How to plug and patch a tire

How To Plug and Patch a Tire

Knowing how to properly repair a punctured tire can save you money, as well as keep you from being


on the side of the road.

Luckily, a couple of easy-to-follow methods exist for repairing a punctured tire.

While you should ultimately have your tires inspected and replaced if necessary following a tire repair, the methods below provide a great temporary fix to a punctured tire until you can get to a tire store.

Here's how to plug and patch a tire.


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Using a tire plug to repair a punctured tire

A tire plug kit helps patch a tire quickly and easily. Considered a safer alternative to patches and sealant, a tire plug actually inserts into the tire. It then expands to plug any holes.

Here are the steps for how to plug a tire.

Step 1: Remove tire. Start by removing the punctured tire.

Step 2: Pull out object. Pull out the object that punctured the tire.

Step 3: Clean hole. Clean the puncture hole using a rasp tool, which you can find at brick-and-mortar stores like The Home Depot and Advanced Auto Parts.

A tire plug kit should contain various tools, one of which is a rasp tool.

The rasp tool can help the plug hold by roughening the tire material in the hole where you want to place the plug.

Step 4: Apply adhesive. Apply the adhesive that came with the tire plug kit.

Common adhesives include rubber cement or some other type of glue.

This glue can initially help lubricate the puncture hole, making it easier to get the plug through.

Step 5: Insert plug. Using the insertion tool, which also comes with your kit, insert the plug into the puncture hole.

While difficult to insert in some cases, you can get the plug to fit by squeezing down one of the end of the plug material.

Once the adhesive has dried, cut away any excess material from the plug using a razor or knife.

Step 6: Place air in the tire. Fill the tire to the recommended air pressure, which you can find inside the wall of the tire or in the owner's manual.

Test the seal of the tire plug by squirting a soap/water mix on the puncture area.

If needed, apply more adhesive or try using another plug.

Using tire sealant to repair a punctured tire

Flat tire sealant, such as


, provides a fast and easy way to fix a punctured tire—as long as the puncture is not too large. You should have the tire professionally repaired or replaced if the puncture is larger than one-quarter inch.

The following steps walk you through the process of using sealant to patch your tire.

Step 1: Remove the object. First, remove the object that punctured your tire.

Step 2: Position the tire. Position the tire so that the valve stem rests at the top of the wheel.

Remove the valve stem cap.

Step 3: Attach tire sealant nozzle. Attach the nozzle from the tire sealant can to the valve stem.

Press the button releasing the sealant into the tire.

Step 4: Drive the car. Drive the car around until the sealant has spread evenly throughout the tire.

This step is necessary to keep the sealant from forming a lump in one area and unbalancing the tire.

Step 5: Replace the tire. Make sure to replace the tire within a certain time limit.

Sealants are only meant to get you to where you can get the tire replaced. Most sealants only last for 100 miles or three days.

To minimize the chances of a punctured tire, try to avoid driving over potholes and other rough areas in the street, as well as on the side of the road where debris collects.

Even given your best efforts, a punctured tire is bound to happen. And when it does, you can use one of the above methods to fix it on the spot. Just remember to take your car to a professional tire shop to have the punctured tire inspected for safety, and replaced if necessary. And don't forget to keep an eye out for

slow leaks


If your tires were damaged in an accident or another covered peril, you should contact your insurance company.


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How to Repair a Flat Tire with a Safe, Permanent Fix

So, you have a flat tire or one that’s leaking air. It’s not the end of the world. Luckily there are safe and cost-effective ways to properly repair most tire punctures. The purpose of this article is to show you the difference between a safe, permanent repair and a temporary string, plug or patch repair.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA), the only method to properly repair a tire puncture is to fill the injury with a repair stem and back the stem with a repair patch. This is commonly known as a combination repair or a patch/plug repair.

Patch/plug repairs are most often performed using a one-piece repair unit that combines the repair stem and cap (or patch) into one unit. However, special circumstances may require the use of a two-piece combination repair (ex. If the angle of the puncture exceeds 35 degrees). The repair is then permanently bonded to the inside of tire and through the injury channel using a cold, chemical vulcanizing process. The repair essentially becomes part of the tire, creating an air-tight seal that keeps air in and moisture and contaminants out (more on this procedure below).

Tire Plugs and String Repairs are Temporary Repairs

Emergency roadside plug repairs are NOT intended to be a permanent tire repair. Plugs and string repairs are designed to get you back up and rolling long enough to get home or to the nearest service center to perform a proper tire repair.

The common misconception with plug and string repairs is that because they hold air, they are safe to use. While it is true that many plug repairs do a great job of keeping air in the tire, that’s only part of the equation. Because they’re not completely sealing the injury, plug repairs may allow air and moisture to penetrate the body of the tire. Over time, this could lead to a dangerous (or even deadly) blowout.

