How to plug a tire: what they didn’t tell you!

Need to Plug a Tire? Here’s how!

Generally, when you get a flat many people put on a spare tire and go to the garage to get it fixed. That being said, some drivers, especially ones who love DIY projects are fixing simple tire punctures themselves.  Here is a way to do it. Note: do not try this if you have a sidewall puncture, as that can’t be repaired–essentially, make sure you have found the source of the leak first before you do this. A sidewall puncture means you need to arrange to get a new tire. 

Now, it’s time to find a plug kit. These are located in any car parts store, and typically come with ten plugs, a strong plug gun, a good reamer and rubber cement. The best part is that the kit can be used up to ten times and retails for $10 or less at a good number of stores. 

The first thing that needs to occur is for you to remove the object that caused the flat tire in the first place. That is probably a drywall screw, a nail or some other object made of metal. Pulling the object out usually requires a a set of pliers or a pair of diagonal pliers. We recommend you do it quick but use caution.  

After the object is out, put the reamer into the hole and work it all the way into the tire. Then pull it straight up and down a few times, but stop when you feel your reamer move a bit more easily. This enlarges the hole. Once you’ve reamed the hole, spin the reamer about four times in the direction of the threads of the reamer to rough up the hole’s inside so your plug has more area to stick to inside of your tire. 

Now you put your plug in. First load the plug tool by pulling the plug through until there is an equal length on both of the tool’s sides. Then push your plug into the tire leaving about 1/2″ to 3/4″ hanging out. It will wear down once the plug has vulcanized. According to the Service Manager at Hiley Volkswagen of Arlington, a full-service local car dealer in Arlington, TX, it’s important to keep this bit of plug hanging out. The last thing to do is to seal your plug. Tire repair kits usually provide a small tube of rubber cement. Apply liberally and allow this cement to dry for about 15 minutes or so.   

Now, put air into your tire to the recommended inflation level and put it back on the car. Put a few drops of soapy water on the tire’s plugged area, and if bubbles appear then you have to repeat the plugging process. After the process is finished keep an eye on your tire and the pressure for a few days. Your tire should be fine but occasionally they might leak. If your tire still holds air after seven days, then this process was a success! See, this process is easy if you’d like to try it out and don’t have a sidewall puncture!