A wise man once told me that there is never a good time for a flat tire. Having a tire go flat while you are loading your ATV on the trailer after a long day of riding isn’t too bad, but let’s face it, that doesn’t happen often. Murphy’s Law dictates that you are far more likely to lose tire pressure when you are at the farthest point on the trail away from your air compressor and tire repair kit.
Storage space is at a premium on most ATVs and toting a portable air compressor or CO2 tank can be a challenge. Fortunately, the aftermarket industry has taken on this challenge and has responded with some fairly innovative solutions.
We’ve looked at portable tire repair kits in the past and have found them to be generally well-designed and easy to use. Most of them employ a small CO2 cartridge that connects to some sort of valve mechanism. These units are very compact and easy to replenish.
Since we are always on the lookout for the latest innovative gadgets, we recently found a few new one. Check out the specs on these trail-side tire repair kits, and we think you’ll agree that you will need at least one of these in your tool-kit.
Progressive Suspension TRK-2, TRK-4 and TRK-5 Emergency Tire Repair Kits
The TRK series of tire repair kits include everything you need to repair minor holes, including patches, plugs, rubber cement and tools to clean the damaged area and insert the plug. The kits also provide CO2 cartridges to inflate the tires once the repair is made.
The TRK-2 and TRK-4 each supply 3 traditional 12-gram cartridges and an Ultraflate tool that holds the CO2 cartridge while you are inflating your tire. This tool works exceptionally well and even provides an on/off valve so you don’t have to deplete the entire CO2 cartridge if you don’t need to.
We found that to fully inflate an ATV tire to 5 psi, you generally need more than one CO2 cartridge. The TRK-5 kit solves this problem by supplying a whopping 68-gram cartridge. This mammoth cartridge had no trouble filling up two standard ATV tires from completely flat to 5 psi. Since the end of the 68-gram cartridge is actually threaded, it uses a different valve mechanism, but it still employs a control valve so you don’t have to use up the whole cartridge.
12-gram cartridges can be easily replaced and any sporting goods or big-box department store for a little more than $1.00 each. The 68-gram cartridge is a little harder to replace, and at around $8.00 each, they are a bit pricey.
All of the kits come in durable nylon (leather for the TRK4) pouches. They take up very little storage space, and since there are very few moving parts, they are pretty much guaranteed to work when you need them, no matter how long they sit. Be advised that the pouches are not waterproof. You may want to store them in a plastic bag to keep them from getting wet, in case your ATV goes in the drink.
Either of these kits can be purchased online or at many motorcycle shops for around $45.00. This might seem a little expensive, but it beats walking or having to replace a tire after riding back to camp on a flat.
SLIME Powersport Tire Inflator
Instead of using traditional CO2 cartridges, the folks at SLIME decided to create a tiny air compressor. Measuring in at around 4½ X 4 inches, the SLIME Powersport Tire Inflator is one of the smallest air compressors on the market. One feature we really liked about the kit was that it supplies wiring that enables you to connect the air compressor to just about any 12V power supply. They supply a cigarette lighter type plug for most applications, but for those ATV’s that don’t have one, they also supply alligator clips that enable you to clip directly to the terminals of the battery, and even a set of wires that enables you to prewire for the kit so you don’t have to dig around for the battery.
The Powersport Tire Inflator does not come with any provisions for repairing tires. Since this product is from SLIME, the manufacturers would prefer that you used SLIME Tire Sealant to fix your flat. SLIME offers a kit that includes a bottle of sealant and a compartment for storing it in the durable plastic pouch.
At around $35.00, the SLIME Powersport Tire Inflator is a slightly less expensive than the kits from Progressive Suspension. In addition, you never have to replenish the air source. Replacement bottles of SLIME Tire Sealant cost about $5.00 each.
On the downside, since there are moving parts in the air compressor, the likelihood of a mechanical failure is greater. Also, since the kit only includes SLIME, you will still need to carry plugs for larger punctures that the SLIME just won’t fill. We did not experience any problems with the kit, but we suspect that it will not tolerate being submerged in water too often. The plastic carrying pouch is also not waterproof, so we recommend storing the kit in a plastic bag.
Both kits performed exactly as designed. They enabled us to fix flats pretty much anywhere, and they don’t take up much space. The SLIME kit is a bit more cost effective since the air source is limitless and basically free, it can be used to inflate things like small rafts and air mattresses. On the downside, it is a little bulkier than the CO2 based kits from Progressive Suspension. Another thing about the SLIME kit is that it is quite a bit noisier than the kits from Progressive Suspension. This may be a factor to consider for riders who use their ATV’s to hunt.
If you’re in the market for an economical tire repair kit to get you moving again, either one of these kits should do the trick nicely.
|800 Farroll Road
Grover Beach, CA 93433
Phone: (888) 45-SLIME
6900 Marlin Circle