A Patch-Only Tire Repair Leaves Your Tire Susceptible to Damage

A tire repair that uses only a patch is also NOT considered proper or safe. A properly installed patch will do a great job of allowing the tire to hold air. However, similarly to the plug-only repair, the patch does not fill the injury channel. Therefore, air and moisture could seep into the tire from the tread surface and eventually damage the tire.

The Proper Tire Repair Process According to Industry Guidelines

Only a proper patch/plug repair completely seals the puncture from inside the tire and through the entire injury channel. There are a few extra steps necessary to perform a proper tire repair in accordance with industry guidelines. We’ve developed a simple acronym to help organize and remember the steps: R.E.P.A.I.R.

  • Remove: To begin, the tire must be removed from the wheel assembly. This allows for a thorough inspection of both the inside and outside of the tire.
  • Evaluate: With the tire removed from the rim, the puncture can be thoroughly evaluated to determine the size and angle of the injury. It can also be determined if the puncture did any significant damage to the cords or belts.
  • Prepare: Once the tire has been determined to be in good enough condition to repair, it is time to prep the rubber surfaces to remove any damage and contamination to allow for maximum repair unit adhesion. First, the injury is drilled out using a carbide cutter to strip away and damaged cords or belts. Next, the inner liner is cleaned and buffed to a slightly rough texture. This also helps maximize adhesion of the patch/plug repair.
  • Apply: The next step is to apply vulcanizing fluid through the injury and to the buffed area of the inner liner. It is then allowed to air dry for 5-10 minutes.
  • Install: The one- or two-piece repair is installed through the injury channel and the patch portion is thoroughly stitched to the inner liner using a tire stitcher to completely push out any air that may have gotten trapped under the repair. The over-buffed area of the inner liner is treated with a thin layer of rubber sealant, and the excess repair is trimmed to approximately ¼” above the tread surface.
  • Return to Service: The tire is now ready to be remounted to the rim, inflated, balanced and mounted back on the vehicle.

When is it Safe to Repair Your Tire?

There are a number of factors that may determine whether or not your tire is safe to repair. These factors fall into three main categories:

  • Placement of the Injury: For passenger tires, puncture repairs must be within the crown area of the tire. Damage to the shoulder or sidewall cannot be repaired.
  • Size of the Puncture: For fabric-ply passenger and light truck tires, the maximum repairable injury size is ¼” (6mm). For steel belted light truck, medium and heavy-duty truck tires, the maximum injury size is 3/8” (10mm).
  • Overall Condition of the Tire: The condition of your tire may determine whether it is safe to repair. Excessive wear, casing separation, impact damage and other conditions may make it unsafe to properly repair your tire. For a more comprehensive list of repairable vs. non-repairable conditions visit our blog Can Your Tire Be Repaired?


The occasional flat or leaky tire is an unavoidable part of life. But, taking shortcuts to repair it can be dangerous to you and your passengers. Take the time and do the research to do the job right and/or find a reputable tire repair shop trained in proper tire repair procedure.

How to seal a tubeless tire quickly and easily - Life hack

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An easy way to quickly restore tire tightness and continue your journey. True, for this you need to have the right wheel repair kit with you.

Maxim Stroker

“Catching” a nail, screw or piece of wire in a wheel on the track is a trifling matter and somewhere even everyday. However, it turns into a serious "trouble" if this happens, for example, at night or a couple of tens of kilometers from the nearest tire fitting point. In theory, in this case, you need to put a spare wheel and go further. Although, in the case of a family trip on vacation, the process of digging it out from under a pile of junk in the trunk can turn into an adventure that deserves a separate story. Be that as it may, often the trouble does not come alone and the spare tire can be broken literally on the next kilometer. After all, where one carnation fell on the road, there may well be another one, and another, and another ...

With a couple of crippled wheels, you'll either have to wait an unknown amount of time for a tow truck to be sent in, or fix it yourself. Therefore, in a not particularly urbanized area, it makes sense to carry a repair kit with you to eliminate punctures in tubeless wheels. In principle, it can be of any manufacturer. The main thing when choosing it in the store is to make sure that the “drill” included in the repair kit is not very toothy and sharp. After all, his task is simply to clear a puncture hole in the tire, and not to break its metal cord. The second recommendation: the flagella, which are supposed to close the puncture hole, should be plump and reinforced with thin wire or plastic threads.

And the third criterion for choosing a wheel repair kit is the obligatory presence of a tube of glue in it. Yes, yes: there are also “glueless” sets on sale, which are essentially useless.

