I park my car in an alley that is, unfortunately, often full of random debris. Recently, I found a large nail stuck through the thickest part of my tire tread (the tires are only a few months old and not thin at all–I had to replace them when I ran over other random debris previously…), causing it to deflate.
I repaired the puncture with Fix-a-flat (spare tire in a can), which sprays gook into your tire through the air nozzle and, one hopes, spreads evenly over the inner surface of the tire, solidifies, and seals the leak.
It worked OK, but the punishing roads in NYC soon popped the new seal. I found it flat one morning, and added another can of the gook so that I could get it to a garage for a professional patch job (I didn’t put on the spare b/c I didn’t have a free hour).
The guy repaired it, I presume, b/c it hasn’t deflated since. But now I have a new problem–the car shakes like hell once it gets above 55mph.
My father-in-law (a former amateur race car driver/mechanic) took a ride with me and said that it felt like the rear wheels were unbalanced. So I took it in to a Pep Boys (the only garage open on a Sunday) and they said that they couldn’t balance the wheel b/c there was liquid inside the tire–the fix-a-flat goop, which never congealed. They said they couldn’t remove the liquid, b/c the puncture might then not be sealed. I was too tired to argue or think clearly, so I left.
Back to my father-in-law, who says that a mechanic should be able to simply remove the tire, scrape the goop out, and (since it’s been patched) it should be good as new.
Is this true? Is this possible? How the hell are car tires constructed, anyway? I’ve never had one open, but I had always presumed that they just had a separate innertube like a bicycle. Can’t they replace the tube? My father-in-law thinks not–that tires nowadays have an integrated tube of some sort. I don’t get it. Can anyone explain to me (or point me to a Web site w/ diagrams, etc.) how a tire is built, and what would be involved in fixing my problem?