Tire repair video

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.

ATV Tire Repair: How To Fix A Flat With A Tire Plug

Sign in

Welcome!Log into your account

your username

your password

Forgot your password?

Password recovery

Recover your password

your email


Difficulty Level: Easy

Tools Needed For ATV Tire Repair
  • ATV Tire Repair Kit
  • Pliars (if needed to remove the nail/cause of the puncture)
  • Extra soapy water to make sure the plug fixed the puncture
  • Air Compressor (you will need CO2 cartridges or a mini portable air compressor for an on the trail repair)

ATV tire repair kit with 12V mini-tire compressor, tire patch and plug kit mtneer_man | Flickr

To Use CO2 Cartridges

You will need 4 or 5 CO2 cartridges.

Most ATV tires will require 2-3 of the small BB cartridges to get up to 3.5 lbs of pressure. This is enough to limp back to the trail head.

To fully inflate up to 6 lbs, most tires will require 3-4 cartridges. Plus, plan on having at least one spare for fixing the flat itself.

Basics Of ATV Tire Repair

*The tire needs to be inflated in order for the plug to work

*This type of ATV tire repair only works with punctures – not blow outs or major damage.

*You will need to work quickly once the nail is removed (so that the tire doesn’t deflate), so lay everything out and get prepared.

*If you’re doing this repair out on the trail, don’t worry about using the soapy water to make sure the plug took. Fix the flat and head back to the trailhead ASAP, you’ll know soon enough if the plug took or not.

You will need CO2 cartridges or a portable air compressor for an on the trail repair

Check Price

Check Price

Check Price

Step By Step For Fixing A Flat With A Tire Plug
  1. Add air to the tire if needed
  2. Pull the nail
  3. Insert the reamer tool into the hole working it in and out several times to clean the hole out
  4. Leave the reamer in the hole while you get your plug ready
  5. Thread the plug (tire plug string) through the eye in the plugger tool (similar to threading a needle head only bigger)
  6. Thoroughly coat the plug with cement
  7. Pull out the ream tool
  8. Insert the plug into the hole, making sure to not go too deep
  9. Let the plug set for a few seconds (follow directions on your kit, but should be about 5 -10 seconds) Remove the push tool (when you pull out the tool, the plug will remain in the hole)
  10. Continue to let the plug set up for a good bond (follow the directions on your tire plug kit, but should be about 2-5 minutes)
  11. Refill tire with air
  12. Pour the soapy water over the plug. If the plug didn’t take 100% and the tire is still leaking, you will see bubbles escaping through the soap
  13. Trim the plug so there is only a little sticking out the hole

ATV Tire Repair Kits

Check Price

Check Price

Make sure you’re always prepared by putting together an ATV Trail Riding Survival Kit. Or check out ATV Tool Kit for a downloadable list of all the tools you need plus the best tool sets currently available.

Read Next

We repair tubeless tires: methods and rules

Modern passenger cars are equipped with tubeless tires. Tires with rubber chambers inside are extremely rare today, only on super-budget vehicle options. Car owners have long appreciated all the convenience and benefits that tubeless tires have. Unlike chambered rubber, they keep air in the wheels by being sealed to the rim. The tightness of tubeless tires is ensured by a two-millimeter layer of rubber applied to the tire from the inside. It is he who prevents the passage of air. The coating of soft rubber layer provides tightness at the junction of the tire with the rim of the rim. The tire bead sits on the so-called rim shelf, which is equipped with a special rounded ledge. Thanks to him, the tire is securely connected to the wheel rim, and complete tightness of the joint is achieved. A tubeless tire is filled with air through a valve installed on the rim, on its rim.

