We’ve all heard it: that slow hissing sound that says that you have a slow leak in your car’s precious tires. Slow leaks are a major cause of tire replacements and fixing them can typically be done with only a modicum of personal effort.
It usually starts like this: you’re on the road, and you hit an object or knick a pothole and suddenly you’ve got a slow leak that darn near ruins your day. Being unprepared could leave you stranded along the side of the road, but if you keep your cool, you can easily repair this damage by using a tire sealant. Tire sealants are great tools that will help you save money on new tires and revitalize your existing tires so that they will last for hundreds of additional miles.
There are a few different types of tire sealant to look out for; how each of these handles your slow leak varies, but both do a great job at making your tires roadworthy again. Here are three of the most common:
Liquid Rubber: This type utilizes a liquefied rubber-like solution that is typically made of latex. Once administered to the tire, the solution interacts with the compressed air inside and hardens; plugging the hole. Unfortunately, these types of sealants can contain harsh chemicals that can also do damage to your rims, so proceed with caution when applying.
Flake-Style: This style of sealant is also called a fiber/chip sealant. These types of flake-style tire sealants actually have small flakes of material floating in a solution. You inject this type of sealant into your tire where it mixes with the pressurized air. Once you’ve started moving your tire, the centrifugal force of your tire’s rotation forces the fibers and flakes to the outside of the wheel. When this happens, the fibers inside interact with the flakes by wrapping around them and collectively forming a stopper for the hole; effectively ending the slow leak.
Fix-A-Flat-Style: These are a onetime use style of product. Typically, these sealants come in a pressurized can that you place directly onto your tire’s Schrader valve. Once attached, you engage the button and the can both distributes a latex solution that fixes the flat and inflates the tire simultaneously.
Features to Look For
When trying to find an effective tire sealant, it’s best to know how the solutions that are used in the sealant will affect your tires. As we’ve mentioned, these products can have a caustic and damaging effect on your rims. If you’re planning on using one of these products, try to exercise some due diligence through research first. Fortunately, we’ll be reviewing several products in this guide so that you’ll have a good idea about some great products for sealing your tires.
|Tire Sealant||Best Design Feature||Price||Rating|
|Berryman – Tire Seal-R Sealant with Pump, One Gallon||This won’t corrode your tires due to corrosion inhibitors||$31.99||4.6/5|
|Hutchinson Fast’Air Latex Aerosol Inflator||This is a quick way to both inflate and fix a flat||$12.99||4.5/5|
|Slime 10163 Tubeless Tire Sealant, One Gallon||This is a very non-toxic solution that won’t damage your tires||$24.88||4.8/5|
|Stan’s No Tubes Tire Sealant, 32 ounces||Requires only two ounces to fill a bike tire||$24.95||4.5/5|
|Ride-On Tire Balancer and Sealant – Eight ounces||Also balances your tires for a smoother ride||$14.27||4.7/5|
|Briggs & Stratton 100033R Tire Sealant- 32-Ounce||This product is guaranteed for the life of the vehicle||$18.67 |
|Rock-N-Road Products Tire Sealant, One Gallon||Will also inhibit rust accumulation||$23.95||4.5/5|
The Berryman Tire Seal-R is a simple tire sealant that will quickly repair even the most damaged of tires with a relatively easy process. This version of their product comes with a dedicated pump that quickly distributes a copious amount of the sealant into the interior of the damaged tire.
Once you’ve removed the valve core of your tire, which may take some time if you don’t have a dedicated tool, you simply attach the provided tube and pump the handle a few times. The substance that enters your tire has several fibers that bond with other particles in order to form a plug at the puncture site.
Unlike some of the other tire sealants on the market, Seal-R will actually inhibit potential tire issues like rust and corrosion; ensuring that your tire will have an even longer serviceable lifetime. Some tire sealers eventually solidify, which can cause balance issues inside your tire due to the effects of centrifugal force on the solid product. Seal-R actually stays liquid permanently so that your tire’s inherent balance and ability to turn is in no way hindered.
In addition to these features, the solution is completely biodegradable and works great in tires that develop porosity leaks due to an aluminum or magnesium composition.
Our second product works like the fix-a-flat variety that we mentioned previously. This tire sealer is designed to quickly fix any punctures in your tire so that you can get back on the road quickly. In addition to fixing the slow leak, this product also inflates your tire, which is perfect for tires that need up to 90 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI).
To administer this product to your tire, simply unscrew your valve cap, remove the valve core, and place the included tube over the valve. Once screwed onto the valve, press down on the flat, round button on the top of the can to apply the aerated latex mousse to the inside of your tire. Once your tire begins to rotate again, the mousse is evenly distributed along the inside of your tire, creating an air tight seal throughout the entirety of the inside of your tire.
