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How to Plug a Tire

Learning how to plug a tire is valuable in a few different ways. First of all, it saves you time whenever you get a big screw or something else puncturing the sidewall and need to get it repaired so you can get on down the road. And second, it saves you time versus having to get the tire fixed over at the neighborhood tire shop. There is no sense in paying someone forty dollars for something you can get done for just a few bucks on your own. You can get a plug kit at any auto parts store and really should keep one in the garage (or maybe in the trunk or glove compartment or toolbox in your vehicle).

Getting Started with a Plug

Get the car parked on a level surface. Block off the car so it won’t roll and elevate the affected tire just until the wheel can spin freely and clear contact from the road. Inspect the tread area of the tie and look for nails and screws or anything else that could be causing the leak. Once you find the suspected hole, test it with some soapy water or saliva and look for bubbles. If you know the source of the leak and need to remove the object, do so with a pair of needle nosed pliers or other similar tool. It may be necessary to return the car back to ground level to give yourself some leverage. Plugging a tire is much easier than to handle an auto recall.

Plugging a Tire Hole

Once you have found the offending hole, get the tire spun around until the affected area faces you. Once the object is out, monitor the air pressure and keep it within recommended range (if you were adding air with a compressor to help locate the hole). You don’t want to do more harm than good and turn a five dollar repair into an eighty dollar new tire purchase. As soon as the object is out and the hole clear, insert the reamer that came with the kit (the object with the pointed tip) into the hole and push it in and out until it is not too difficult to do so. What you are doing is creating room for the plug. Leave the reamer in as you move on.

Take the plug and flatten one end of it with the pliers and work it into the needle opening. Once the plug is ready to go on the needle, remove the reamer and be ready to instantly shove the needle into the hole before it closes back up too tight. While you are holding the back side of the tire with your other arm, shove the patch plug all the way into the hole until the plug disappears. Make sure the compressor is hooked up and ready to go. Slowly pull back on the needle until you see a bit of patch, and then yank out the needle. The patch plug usually will tear off; of it does not, repeat this step.

Filling and Checking the Tire

Use the compressor to fill the tire to the recommended PSI and check for air leakage. Listen for any air that could be seeping and do a visual test with spit or soapy water. Lower the car back to position and you are ready to drive it. Do a few more checks of pressure over the next day or so and determine if you properly plugged a tire. As long as the pressure holds and there is no evidence of the patch failing, you have been successful in your mission. Getting this repair done is simple and saves you money.


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