Advantages of tubeless tires over tubed tires

Why did tubeless tires become so popular that they gradually replaced tubed tires? First, tubeless tires are much lighter. This is a very important and great advantage, because heavy weight enhances the inertial movement of the wheel when driving on, to put it mildly, imperfect road surfaces, which we still have much more than smooth autobahns. As a result, this affects the condition of the chassis, accelerates its wear. In addition, tubeless tires do not heat up during driving in the same way that chamber rubber heated up, in which the inner cylinder rubbed against the tire while driving. Such friction led to its rapid wear, and also increased the likelihood of tire rupture during movement. When a tube is punctured, the tube tire loses air very quickly, since it escapes not only from the puncture site, but also through leaky tire beads that do not fit snugly against the rim flange. In addition, if such a tire is punctured, you will not be able to stop the car immediately, it will travel more than a dozen meters by inertia until it comes to a complete stop. During this time, the tube and the tire can be damaged more thoroughly, the rubber of the inner cylinder will “chew”. With tubeless tires, this option is excluded. Even if a puncture occurs, thanks to the tightness of the chamber and its periodic pumping, you can get to the tire service.

Tubeless and tube tires also differ in how they are mounted / dismantled. If chambered rubber can be freely disassembled or, conversely, installed at home, then such a number will not work with a tubeless one - the risk of damaging the side flanges is too high, damage to which will lead to depressurization of the tire. Due to the peculiarities of installation and dismantling, many motorists find it impossible to repair a tubeless tire with their own hands, especially on the road, not in a comfortable garage, but on the side of the road. And in vain. Of course, it will not be possible to completely eliminate the problem at a professional level without special equipment. But to make sure that the damaged tire still travels, and sometimes not only reaches the tire fitting center, but goes more than one hundred kilometers after an impromptu repair, is quite realistic.

To do this, use special tire repair kits, which can be purchased everywhere today by going to any car shop. Better yet, buy everything you need to repair a tubeless wheel yourself separately and always have it ready. By doing this, you will save some money, which is always nice. The fact is that manufacturers of ready-made repair kits, in an effort to make their kits more expensive and solid in appearance, include in them both really useful tools and materials, as well as those that you can easily do without. Using repair kits or separately purchased harnesses and tools, you can repair tubeless tires not only for cars, but also for trucks. This can also be regarded as one of the advantages of tubeless tires over tube tires. It is much more difficult to repair it with a puncture. It is necessary to disassemble the wheel, remove the chamber, find the puncture site, and then degrease the working area, cut out the patch, and seal the rubber balloon. After drying, the camera is installed in place, and the wheel is beaded. With a tubeless tire, everything is much easier.

RUNWAY Tubeless Tire Repair Kit, 7-Piece

What to do in the event of a flat tire

If you find that your car's tubeless tire wheel is damaged, first assess the severity of the situation. If, in your opinion, you can do without repair, having reached a reliable tire service on periodic pumping of the wheel, then it’s better to do so. Tubeless tires were designed to hold air even with foreign objects sticking out of the cord. But do not forget that riding with a nail or other object in the tire causes the puncture to gradually expand and the tire around the damaged area begins to gradually collapse.

But, if it so happens that the damage to the wheel received on the road is too extensive, the chamber does not hold air and it will not be possible to complete the journey while inflating the tire, you need to choose the best method of temporary repair and start it immediately. A tubeless tire is repaired in the following ways:

When choosing a repair using a tourniquet, you need to decide what type of material will be used. The harness can be cord or rubber. Let's consider both of these options.

Wheel repair kit, 6 pieces

Repair of a tire with cord harness

Cord harness has found wide distribution as a repair material for tubeless tires. With this harness, you can carry out repairs in any conditions: on a city street or on the side of a country road. It is a strip of high-strength nylon, which is richly impregnated with high-quality rubber-based adhesive. Such harnesses are supplied to the domestic market by many manufacturers, they have certain differences in technical characteristics and cost. But all cord harnesses are installed according to the same type of scheme:

  1. First of all, they find the place of damage and mark it with wax crayon or another marker.

  2. Remove the item that damaged the tire if it is stuck in the cord.

  3. Then you should check the tire pressure, it should not fall below 0.5 atmospheres.

  4. Take a spiral awl and use it to determine at what angle the tire is damaged.

  5. Apply vulcanizing glue to the awl.

  6. Using the awl inserted into the puncture, coat the puncture site with glue in the most thorough way, for which you need to rotate the tool lubricated with it clockwise. Perform this action three times - lubricate the awl and insert it into the puncture, then leave the tool in the cord for the time being.

