How to Fix a Tire with a Tire Patch

  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Masking tape and marker
Detergent and water solution in a sprayer
Valve score tool
Tire pry bars
Workbench-mounted heavy-duty vise
Handheld vise grip pliers
Portable tire buffer
Liquid tire liner cleaner
Tire reamer
Tire patches in assorted sizes
Patch roller
Vulcanizing liquid solution
Powered air compressor
Eye protection
An assistant

Repairing a puncture or cut in the tread of a tire with a tire patch is the safest and most effective way to fix the tire so it can hold pressurized air again. Follow these guidelines to correctly insert a tire patch into a tire.

Step 1: Find the Puncture or Cut

Re-inflate the tire to 30 pounds per square inch. Examine the tire to find the hole or embedded object. Spray the surface with the detergent solution, and watch for bubbles to spot the puncture location. Mark the spot with a masking tape strip stretching over to the inner sidewall, and draw an arrow pointing to the hole.

Step 2: Deflate the Tire

Using the valve core tool, pull the valve core free of the wheel and press tire to deflate as flat as you can.

Step 3: Separate the Tire from the Wheel Rim

Depress tire edge next to wheel rim until bead is released. Pry on the tire bead at intervals with the pry bar around the wheel on each side. With an assistant's help, separate the tire from the rim.

Step 4: Remove the Foreign Object

Place the tire in the vise and tighten it firmly so the area to be patched is just above the clamp. Use the handheld vise grip pliers to pull out the embedded object, wearing your eye protection. Check how the object penetrated the tire so you can ream the hole effectively.

Step 5: Prepare the Hole for Patching

Use the tire reamer to abrade and smooth the rough hole so the plug patch will fit snugly. Clean the patch area inside the tire with liquid tire liner cleaner, before buffing. After the cleaner evaporates, wipe off any residue. With the portable tire buffer, sand the area bordering the hole larger by 1/8 inch in length and width than the patch size. Dab the vulcanizing liquid solution onto the sanded area, leaving it to dry to a tacky texture.

Step 6: Affix the Plug and Patch

Remove the protective backing from a suitable combined patch and plug. Push the plug's metal tip through the hole to the outside tread, and tug it through with the handheld vise grips. Hold it till the plug has adhered to the tire liner, and remove the metal tip. Exert pull on the plug so the patch forms a vacuum dimple inside the tire.

Step 7: Secure the Patch

Press firmly on the patch in all directions using the roller until the patch is sealed and secured. Brush a thick coat of the vulcanizing solution over the patch and wait for it to dry completely so it is not tacky.

Step 8: Remount and Reinflate the Tire

Mount the tire onto the rim. Refill it with the air compressor, and spray it with the detergent solution to test the seal. Take the tire to a service center for balancing as needed. Put it back on the car and stow your spare.