Have you ever driven over a nail, checked your tire, and heard the tell-tale 'hiss' of a leak? Before you reach for the jack, you may want to grab some "Slime" instead. This fluorescent green goo promises to help fix flats. Amy Jacquin gets 'slimed' to see if manufacturers are just putting a 'spin' on their claims.
She asks Plaza Tire Service in Cape Girardeau to temporarily replace a good tire on our news vehicle with an older tire. Then Service Manager Mike Job purposely pokes a hole in it, as if we ran over a nail. That's where "Slime" comes in. The fluorescent green goo says it'll stop leaks less than a quarter of an inch. First, you have to measure the tire, then feed those numbers into a formula to figure out the proper amount of slime to use.
"You get a nail puncture in this tire, there is steel in the tread," Mike explains. "Once it's been torn, it starts to rust. So later on down the road, adding this just adds to the rust."
The "Slime" website warns it may have "an adverse reaction" to some aluminum rims.The tire has to be deflated when you squeeze Slime in, but then inflated to use. That's kind of hard to do if you're stranded. "This is not pressurized, so you're still in the same position you were before you used it," Mike explains as he reads the bottle.
Directions warn "Slime" may clog, and it did. So Mike uses a wire coat hanger to gently pry it loose. And then you need rags, to wipe up the gooey mess. Two more items you may not always carry in the car.
After you squirt "Slime" in, fill the tire with air then spin it so slime coats the tire. But the leak probably still won't stop until you drive it a mile or so down the road. So that's exactly what Amy does. Then she parks it back at Plaza Tire for a final test. Mike uses soapy water to test for a leak, but finds none.
"There is no leak whatsoever from what I see," Mike adds. "So it did seal it."
"Slime" first became known in the bicycling industry. Another "Slime" formula, made specifically for tubed tires, is put into bike tires before there's a problem. So if something does puncture the tube, "Slime" seals it before the tire loses air. That preemptive use is not recommended for cars, because slime may throw it out of balance. Also, there's a chance your warranty will be voided if you use slime instead of a professional tire repair..
Because you have to measure the tire first, put it through the formula, figure out how much to use, carry a wire with you in case it gets clogged, then inflate it after you use it -- it seems too inconvenient to use for a roadside emergency. But it did work. And perhaps it would work best for ATV's, lawn mowers and trailers.