How To Plug A Tire With a Leak

Posted: January 12, 2021 By: MattM

In today’s society we’ve become a little bit spoiled. We can order just about anything we want from our smart phones and call for help most anywhere in the world and have help in little time. But that only seems to work when expected when we aren’t in an emergency situation. Waiting for AAA or a tow off a busy road for a flat tire can take a long time and be costly if you don’t have a membership to a roadside repair account. We’ve found that good old tire plugs can be a good thing to keep in the emergency roadside kit in your vehicle and can be done with almost no tools on the side of the road or at home. Read below on our simple steps to plug a car tire at home.

  1. Use a flashlight to examine the exterior of the tire and see if you can visually see anything sticking out of the tire that punctured it or hear where the leak is coming from. You may need to jack the car up to spin the wheel or remove the wheel to really check the wheel and tire well. If you can’t find the leak easily you may need to air the tire up and spray soapy water all over the tire and look for bubbling of the soapy mix telling you where the air leak is coming from.
  2. Circle the area of the puncture with a marker or crayon/grease pencil and use pliers to pull anything stuck in the tire out.
  3. Open your tire plug kit and jam your T-handle reaming tool into the puncture hole and rotate the handle opening up the hole to the appropriate size. Use a small drill bit to open the hole up if the reamer won’t protrude into the hole. Then follow with jamming and spinning the reamer to roughen up the hole for plug insertion.
  4. Take a plug strip out of the tire plug kit and feed it through the eyelet in the insertion tool until there are equal amounts on either side of the eyelet. Apply tire cement if you so desire but most plugs will seal without additional cement.
  5. Insert tool with plug into the hole pushing quite hard to force the plug all the way through the hole.
  6. Take a knife or scissors and cut off the excess plug above the tire surface; leaving a flush repair.

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