You’re ten miles out on a bike ride with your buddies when you hear and feel the dreaded air leaking from your tire. It’s a puncture, and you don’t want to go through the whole process of removing the tire, changing the tube, and putting everything back together.
Yes, Fix-A-Flat ® does work on bike tires if the puncture is one or a series of small holes. It only works on bike tires with inner tubes, so if you have tubeless tires, you’re on your own. It’s a temporary fix explicitly designed to get you back to base, where you can affect a more permanent repair.
If it’s not convenient to change the damaged bike tire, pumping an inflator and sealant into the tire from an aerosol is a workable solution, it gets you back on the road and headed to base in a short time.
Fix-A-Flat ® Does Work On Bike Tires
Fix-A-Flat ® has been sold under several brand names since it was first invented in 1970. Pennzoil purchased the brand in 1997, and Shell acquired Pennzoil in 2002, but it sold Fix-A-Flat ® in 2011.
While Shell owned the brand, it switched the propellant from the previous flammable compound to HFC-134a, which is non-flammable and safe.
Fix-A-Flat® was acquired by Illinois Tool Works (ITW) in 2011.
If your bike tire has an inner tube, Fix-A-Flat ® is an excellent product to carry. It quickly seals a puncture and inflates the tire, allowing you to get back to base without having to stop and go through the time-wasting hassle of taking the wheel off, repairing the tube, and reassembling all the parts. It needs no tire levers or patches and quickly inflates a 26-inch bicycle tire to 36 psi.
Fix-A-Flat is designed as a short-term puncture repair fix, which should last for approximately 30km. If you use it, you must remember to effect a more permanent repair as soon as possible.
How Does Fix-A-Flat ® Work?
Fix-A-Flat ® cans contain a liquid tire sealant and a small amount of air. Pushing the button propels a polymer latex-based tire sealant into your tire. Inside your tire, the latex foams and the negative pressure from the puncture forces the sealant into the hole, which it fills, and as it comes into contact with air, it solidifies and seals.
A water-based carrier contains corrosion inhibitors, which stop rust and other corrosive effects from damaging the wheel.
The product has a second phase which fills the tube with enough air to get the rim off the ground.
Fix-A-Flat ® sealant is water-based and is commonly used by cyclists. Latex costs less and doesn’t require additives such as fibers to the sealant.
Latex sealants are naturally coagulating and use Latex’s natural properties to seal the tire. Latex-based sealants are kept in a liquid state by mixing them with ammonia or, in Fix-A-Flat’s ® case, water; this means that if the mixture is still in the can, it can be stored almost indefinitely. We know people who have used the product after ten years, and it still works.
After a time, the remaining sealant solidifies, which results in the inside of the tire tube being coated in a solid, messy substance that is difficult to remove. If Fix-A-Flat ® gets on the bike rims and is not wiped off while in a liquid state, it will solidify and can only be removed using odorless mineral spirits.
What Are The Problems With Fix-A-Flat?
Fix-A-Flat ® forces the sealant into your flat tire to seal the leak and gas to fill the rest of the tire. It is a great emergency fix that quickly gets you back on the road. There are some downsides to using latex base sealers which we list below.
Fix-A-Flat ® Is A Short-Term Fix
Fix-A-Flat and other latex-based sealers leave goo inside your tire, which becomes very difficult to remove despite what you may hear.
Our experience is that, back at base, the best course of action is to install a new tube.
Fix-A-Flat ® Is Very Messy
Working with Fix-A-Flat can be very messy. A white foam mixture will spray out if you don’t get a tight seal on the valve. You will get it all over your hands, on the tire rim, and everywhere else you want to keep clean!
Be sure to wipe it off while it is in a liquid state, as once it solidifies, you will need odorless mineral spirits to remove it.
Fix-A-Flat ® Is Problematic in Regions With Extreme Temperatures
Being water-based, Fix-A-Flat ® changes consistency in colder weather, and if the temperatures are extreme enough, it will freeze, making it useless to fix your bike’s tire.
Of course, the reality is that only the hardiest extreme athletes will be riding their bikes in these conditions.
You also need to ensure that the product is not stored in temperatures higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fix-A-Flat ® Can’t Fix Big Punctures.
Fix-A-Flat ® is only able to fix a slow leak or small holes in your tire. You are having a really bad day, slash your tire on a sharp rock, and you end up with a rip in the tire; Fix-A-Flat ® is not suitable and won’t be able to fill this puncture.
If you try to fix a big puncture, you will end up with Fix-A-Flat ® slime spewing everywhere, on itself, on the ground, and knowing Murphy’s law, all over you.
Fix-A-Flat Could Damage Your Wheel Rim.
Fix-A-Flat is discharged as a liquid that hardens into a very stiff, dry foam. It will get all over your rim, and if you don’t clean it off while it is in a liquid state, it is difficult to remove.
The manufacturer recommends using odorless mineral spirits to get the gunk off in this instance.
Fix-A-Flat is an excellent solution to temporarily fix small punctures in bike tires and get you back on the road.
It is not designed to be a long-term fix, and the tire’s inner tube must be repaired, or more likely replaced, as soon as possible.