Simultaneously as the mousse is being distributed, CO2 is also being injected into the tire; causing it to inflate. This dual functionality is perfect for quickly getting you back on the road when you need to be.
Slime is one of the most iconic names when it comes to tire sealing. Slime originally consisted of fibers and chips that were set in a glycol-based solution, which was also non-toxic and non-corrosive. After the advent of latex-based tire sealants, slime also started to provide a latex "pro" offering, but they still offer their original formulation, which does an excellent job at sealing your tire when you need it.
This sealant has a great, unique feature: it comes with a cap that you can use to quickly remove the valve core of your tire. This makes the process easy; after the core is removed you can simply pump the appropriate amount of the Slime sealant into the interior of your tire. The sealant works to plug up any internal holes and will last up to a full two years.
Cleaning up any spilled solution is also very easy; Slime’s sealant is made to be water soluble, so simply apply a wet rag to clean the tire down quickly. As mentioned before, some sealants can actually cause damage to your tire due to harsh chemicals. Slime’s sealant is designed to use relatively mild chemicals that are non-flammable and non-toxic.
Another iconic tire sealant, Stan’s tire sealant’s claim to fame is its ability to repair a tire with as little as two ounces of the solution. The bottle itself is also gradated so that when you use the solution, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to administer in order to repair slow leaks in the tire’s structure.
As a tubeless style of sealant, this product goes directly into the body of the tire and centrifugal force distributes the solution throughout the tire’s internals. Stan’s can repair a hole in your tire that’s up to a full quarter inch thick; a great feat that’ll get you rolling again in almost no time flat.
Ride-On’s tire sealant actually manages to include another function into its overall offering: balancing. While not the same as a typical wheel balance, the chemical makeup of this product does help hydro-dynamically balance the internals of your tires; all while sealing up any slow leaks that may exist in the superstructure. This product does this by applying the unique formula to the entire surface of the inner tire, sealing small holes as it adheres.
This product is primarily designed for motorcycles, but it can easily provide slow leak protection for cars as well. To apply this product to your tires, you’ll first have to remove the Schrader valve cap, and then use a separate tool to remove the internal valve core. Once the core is removed, you’ll have to remove the cap on the product and cut the tip off of the bottle. Using a plastic tube, squeeze the product into the tire’s valve. Ride-On made measuring the amount of solution relatively easy by placing a gradation along the side of the bottle so that you’ll always know how much you are using.
After you’re done, simply clean up any excess sealant and re-inflate the tire to its suggested PSI level. In addition to helping fix existing punctures, Ride-On’s Tire Protection System also provides a degree of protection from future holes.
This sealant comes in an injector that makes using this in your tire very easy. The first thing you’ll notice about this sealant is that it comes with a tire pressure gauge that fits both presta and Schrader valves. This feature will let you administer the tire sealant to your tire, then inflate the tire, and finally accurately gauge its pressure.
Like the Ride-On product, this sealant is designed to be administered via a squeeze bottle. Like that product, this one also has a gradation on the side so that you’ll know exactly how much of the substance you are using at a time. Just like some of the other products in this guide, you’ll need to rotate the tires in order to distribute the sealant.
The company recommends that this product be used primarily in tractors, off-road vehicles, and cement mixers. One great feature of this sealant is the fact that Briggs & Stratton guarantees its effectiveness for the life of the tire.
Our final product comes in a large capacity and also protects against rust and is designed to be non-corrosive to metal rims. Designed to be completely non-toxic and non-flammable, this product is perfect for many tire sealing needs. Simply place the pump and tube assembly that comes with this product into the bottle and attach it to a valve that’s already had its core removed.
Next, pump the solution into the tire and drive the vehicle around to ensure that the fiber and particles correctly bind and form a cogent seal. The seal that is formed is also biodegradable and has neither petroleum nor Ethylene.
Simply put, it’s extremely annoying to find out that you have a flat tire or you are even noticing a slow leak. Fortunately, these products will help you make your car ready for the road once more; without a lot of fuss. Each of the products that we’ve featured here will do an excellent job returning your car to tip-top shape, so pick any as you please.
If you’re looking for which sealant that we’d pick out of the products we reviewed, we’d pick the Slime 10163 Tubeless Tire Sealant, One Gallon. Slime is one of the originators of this technology and their fibers, chips, and glycol solution does an absolute excellent job of helping seal slow leaks. Also, the sealant comes with a cap that you can use to remove the valve core, which allows you to administer the product easily. In addition to this, it’s also a product that’s non-flammable, non-corrosive, and non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about fumes or problems with your rims.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the overall best bang for your buck, we really also loved the Ride-On Tire Balancer and Sealant. It’s a relatively cheap product; it’s about 15 bucks, and it also provides a balancing to your tires. This balancing effect is really valuable because it fully smooths out your ride, which is a nice additional feature of the sealant.