If you’re a regular driver, you may have had the bad luck of experiencing a broken tire bead.
Hitting the curb or pothole, or even a quick sharp turn can result in an unseated tire bead, making the tire impossible to re-inflate.
Reseating the bead by taking it to a workshop might not be the most viable option when you’re left stranded in the middle of a road.
But do not worry because there is a rather quick (albeit dangerous) fix to pop a tire back on the rim.
All you need is some combustible fluid, a source of ignition, and a little faith in science. Just spray a little starter fluid outside the rim, and light it on fire. The expanding gas will push the sidewalls of the tire up and out, causing the tire bead to snap back into place.
List Of Items Needed To Pop A Tire Back On The Rim/Bead
You would require the following items to perform this task:
- A Starter fluid, parts cleaner, or WD-40
- Some means of ignition such a lighter or matchstick
- A fire extinguisher (to put out the fire if it gets out of control)
How To Seat/Pop A Tire Back On The Rim With Fire? (Step by Step)
Follow the steps outlined below to properly seat a tire back on the bead:
Step 1: Lift the tire up from the ground
Elevate the wheel off the ground with the help of a jack. If you’ve already disassembled the wheel, place the rim inside the tire and lay it flat on the ground.
Don’t have a jack?
Well, don’t worry you can check out our guide to jacking up a car without a jack!
Step 2: Spray some starter fluid around the bead of the tire
Carefully spray some starter fluid in the cavity created by the rim and the sidewall of the tire.
Make sure you don’t spray too much of the liquid as that might damage the sidewall of the tire.
Once you’ve sprayed it around the entire bead, spray a little off the edge of the tire and onto the floor in a straight line.
Be extremely cautious with the amount of fluid that you spray onto the wheel.
Starter fluid is highly flammable. Using exorbitant amounts of such combustible liquid can cause a fire that might be difficult to contain.
Due to this reason, always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Step 3: Light up the starter fluid 🔥
Using a lighter, matchstick, or whatever source of ignition you have, light up the starter fluid starting from the link you previously made on the ground.
This step must be carried out immediately after spraying the tire bead so that the fluid does not evaporate away.
You might want to step back and distance yourself a bit after this step as it will cause an explosion.
Step 4: Let the gases ignite
The fire will cause the gases in the wheel to ignite and expand rapidly.
This sudden expansion of gases (an explosion) will cause the tire beads to move along the wheel and catch the grooves, seating them back in place.
As soon as you hear a popping sound, put out the fire as soon as possible.
This indicates that your tire is seated back onto the rim.
Step 5: Pump air into the tire
Finally, pump air into the tire using an air pump and you’re all set to hit the road again!
Side Effects Of Popping Your Tire On The Rim/Bead With Fire
There are some disadvantages that come along with this method of popping tires back onto the rim. If not done properly, this can result in Pyrolysis, which is basically the thermal decomposition of the tire.
Pyrolysis can not only cause chemical deterioration of the tire over time but can also lead to a full-blown-out explosion.
The pressure inside may rise up to 7000 kPa and seriously injure anyone in close proximity to the tire.
Watch this video to learn the science behind using fire:
This is why you must always put off the fire as soon as you hear the ‘pop’ sound – usually a couple of seconds after you light up the fire.
Precautionary Measures Of Pyrolysis
- Resort to using fire, only if there is no alternative available.
- If your tire isn’t deflated, don’t ever try to seat it back onto the rim by using fire.
- Always give the tire ample time to cool down before reseating it on the rim.
- If you suspect chemical deterioration of a tire due to pyrolysis, isolate the tire for at least 24 hours before assessing it for underlying damage.
- As a safety precaution, always face the thread while inflating your tires and not the ream.
- Pyrolysis can be caused by driving on underinflated tires for long distances, so avoid doing so.
Why Are My Tires Popping?
Any kind of clicking or popping sound from your car’s tires is a cause for alarm, and something not to be taken lightly.
Sounds coming from a vehicle’s wheels might be due to an underlying problem in one (or more) of the following parts:
- Broken hubcaps
- Harmed consistent speed joint
- Worn out struts
- Worn drive belt
- Improper sized tires
- Free suspension
In order to find out the exact cause of trouble, you would need to take the car for a road test.
However, before you do that, make sure that there isn’t something dangling off your vehicle or a broken car part causing the noise.
Using fire might be a convenient way to pop your tire back onto the rim, but it surely isn’t the safest. Playing with combustible fluids and fires can be very risky and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing exactly.
Always try to seek help from a professional first, and if that isn’t possible, only then should you try pulling off such a feat. Just make sure that you abide by all the necessary safety protocols, and you should probably be fine.