  7. In the meantime, select the desired harness and carefully remove the protective film from it.

  8. Insert the tourniquet into a special needle, focusing on the center.

  9. On both sides, cover the surface of the tourniquet with vulcanizing glue.

  10. Remove the helical awl from the tire where you left it at the puncture site.

  11. Install a pen with a needle and a tourniquet placed inside into the puncture.

  12. By pressing the handle, install the needle with the tourniquet into the puncture, advancing to the stop at a given angle.

  13. Remove the pen with the needle from the puncture site without rotating it.

  14. Carefully cut off the parts of the tourniquet sticking out on the surface.

Then you need to determine how tight the tire is repaired. This can be done with the help of a special liquid, which is used to determine the puncture site. If, after applying such a liquid, no air bubbles appear, then the tire is temporarily repaired and can be used further. If air bubbles appear, try installing an additional tourniquet in the place of damage to the tire.

This method of temporary repair is inexpensive, but it has proven its effectiveness more than once. A tire repaired in this way without repair will serve you for a long time - up to 6 months.

Use of rubber band

A rubber harness costs more than cord, but it is also more reliable. They install it in much the same way as the cord one, but there are still some differences. For example, when installing a rubber band, do not use an awl in the form of a rasp, since it can damage the rubber band during installation. In addition, the rubber band must be mounted on the adhesive specified by the manufacturer in the instructions for the repair kit.

Raw rubber band for repairing RUNWAY tubeless tires, 5 pcs

Tubeless tire repair with anchor

In this case, an anchor is a special type of bundle, one end of which ends with a small patch. The anchor is installed in the same way as other types of harnesses, but in addition, it glues the puncture site with an internal patch. To do this, the tourniquet is pushed inward, and then pulled a little in the opposite direction. Anchor can only be installed using a special cutter with a diameter of 6 mm. It is purchased separately from the set. But your efforts will surely be crowned with success, because the anchor is considered the most reliable option for repairing a tubeless tire with a harness. But with the help of harnesses, you can not repair side punctures. And in any case, even if the repair is successful, it is necessary in the coming days to choose the time to visit the tire service. Remember that prolonged use of the harness will cause irreversible damage to the tubeless tire. And until the problem is fixed, constantly monitor tire pressure.

Tire repair with sealant

The second option for repairing tubeless tires involves the use of sealant. This option cannot be called optimal, but it has become widespread, since tire repair in this way is carried out very quickly, literally in a matter of minutes. And the result of its implementation is guaranteed to allow you to get to the intended purpose of the trip, without first stopping by the tire service you met along the way.

The sealant is very easy to apply. In this case, it is not necessary to remove a nail or other object from the cord, due to which the tire was damaged. Simply attach a bottle filled with sealant to the valve on the rim of the wheel and see that the contents of the bottle are pumped into the wheel. Keep in mind that repairing a tire with sealant will significantly disrupt the balance, so choose a moderate speed. But on the other hand, repairs with the help of a sealant are easy, simple and very fast. You can use it even while standing in a traffic jam.

Today, you can easily buy different types of sealants. The most widely used gel, liquid, aerosol formulations. Gel ones are good because they can be used all-season, both in the summer heat and in the cold season. But at the same time, they significantly worsen the balance of the wheel. Liquid sealants are highly reliable, but they are not very convenient to use. Aerosol compositions make it possible to restore the performance of the wheel without a jack and a pump. But in the cold winter period, they will not work. If we compare the restoration of a tubeless tire, carried out with the help of sealants and harnesses, cord or rubber, then the latter are considered the preferred option, since they provide a fairly high quality of the repair performed with their help.

As you can see, do-it-yourself tubeless tire repair is possible, albeit temporary. You just need to stock up on funds for its implementation, without delaying the purchase of harnesses or sealant, because a lot of trouble awaits us on the roads. Meet them fully armed and quickly solve the problem. For guaranteed success, you must strictly follow the recommendations given by the manufacturer of repair materials in the instructions for use.

