Tyre sealant: Parkers’ guide

Tyre sealants are space-saving alternatives to space-saver wheels. What is tyre sealant and how does it work? Welcome to the Parkers guide.

A flat tyre on a car

by Chris Williams |

Tyre sealants have largely replaced spare tyres in new cars and as a means of addressing a puncture, they are an easy, fast, and effective means to do so.

But what is tyre sealant? How does it work? Which sealants are best? All these questions are answered here in Parkers’ guide to tyre sealants.

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How does tyre sealant work?

Tyre sealant is an adhesive gel. It gets injected into the punctured tyre via the tyre’s valve with a compressor. This compressor may have been supplied with your car when it came out of the factory, but if you don’t have one, you can easily purchase one in a kit and subsequently top up with sealant if and when you need to.

Once inside the tyre, the sealant gel will fill the inside, sealing the puncture in the process. The tyre can then be inflated with an inflator.

Does tyre sealant work?

Tyre sealant is an effective temporary fix for punctures that allows you to get off the hard shoulder and to the nearest garage to get a replacement tyre or permanent puncture repair. They are not a permanent fix. Most are rated for driving no more than 100 or so miles.

What’s more, there are limitations in terms of the size of the puncture sealants can deal with. Most are capable of dealing with punctures of around 6mm (or a quarter of an inch). If you have a large blowout you’re going to need to call roadside assistance.

The best tyre sealants

It’s a lot of responsibility, repairing peoples’ car tyres. Thus, there are only a small number of names that we recommend to you:

AirMan ResQ Emergancy Tyre Repair Kit

Editoru2019s pick
AirMan ResQ Emergancy Tyre Repair Kit
Amazon

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Max puncture size: 6mm | Max driving distance: 125 miles | Tyre Pressure Monitoring System Safe

This is the brand used by a number of car manufacturers themselves, including Ford, Volkswagen, Peugeot, and Volvo. It comes with a compressor and is an all-in-one system where the sealant is pumped into the tyre by the compressor and very effective.

The sealant is non-toxic and water-based and can be rinsed out to allow for a proper puncture repair. The volume of sealant here is 450ml - enough for wheels up to 21". If your car has smaller wheels, there is a smaller kit suitable for wheels up to 17".

Slime Smart Repair Emergency Tyre Sealant

Runner up
Slime Smart Repair Emergency Tyre Sealant
Amazon

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Max puncture size: 6mm | Max driving distance: 100 miles | Tyre Pressure Monitoring System Safe

Slime is another highly trusted name in tyre care. Its tyre sealant works in a similar way to the AirMan kit and to a similar effect. This compressor has the replaceable sealant refill in it, so all you need to do is plug it into a 12V socket and to the tyre valve and press go. Like the AirMan gel, this can also be removed in order to undertake a permanent puncture repair, but Slime advises it needs to be removed within three days.

AirMan Tyre Sealant 450ml

Best tyre sealant
AirMan Tyre Sealant 450ml
Amazon

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Max puncture size: 6mm | Max driving distance: 125 miles | Tyre Pressure Monitoring System Safe

If you already have a tyre compressor or need a refill, this is our top recommendation. It's exactly the same sealant as you'll find in the AirMan kit above and therefore performs exactly the same. It can be used with any standard compressor.

Ring Automotive Tyre Sealant 450ml

Trustworthy alternative
Ring Automotive Tyre Sealant 450ml
Amazon

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Max puncture size: 6mm | Max driving distance: 125 miles | Tyre Pressure Monitoring System Safe

Ring Automotive is the other name that we can recommend here. Not only is its tyre sealant very good, so too are a number of its products including tyre inflators and jump starters. They are reliable and effective. The sealant is almost identical to that of the AirMan sealant. Non-toxic and can be used with most tyre inflators.

How to use a tyre sealant

It’s easier than changing a tyre. Depending on the brand of sealant you will either insert the sealant first and then inflate a tyre, or it’ll be an all in one, where you plug in the compressor’s 12V plug into the car’s socket, attach the bottle of sealant to the compressor, attach the compressor the tyre valve and switch on the compressor. The tyre will both be repaired and inflated.

Further information

Having repaired a puncture with sealant, we hope common sense dictates that you alter your driving style to err considerably more on the side of caution. Keep your speed as low as practical.

The maximum distance one can drive on a repaired tyre is a guideline. There are factors that vary this so it pays to drive as little distance as possible on the repaired tyre. For example, a puncture that is positioned in the middle tread will be easier to seal and therefore be stronger than one on the sidewall. And naturally, larger punctures are a bit harder to seal and will not last as long as smaller ones.

Tyre sealants do have expiry dates. It certainly pays not to use a sealant that has gone beyond its expiry date because it will be less likely to properly plug a puncture effectively.

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