Tire Plug Fix: How To Plug A Punctured Tire The Right Way

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Many auto owners and drivers see the liquid tire sealant as the only option when they have a flat tire in the sidewall.

As desirable and popular as this repair kit is, it tends to affect your Tire Pressure Monitor System unit.

Besides, using this kit can be tricky and time-consuming in an emergency.

What’s the way out if you experience a cut in the tire’s tread area? Having a flat tire can be dull, but it’s not an uncommon experience, whether in summer or winter.

Especially when you don’t have a spare tire to replace it, the situation might look hopeless. Never get deterred because I’ve got a quick-fix solution for you. It’s a tire plug fix kit.

What Is Tire Plug Kit?

What’s a tire plug kit? This is a tire repair sealer made of strips of leather and sealed with a gooey rubber compound.

This vulcanized compound comes with cork and gooey glue. It works as a temporary fix on a punctured tire pending a permanent internal patch.

This way, you can quickly get out of trouble and safely drive to a tire shop.

Although it’s suitable to fix a hole in a tire, a tire plug is only made for pierced tread area on the tire.

It cannot replace a liquid sealant in case of compression breaks or damage on the sidewall.

Like a tire patch, a tire plug kit requires you to understand how to install it properly.

How To Plug A Leaky Auto Tire The Right Way

When buying tire plugging kits, ensure that the package comes with all the necessary kits, including the installer, reamer tool, and plugging kits.

If you find the liquid cement inside your package, it’s an extra because it’ll be useful when permanently installing the internal patch.

Supplies needed:

  • A pair of needle-nosed pliers/a diagonal side cutter 
  • Compressed air
  • Spray bottle
  • Soapy water
  • Tire plug kit (plug insertion tool, reamer, and plugs)

10-Step Procedure To Plug A Punctured Tire

Step 1: Locate The Cut

The first thing to do is to locate the puncture. Measure how close or far away the sidewall is.

Remember, you cannot plug a puncture less than 6mm close to the tire’s sidewall. Sometimes, the cut is so small that you may not see it.

If this happens, you should spray soapy water on the tire and look for where bubbles form. Water should take about 80% and soap 20% of the solution.

Mark the spot or spots where you can locate the plugs.

Step 2: Take Off The Piercing Object

Once you locate the punctured spot, remove the piercing item. This can be a nail, needle, screw, or sharp, piercing object.

If the item isn’t worn down, simply put the pliers and drag it out. Side-cutters will do a better job if the item is tiny and hard to remove.

Side-cutters will get a good bite on the item.

Step 3: Ream Out The Hole Inside The Tire

Start by inserting the T-handle reamer into the hole. The idea is to make a small hole wide and rough enough for the plug to be installed.

This may require some effort as you’ll have to say the reamer through the tire’s steel belts.

Spin the reamer and work it up and down a few times to ensure the hole is through.

Step 4: Take Out The Reaming Tool

Eject the reamer and inspect the hole for size, uniformity, and roundness.

Sometimes, you may have to use a handheld drilling tool to the sufficiently enlarged and widened hole.

Make sure the side of the hole is roughened.

Step 5: Prep The Plug

It’s time to prepare the plug and installer tool. Start with the plug strip in your tire plug package. Push the strip through the eyelet of your plug insertion kit.

You can pull the pliers to make the job easier. Continue until the installer tool protrudes through its eyelet on each side.

Step 6: Slide The Plug Strip Into The Tire

The next step is inserting the plug into the tire. Do this gently and slowly but push hard until the plug gets deep into the tire hole.

In the meantime, ensure the insertion tool is covered with a liquid cement-coated plug.

Once this is done, only an inch or two-third of the tool should be sticking out from inside the tire.

After this, pull the handle of your plug insertion tool uprightly, and spin it 90 degrees before completely pulling it out.

The plug will remain in the tire only if an end of the tool’s eyelet allows free sliding.

Step 7: Trim The Excess Sealing Cement

Sometimes, there’ll be excess liquid sealing cement that covers the plug. You should wipe it away with a paper towel.

You can also use wire cutters to get rid of the excess cement.

Otherwise, you can leave it as it’ll wear off as you drive.

Step 8: Inflate The Tire

Connect the tire to a pump and fill it with less-than-recommended air pressure. If the tire needs 45 psi, you can inflate it with 40 psi.

Spray the tire again with soapy water to ensure no more leaks.

Step 9: Fill The Tire With Normal Pressure

Once you’ve certified that there are no leaks around the plug or tire, you can connect the tire to an air compressor.

A handheld pump or air compressor will make things easier. Fill the tire with the recommended air pressure.

Do not over-inflate the tire to avoid tire burst.

Step 10: Allow The Tire To Rest For Minutes

Once you have completed every process, let the tire rest for at least 10 minutes.

You can drive the car around for a few minutes.

There you go!


How Long Can I Drive On A Plugged Tire?

Depending on the driving conditions, the longest you can drive on a plugged tire is 8 miles or 13 kilometers.

You should consider doing permanent patching as soon as you sight a tire shop.

This way, you can prevent further damage to your tire and extend its lifespan.

Should I Use A Tire Plug Kit?

Yes, you should have a tire plug kit in your car boot or toolbox in an emergency.

The toolbox should also contain a portable air compressor or pump.

The plug repair kit is one of the emergency car tools that can save you when you’re in a traffic inconvenience.

Best Tire Plug Repair Kit – TECH UL6 Uni-Seal Ultra Tire Repairs 

This uni-seal ultra-performance tire repair kit permanently adheres to the tire to ensure a safe fix.

Thanks to its quick and safe repair method, it is suitable for both bias and radial tires.

With a one-piece stem and seal, you can get things done quickly and easily.

It is made to fix tire plugs up to 6mm (¼ inch). If you want to apply the kit for punctures up to 35 degrees, this plug kit won’t fail you.

It comes with a lead wire that you can use to pull the tire repair for easy installation.

It can also permanently seal contaminants and moisture.

  • Excellent for punctures and tire plugs
  • Comes with a full kit
  • Safe and simple installation
  • Perfect for bias and radial tires
  • Requires TECH vulcanizing fluid

Final Consideration 

There’s no doubt that a tire plug kit is very essential to safe driving in wintry, snowy, or hot driving times and conditions.

With a tire plug kit, you can get over a flat in no time without using a liquid sealant.

After plugging your punctured tire, make sure you drive to an experience tire expert to help you give a permanent fix.

You need the tire to be in excellent condition all the time.

It is the interface between the car and the road, and any little bite on the tire can cause a serious issue.