Tubeless tire repair: video and photo

Share this bookmark with your friends:

  • The difference between a tubeless tire and a tube tire
  • How to find the puncture site?
  • Cord harness
  • How to patch a puncture?
  • Technology Features
  • Rubber band with adhesive coating
  • Common errors
  • Anchor system

Finding and patching a tire puncture on your own without the help of specialists is a rather difficult task, but every motorist should be able to do it. The services of a tire repair station for tire repair are expensive, and the process takes quite a lot of time.

As a rule, a puncture in a tubeless tire is not immediately noticeable, except for those situations when the source of the cut is obvious - a bolt or nail head sticks out of the tire. In any case, do not rush to pull out the stuck object, as tubeless tires are designed for such punctures. You can't say the same about chamber tires.

back to contents ↑

The difference between a tubeless tire and a tubed one

Tubeless tires, when punctured by foreign objects that get stuck inside, release air slowly, and chamber ones deflate instantly. If you regularly inflate tubeless tires, they can be used for more than one or even two months. In this case, it should be taken into account that a foreign object, when inflating the wheel, damages the cord threads that act as the spokes of a bicycle wheel (if they are damaged, the wheel will twist to a helical state). It is better not to postpone repairs so that corrosion does not start. Thus, the nail should be immediately pulled out and the puncture patched. There are many modern ways to quickly repair tires with your own hands. We will discuss them.

back to contents ↑

How to find the puncture site?

If you are unable to locate the puncture quickly, dampen the tire with water and look for the puncture through the bubbles. If water is not available, you can use an anti-freeze agent from a windshield washer. The advantage of tubeless tires is that the puncture site can simply be plugged with a sealing harness sold in all car dealerships. There is no need to disassemble the wheel. In addition, for such a repair of the front wheel, you will not need to remove it. Just turn the steering wheel in the desired direction and raise the car with a jack.

back to contents ↑

Cord harness

The most popular type of repair harness is cord harness. Its main component is a special nylon fiber impregnated with sticky butyl rubber. To properly use the tourniquet, you will need a setting and spiral awl.

back to contents ↑

How to patch a puncture?

Using a spiral awl, go through the entire puncture, and then, turning it clockwise, clean the hole of dirt. With each turn, the awl will expand the hole more and separate the metal cord threads. These steps will not damage your tire. Using the installation awl, carefully insert the tourniquet into the previously prepared hole, and then unscrew the spiral awl and push the awl with the tourniquet 3-4 cm deep. Slowly pull out the installation awl so that the tourniquet remains in place. We cut off the excess, leaving a couple of millimeters above the tread surface. Install the wheel and pump it up.

back to contents ↑

Features of technology

This method has obvious advantages - it is very simple and cheap. All the necessary tools (a pair of harnesses and two awls) are quite inexpensive. If you buy them separately, and not in a set, the cost of one awl can reach the price of the whole set. At the same time, you can buy repair harnesses separately if you run out of them.

The main disadvantage of this repair is its fragility. After about 5-6 months, the tourniquet will dry out and begin to let air through a little - 0. 2 barrels per week.

back to contents ↑

Adhesive-coated rubber cord

These products are more reliable than cord cord. The repair method is about the same, but has certain features. First of all, it is better not to use an awl in the form of a rasp, since in the process of cleaning the hole it breaks the cord threads, and the tourniquet may be damaged during installation. It is better to opt for a tool with a side exit. Also, before installing the tourniquet, it should be smeared with glue, which should react with the adhesive sheath (glue should be used that is recommended by the manufacturer of the tourniquet).

The key benefit of this repair is the airtight seal of the rubber, while the downside is damage to the tire carcass, which is not internally reinforced.

to contents ↑

Common mistakes

When using rubber bands, motorists made some mistakes, so manufacturers developed reinforced repair harnesses, the frame of which consisted of nylon cord threads, and the adhesive layer acted as a sheath.

Learn more