All too often, you will need to stop and repair a trailer tire just when the family is settled in the car or truck, ready to go. Trailer tires must be repaired from the inside as their liner is made to hold air more effectively than an inner tube. Follow these directions to repair your trailer tire speedily and safely.

Step 1 – Remove the Tire and Wheel from the Trailer

Block all the trailer wheels not being removed. Loosen the wheel lug nuts 1/2 their turning distance. Jack up the trailer so the wheel and tire are well clear of the ground, and finish releasing the wheel lug nuts to remove the wheel.

Step 2 – Remove the Tire from the Rim

Deflate the tire completely by pressing in on the valve stem with a flathead screwdriver. Insert a small pry bar at the point where the tire is flattest, and work around the rim with two pry bars or screwdrivers to free the tire bead from the wheel rim. Turn the wheel over onto the wood or cinder block and work the bead off the rim on the reverse side.

Step 3 – Inspect the Tire for the Source of Damage

If the tire has a puncture less than 1/4 inch in size, you can plug it from the outside and patch it on the inside. If there is a cut that is confined to the tread area, it can be repaired with a suitable patch. If the damage is to the sidewall or the tire bead, replace the tire rather than repair it.

Step 4 – Clean the Inner Liner

Use a natural bristle brush that is moderately stiff to clean the inner liner and define the cut or puncture area. Rub over the damaged area with a small piece of medium-grit sandpaper to clear away rubber filaments.

Step 5 – Prepare the Patch Area and Apply Patch

Apply a thin, even coat of rubber cement over the damaged area. Choose a suitable patch that will cover the area and about 1/2 inch on all sides beyond it. Place the patch on the rubber cement and smooth it out completely. The patch must be able to hold air after it is attached. Use the patch roller to apply pressure to the patch and the rubber cement so the patch is firmly affixed on all edges.

Step 6 – Refit the Trailer Tire to the Rim

Reinsert the tire’s valve stem at the correct spot. Slip the trailer tire onto the rim and force the tire bead under the curved rim with a pry bar or flathead screwdriver. Press firmly but evenly to avoid damaging the tire bead.

Step 7 – Refill the Tire with Air

Fill the tire from the air compressor, checking that it holds air again. If so, reattach it to the trailer. If not, inflate and install the full-size spare tire you should have for your trailer.

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