So, we notice that the wheel is flat (or has already been blown off) and proceed to eliminate the problem. Most often, the hole in the rubber is not visible. Therefore, to begin with, we hang out the damaged wheel by raising the car on a jack, and inflate it with a pump or compressor to 3-4 atmospheres. If even after that it is not possible to detect damage by the whistle of escaping air, we methodically and consistently wet the entire surface of the wheel and look for bubbles at the puncture site.

Having found a puncture, we take the “drill” from the set and pierce the damaged area with it several times. So we clean the surface of the hole before gluing. Next, we smear the “drill” with glue from the set and again immerse it in the hole. We repeat this operation and, leaving the “drill” sticking out in the hole smeared with glue, we take out the flagellum and insert it halfway into the eye of another tool - the “overgrown needle” (sometimes called the “awl”), also available in the repair kit. We coat the flagellum with glue and, quickly pulling the “drill” out of the hole, insert our “needle” there so that the ends of the flagellum remain above the surface of the wheel tread. Next, we pull out the “needle-awl” and wait a few minutes until the glue grabs. After that, we pump up the wheel and carefully cut off the protruding tails of the flagellum with a knife. Everyone, you can move on.

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How to fix a tire puncture? Ways to eliminate tire punctures for a car


Despite the objective importance of the spare tire, not all drivers always have it with them. Some do not carry a spare tire out of hope or belief that their tires are invulnerable. Others deliberately take this step, as they stocked up with a special tool in advance, which, if necessary, can eliminate a tire puncture along the way. What else can be used and how to do it right? Let's figure it out.

Contents :

  1. Tire puncture repair
  2. Popular products that can effectively repair tire punctures

Tire puncture repair

Conventionally, all methods for express tire repair can be divided into two categories:

  • long-term repair, which involves the full operation of the retread;
  • a short-term solution that allows you to drive to the nearest tire shop.

Consider ways to restore a damaged tire on the road. The first three methods are temporary. The latter, with the right approach, allows you to completely restore the tire.

  1. Preventive measures (i.e. preventive). A special sealing compound is pumped into all four undamaged tires. While driving, it is inside the wheel in liquid form. If the tire suddenly loses its tightness, then this composition, leaving together with the air, clogs the slot in a few seconds. This method is relevant if you have a long trip under time constraints.
  2. Foam repair is an easy and popular way to repair tire punctures. First, the damaged area is localized, if necessary, a foreign object is removed. Sealants are supplied in containers with a nozzle that is screwed onto the tire valve. The contents of the balloon are completely blown into the tire. As a rule, this procedure takes 1-2 minutes. By the time the canister "expirs", the damaged area has time to seal. In addition, small diameter wheels (up to R14) are almost completely inflated due to the contents of the cylinder. Immediately after use, it is recommended to drive 300-500 m so that the sealant is evenly distributed over the entire surface of the tire and does not cause imbalance.

  1. Short-term repair with a self-tapping screw. The old grandfather method is applicable if the puncture has a small diameter, and there is no foreign object left in the tire body. A simple screw or self-tapping screw (preferably larger in diameter than the size of the puncture) is taken and screwed into a hole on the surface of the tire. The self-tapping screw can be borrowed from the fender liner or plastic interior elements. This method will not eliminate the air leak, but will allow the car owner (perhaps with several swaps) to get to the nearest tire service.
  2. Using a special tire repair kit. Today, the so-called first-aid kits for tires are especially popular. They include the following components:
    • awl with abrasive edges;
    • special eyelet awl with split tip;
    • crude rubber;
    • raw rubber activator.

After removing the foreign object, the hole is processed with an awl with abrasive edges: this tool must be inserted into the puncture and cleaned and developed with intensive reciprocating movements several times. Then the raw rubber tow is removed from the package and inserted into the eye of the second awl so that both ends are the same length. The hole in the tire and the raw rubber is treated with an activator. Next, the awl is inserted into the puncture in such a way that small ends of the tourniquet, about a centimeter long, remain outside. After 5 minutes, the excess remaining on the surface is cut off. This method can also successfully eliminate small side cuts.

There is a technique that allows using wire and several bundles of raw rubber to get rid of even extensive side damage to tires. However, it is quite difficult to implement and not every driver will be able to implement it.

Popular products that can effectively repair tire punctures

Consider a few well-known tools that are most widely used to repair punctures:

  1. Hi-Gear Gold Tire Doctor Emergency Sealant. Supplied in a convenient bottle with a hose and a tip for connecting to a tire valve. It works in the same way as most sealants: the container is thoroughly shaken, after that a hose is attached, and the contents from the container are completely pumped into the tire. The maximum diameter of the repaired hole is 4.5 mm. This is almost always enough to repair punctures caused by nails and screws.

  1. Hi-Gear Tire Doctor.

    Learn more