How to Repair a Flat Tire with a Plug and Patch
Getting a flat tire doesn’t always mean the end for the punctured tire. The tire can be repaired depending on the size and location of the puncture. The Rubber Manufacturers Association advises that the only proper method is to repair a flat tire with a plug and patch.
To repair a flat tire with a plug and patch you will need to make sure the puncture is on the tread of the tire and not on the sidewall, according to the RMA. The puncture should be 1/4 inch in diameter or smaller. Repairs should not overlap and the tire should be removed from the wheel so it can be inspected for other damage. About.com advises a trained technician repair a flat tire with a patch, “Patch repairs are generally the province of trained technicians who have the equipment to dismount and remount the tire.”
Repair a Flat Tire with a Plug and Patch
- Locate Where your Tire is Leaking Finding the leak is sometimes as easy as pinpointing a nail or screw. Other times it can be a little trickier. You can pinpoint the hole by using a cleaner that bubbles. Pour the cleaner down the tread until the cleaner begins to bubble. The hole is where the bubbling occurs and be sure to mark the spot of the hole.
- Use a Tire Machine To Separate the Tire From the Rim Not everyone is going to have access to a tire machine, so this repair may be best for professionals to complete. The “bead” that holds the air seal inside the tire must be broken before the tire can be removed from the rim.
- Clean Out the Puncture Once the tire is seperated from the rim, an air die grinder is used to clean the hole and to make the inside of the puncture coarse.
- Prep the Inside of the Tire for Patch Using a grinding stone bit on the die grinder, grind around the puncture hole on the inside of the tire. WikiHow suggests grinding around the hole about 2 inches in diameter to create a smooth, clean surface for the patch to adhere to. Then clean the area with compressed air to get rid of any debris.
- Apply Vulcanizing Cement Apply the cement to the inside of the tire to the area that was smoothed. Let it dry until it is “tacky,” which is about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Insert Plug through Tire Using a pair of pliers, pull the plug through the puncture so the patch is resting against the buffed interior surface of the tire.
- Patch the Hole Use a roller to remove any air bubbles under the patch.
- Apply Rubber Patch Sealant Cover the entire patch with rubber patch sealant to make sure air will not leak through the repair. It takes about 5 minutes for the sealant to dry.
- Remove the Stem of the Plug Using a pair of scissors, cut off the top of the plug so it is flush with the top of the tire’s tread.
- Mount and Check Tire
The RMA advises this method of tire repair because the patch “restores air containment” by resealing the innerliner of the tire. The plug “prevents moisture from reaching the steel belts and body cord in the tire.
Call Fisher Auto in Boulder, Colo., at 303-245-6414 with questions on how to repair a flat tire with a plug and patch, or to have a tire repaired.