Anyone can get a flat tire and keeping a plug kit can save you from trouble. But if you don’t have one at that time, you can still fix the problem.
In such a situation, you can plug the tire with simple tools. Take a rubber piece, apply glue on it and insert it into the punctured hole with the help of a screwdriver. Cut the rubber ends coming out of the tire and the process is done.
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Step-by-step DIY tire plug without a plug kit
If the tire gets punctured and you don’t have the tire plug kit, you can repair it with simple method as described below:
What supplies would you need?
You will need these supplies to plug a tubeless tire
- Piece of rubber
- Knife or scissor
Procedure of plugging the tire:
- Choose a well-lit location and remove the wheel from the car. So, you can easily find the puncture.
- Locate the site of puncture either by hearing the air leakage sound or by using soapy water. Mix 80% water and 20% soap and spray on the outside of the tire, it will start bubbling on the site of the puncture.
- Remove the pierced object like a nail or screw with the pliers. In case you don’t have the pliers, you can use a screwdriver, but it takes a bit more effort and is a relatively risky deal because you may widen the cut on tread.
- Also, ream the hole using your screwdriver to clean it and roughen its inside.
- Make the plug by cutting a piece of rubber from an old tire. It should be thick and long enough to fill the hole properly.
- Apply glue on the plug and at the end of a screwdriver. Now, apply force on the plug from its center to insert it inside the tire using screwdriver. Trying pushing it down into the hole as much as you can.
- Pull out the screwdriver with a quick jerk, leaving the plug inside the tire. Trim the extra rubber which is coming out from the tire.
- Wait for 10 minutes to let the glue dry, then inflate the tire. To ensure that your tire is ready to travel, test it with soapy water. Spray soap solution on the plugged area, if you see no bubbles, it means that you have plugged the tire correctly.
- Install the wheel back onto the car and carry on your journey.
Difference Between the Tire Plug & Tire Patch:
Tire plugs (also known as tire strings) are long strips composed of leather core enclosed in rubber.
It is used when the tire is punctured by a nail or any small pointed object.
It is applied from the outside of the tire, and it takes only a few minutes as you don’t need to remove the tire from the wheel.
You can travel many miles with a plugged tire depending on the condition of your tire, the road and your driving habits.
A patch is used if you get a larger puncture hole.
Basically, it is a circular-shaped, flat piece of rubber that is applied from the inside of the tire to cover the hole.
For patching a tire, it is first removed from the wheel.
Hence, it is more costly and takes more time than the plugging.
For firmly sealing the hole, plugs or patches are applied with rubber cement or glue, which act as a vulcanizing agent.
These adhesives provide heat to the plug/patch and adhere them to the rubber strongly.
The modern technique is to use a combination of plug/patch for effective repairing.
However, both plugs and patches are temporary solutions for a flat tire and you would eventually have to remove the tire.
Plus, if you have an old tire or the sidewall of the tire gets punctured, it is better to replace your tires as soon as possible.
Can you plug the tire with glue?
In short, “yes” you can plug the tire without rubber cement by using glue in its place.
The glue bonds the plug rubber with the tread rubber tightly, sealing the puncture hole.
The adhesives which can resist high pressures, elevated temperatures, jerks, and bumps are suitable for this purpose.
Some common glue products that can be used for plugging are Gorilla glue, Loctite Super Glue, Proline Tire Glue, KBL-500 Thick Super Glue, etc.
Each of these products specifies different properties and can bear different amounts of pressure.
Likewise, the time they take for drying is also different.
Therefore, read the characteristics of the product before applying it and let the plug dry accordingly.
The adhesives which become stiff after drying, such as super glue, should not be used for repairing tires.
Because the bond between the tread and the plug will soon break due to glue’s brittle nature, making it of no use.
So, before using any adhesive, make sure it is suitable for fixing tire problems.
Can you plug a tire with air in it?
Yes, you can plug an inflated tire, but you will have to struggle more as the air pressure of the tire offers much resistance when you are pushing the plug inside.
Conversely, you can put the plug inside with minimal effort when the tire is deflated.
Therefore, it is recommended to deflate the tire before applying the plug.
But if you don’t have an air source to inflate the tire again, you can still plug the tire with air in it.
Can you plug tire’s sidewalls?
If a tire gets a puncture on the sidewall which is rare but may happen while over speeding or traveling on rock terrain where gravel particles can hit and damage the sidewalls.
In this case, plugging is not the solution because it cannot seal the sidewall properly and when you drive at high speeds, the air would leak from the tire and cause the tire to bulge.
This can cause more damage, hence, make your drive unsafe.
How to plug a tire without removing the wheel?
You need enough light to remove the nail from the tread which is practically impossible if your car is parked in a dark place.
So, it is better to remove the wheel from the car and take it to a well-lit place.
Plus, it is more convenient to keep the wheel on a flat surface to find the puncture site and then apply the plug.
But you can still plug the tire without removing the wheel by lifting up your vehicle using the jack.
A benefit of this method is that you can rotate the tire conveniently to locate the puncture.