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Emergency Tire Repair

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Flats tend to happen at the worst time in the worst places. If you are on the road or outside of normal business hours, your vehicle has a flat, and the spare is missing or no good, you might feel stranded, but there is an option- emergency repair. This is something that anybody can do, you just need the right parts.

Liquid tire repair might get you down the road, but it will make your tire repair impossible and it could ruin the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitor System) unit inside the rim itself. The best solution is a tire plug. Made from cork and a gooey adhesive, that keeps it in place and seals the tire, a tire plug is an excellent way to get your car back on the road until you can get to a tire shop for an internal patch.

Installing a plug in your tire works for pierced tread. You cannot fix sidewall damage or compression breaks (from potholes, gravel roads or curbing). The most common road hazards you will find are nails and screws. Fixing these issues are perfect for the good old fashioned tire plug.

You will need the following to make a tire plug repair:

Tire plug kit

Pliers, preferably needle-nosed or diagonal side-cutters

Compressed air to refill the tire

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There are all kinds of tire plug kits, but you want the most complete kit, which comes with the plugs, the install tool, and the reamer tool. Some kits just come with the plugs and installer, but the reamer tool is a necessary component to a good repair. Some kits come with liquid cement, you can use it or not, the cement helps make a permanent repair.

Locate the puncture. If you don’t see or hear the puncture, spray some soapy water on the tire and look for bubbles.

Locate the puncture. If you don’t see or hear the puncture, spray some soapy water on the tire and look for bubbles.

 

Remove the offending item. This is usually easy, but sometimes the nail or screw is worn down, making it hard to get a bite on it. This is where the side-cutters come in really handy. You will want to position the tire where you get the most leverage.

Remove the offending item. This is usually easy, but sometimes the nail or screw is worn down, making it hard to get a bite on it. This is where the side-cutters come in really handy. You will want to position the tire where you get the most leverage.

 

Insert the reamer. This will take some effort, as you have to push it through the steel belts. Use a twisting motion and push it into the tire. Once the reamer is through, saw it in and out of the tire a few times to really make a nice hole for the plug. Yes, it is counter-intuitive, but it is necessary.

Insert the reamer. This will take some effort, as you have to push it through the steel belts. Use a twisting motion and push it into the tire. Once the reamer is through, saw it in and out of the tire a few times to really make a nice hole for the plug. Yes, it is counter-intuitive, but it is necessary.

 

Prep the plug and installer. Pull a plug off the strip and push it through the eyelet of the installer tool. The pliers will make this easier. Push a little through, grab it with the pliers and pull the plug halfway through the eyelet.

Prep the plug and installer. Pull a plug off the strip and push it through the eyelet of the installer tool. The pliers will make this easier. Push a little through, grab it with the pliers and pull the plug halfway through the eyelet.

 

Insert the plug into the tire. If the kit has liquid cement, apply some to the plug before inserting it into the tire. Simply push the installer into the hole in the tire until the plug is about 3/4s in. Twist the installer tool 90-degrees and pull it out. The plug will stay in the tire and the tool will come out nice and easy. You may trim away the excess plug, or leave it to wear away as you drive.

Insert the plug into the tire. If the kit has liquid cement, apply some to the plug before inserting it into the tire. Simply push the installer into the hole in the tire until the plug is about 3/4s in. Twist the installer tool 90-degrees and pull it out. The plug will stay in the tire and the tool will come out nice and easy. You may trim away the excess plug, or leave it to wear away as you drive.

 

Fill the tire to the proper PSI. If you have a portable air compressor, this will make things easy, but if you do not, you need to get air very soon.

Fill the tire to the proper PSI. If you have a portable air compressor, this will make things easy, but if you do not, you need to get air very soon.

About Jefferson Bryant (223 Articles)
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).

1 Comment on Emergency Tire Repair

  1. Getting flat tires along the road is really a great hassle especially if you’re in a hurry. A tire repair must be done right away. This is to get you back in the road in no time, that’s why having an emergency tire repair kit must be kept in your car always.

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