Here’s a quick little trick for you. (If you don’t want to read the whole story, skip to the step by step below)
I found this 2 wheel cart in the garbage at one point. The only thing that seemed to be wrong with it was that it was missing a wheel. I figured it was about a $70 or $80 cart that probably needed a $5 or 10 wheel and tire, so I brought it home. It sat for years. I brought it with when I moved. It sat for another year until I was about to move again and I thought, “This would come in handy when we move.” So I went to Home Depot to buy a wheel & tire. I didn’t think they would have it, but they did! What they did NOT have was the compression nut that holds the wheel on. The guy I asked about it (who inconsequentially was me 20 years ago, except he had a bit more swagger) actually KNEW something! I HATE going to Home Depot, but for a year it was about a mile from my house and the only ‘hardware’ store in NE Minneapolis. I go to hardware stores a LOT, so I ended up at Home Depot quite a bit. Anyway, unlike most of the employees whose method of helping is to blindly search with you, this guy actually knew where the item was SUPPOSED to be, but informed me that they’d removed a whole drawer from the hardware section. Yet another reason to hate Home Despot. They carry the wheel to fix a cart, but not the nut to the hold the wheel on! Awesome! Later in the week I went to Menards and found the wheel/tire assembly AND the nut.
I got home and it took longer to remove the packaging than to actually install the wheel. The only thing left to do was pump up the other tire, which I decided to do this morning when I got out the pump for my bicycle. I started to pump and realized there was no tube and the tire was completely unseated from the rim. I’ve had this happen before with wheelbarrow and other tires, and it can be nearly impossible to get the tire to reseat. When I was trying to reseat the wheelbarrow tire, I tried something I’d seen on a video. You spray starter fluid inside the tire and then light it. When it lights it quickly expands seating the tire. I could never get that to work, and I’ve tried it on a few different tire/rim combos.
When I was a kid my dad taught me how to seat my own car tires. I had a 77 Dodge van that was perpetually getting flats for a while. We thought someone in our townhouse complex didn’t like my eyesore of a van and kept letting the air out. After spending $10 a half a dozen times or so to have a shop reseat the tire, my dad told me that I could reseat it myself with dish soap and an air compressor. You just squirt dish soap along the bead of the tire and then with a good quick compressor, inflate the tire. If the compressor is strong enough (like a gas station compressor), the tire will balloon out against the rim and seal. Later I ended up having to bring my wheel in again and the new guy who worked on it told me, “Your rim was so rusty I’m surprised it held air at all! I cleaned it up for you and it should be fine now.” Yeah, so thanks to the guy who fixed my flat tire half a dozen times or more but never fixed the actual problem!
This might work with a wheelbarrow or cart wheel, but they also usually unseat on both sides of the wheel rather than just one like my van tires. Today I took the advice from my dad and combined it with something I saw my ex-father-in-law do once. He was trying it on a motorcycle tire and I’m not sure if it worked for him, but it worked for me.
Okay, I’m done with story-time, here’s the
Step by Step
- Clean the outside of the bead (the bead is the raised section at the center of the tire)
- Squirt a decent amount of dish soap along the top of the bead. (make sure that it’s coated all the way around)
- Do the other side if necessary
- Wrap a ratcheting strap around the tire (I wrapped it 3 times)
- Attach the hooks together and start to tighten the strap with the ratchet until the center of the tire starts to depress. At that point, both of the beads should be in contact with rim. If not, tighten it a bit more.
- Once the tire is contacting the rim on both sides, pump it up.
- Remove the strap and you’re ready to go
It seems really simple, but it worked and it saved me from having to buy anything else. And I didn’t need to go find a compressor either.