George V. Reilly

Soaping up a Flat Tire

I learned a really clever trick at our workparty on Sunday.

We were using a dolly that we had borrowed from our neighbor Mary to haul a heavy credenza up from the basement. One of the tires was flat, which made the exercise even more difficult.

I got out my bicycle floor pump and started pumping, but it was a waste of time. The tire was tubeless and without any air, so it just slipped loosely around the rim. After a few minutes of futility, Dale remembered something he had seen years before at a gas station.

He got a bowl of soapy water and a sponge, and coated the metal rim and both rims of the tire with soapy water. This created a film which held the air in. Once there was a little air inside the tire, it started inflating when I pumped and the rim of the tire pushed against the metal rim, creating an airtight seal. After that, it was only a minute’s work to bring the tire up to the rec­om­mend­ed 30psi.

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