How to Use a Tire Plug to Repair a Tire

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Tire repair kit
Tire inflator
Car jack
Tire iron

Repairing a punctured tire with a tire plug is the easiest and fastest way to make the tire usable again. A tire repair kit comes in handy when you are far from a service station. Plugging the punctured tire will get the car operable again and let you reach a service station where it can be properly patched. Don’t get stuck somewhere without the proper tools.

Step 1 - Determine Where the Puncture Is

The first thing to do is to determine the source of the air leak. Unless the puncture is on the outside wall of the tire, you will have to remove the tire to plug it.

Step 2 - Remove the Tire

Before you raise the car, loosen the lug nuts with the tire iron. Do not remove them entirely, though. Place the car jack near the punctured tire in a place where it will come into contact with the frame of the car. Pump the hydraulic jack until the car begins to rise. When the tire is completely off the ground, remove the lug nuts and pull the tire out of the wheel housing.

Step 3 - Remove the Foreign Object

With the pliers, remove the foreign object that caused the puncture.

Step 4 - Prepare the Tire Repair Kit

Your tire repair kit should come with the following: tire plugs, sealant, T-bar rasp tool and T-bar plug inserter. Make sure you have everything handy so you complete the job without a fuss.

Step 5 - Clean the Hole

Insert the T-bar rasp tool into the puncture and clean it out. This tool brushes away any excess debris and, at the same time, widens the puncture adequately so the plug will fit.

Step 6 - Prepare the Plug and Insert It

With the other T-bar tool, the plug inserter, prepare a tire plug. Wad up one tire plug and fit it into the clamp ends of the inserter tool. Take the rubber tire sealant and squeeze an amount over the tire plug. You want the sticky glue to cover the plug. Insert the sealant-covered plug into the puncture and hold it there for a minute. To remove the inserter tool, twist it to free its clamp from the plug. The tool should pull out without taking the plug with it.

Step 7 - Reinflate the Tire

Take your tire inflator and attach it to the tire stem valve of the newly plugged tire. Tire inflators usually run off a 12-volt battery, and depending on the model, it could take a few minutes to fully inflate the tire.

Step 8 - Reattach the Tire

Put the tire back in the wheel housing and reattach the lug nuts. Tighten them by hand. Lower the car jack until the tire is back on the ground and put the jack away. In a cross-wise pattern, tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron. They should be very tight on the bolts.

Now that your tire is plugged, you can drive the car. It’s a good idea, though, to get the car to a service station so someone can patch the puncture properly. Tire plugs are not meant to be permanent solutions.