated, heating them in the winter, for example, with a stove in the car. How will they behave in the cold? Check it out! The benefit on the street is minus 20. Both applicants for victory in our test on the street! The result shocked us. Hi-Gear began to instantly thicken and after 15 minutes it froze. We did not spoil one of the balancing machines of the Petrovsky Tire Center. And so it was clear that the imbalance would be outrageous. On the wheel, inside which such a huge clot of ice appeared, it will simply be impossible to drive above the first gear – the suspension will instantly break.

We recognize Liqui Moly as the winner of our test. We recommend that you carry the can of this sealing compound just in case, even if there is a spare tire there. In the case of a small puncture, Liqui Moly will do without the cumbersome procedure of changing the wheel and, in principle, the subsequent visit to the tire fitting. Although the Germans honestly asked in the final instructions on the balloon “not to forget to repair the tire in a workshop expertly”.


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