This Instructable will show you how to save your tires from the TRASH by building a simple tool I call the Tire Tourniquet. Just another Trash to Treasure (or save your Treasure from the Trash) story.
Every Spring I venture into the shed and backyard to start the annual Spring cleanup. Some useful tools are of course the lawn tractor, wheel barrow, and utility trailer I haul with the lawn tractor. All have tubeless inflatable tires.
Inevitably, after a long cold winter in northern Ohio I find that I have at least one if not more flat tires on one of my favorite yard equipment. In fact, I just used this tool today in the middle of winter on my wheel barrow so I could haul firewood.
A rookie will immediately attempt to inflate the tire not realizing that air is just going to rush out the sides with no positive effect. The experienced know the tire has come separated from the wheel and they need a tourniquet tool to establish a seal before inflating.
This is a simple tool that will save you money and keep the landfill clear of rubber tires.
Step 1: The Problem
Due to age and harsh temperature fluctuations, tubeless tires on your yard equipment can give you a headache. But, there is a simple solution to the problem. No need to trash or replace the tire or wheel.
There is no inner tube on a tubeless tire like there is on a bicycle. There are three main parts that keep your tire inflated. By the way, your car wheel/tire combination are designed the same way.
How does the air stay in the tire then if there is no tube? If there is a tight enough seal between the tire and rim/wheel the air will stay in. When this seal gets broken due to age and weathering the air leaks out. Even if you have a leak in the tire, if air pressure is not maintained enough air can leak with the weight of the equipment pushing out enough air to break the tire seal.
Once the tire comes away from the rim all air leaks out.
Step 2: Tire Tourniquet Parts
What will you need to build your own tire tourniquet tool?
- Long Screwdriver
- Nylon Tie Down Strap
These are my items of choice to build my tire tourniquet. If you use something other than a screwdriver be sure it is easy to handle and very rigid. You may be able to use a piece of rope in place of the tie down strap. I prefer the tie down strap with buckle as a knotted rope may not secure tight enough. I have used rope before and have had the knot come undone when torquing the rope.
Step 3: Wrap Tire
Depending on your yard equipment, you may need to remove the wheel from the equipment. Removal was not necessary from my wheel barrow.
- Wrap your strap around the circumference of the tire.
- Be sure the strap is around the centerline of the tire.
- Fasten the buckle and pull strap tight to a snug fitting so the strap does not slide from the centerline of the tire.
Step 4: Apply Tension
Now we want to establish a seal between the tire and rim/wheel.
- Insert screwdriver between strap and tire.
- Turn screwdriver to twist the strap.
- Twisting of the strap will shorten the strap enough to compress the tire to the rim and make a workable seal.
- Check to see that a seal has been made between tire and rim. Or at the very least tire is touching rim at all points.
Step 5: Inflate Tire
Establish a good seal between tire and rim.
- With one hand hold the tourniquet tool in place firmly.
- With the other hand inflate the tire with your air compressor with a couple short bursts of air.
You only want to put enough air in the tire to establish the seal between tire and rim to hold the air in. If you put too much air in, there is a chance you will not be able to remove the strap or the strap might snap. Or worse yet you lose grip on the screwdriver and it goes spinning.
NOTE: Hold that tourniquet tightly with your hand. If not, when that tire expands with inflation the screwdriver can go spinning and send you a message through your knuckles. OUCH!
Step 6: Remove Strap and Inflate
Now that you have enough air in the tire to create a seal remove your screwdriver and strap. Inflate tire to the desired PSI which should be labeled on the side of the tire.
You are Done!
You have just saved your wheel and tire from the trash and built your first Tire Tourniquet Tool.