How to Plug a Flat Car Tire – Part 2

How to Plug a Flat Tire: Repair the puncture hole by installing a tire plug and inflate the tire.

This project is continued from How to Plug a Flat Car Tire – Part 1.

Flat Car Tire Plug Repair Kit

This is the Victor plug repair kit. Note the puncture car tire hole at the red arrow:

Car Tire Plug Repair Kit: Rasp Tool, Needle Tool and Plugs

Car Tire Plug Repair Kit: Rasp Tool, Needle Tool and Plugs

The car tire puncture hole is cleaned with the rasp tool by drawing it back and forth several times to remove any dirt, mud or grease that would interfere with a clean bond between the tire rubber and tire plug:

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Clean the Tire Puncture Hole with the Rasp Tool

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Clean the Tire Puncture Hole with the Rasp Tool

The flat tire plug is woven cord coated in a sticky tar-like substance:

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Peel a Tire Plug from the Package

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Peel a Tire Plug from the Package

The tire plug is threaded through the eye of the needle tool, centered halfway as shown:

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Insert the Tire Plug in the Puncture Hole

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Insert the Tire Plug in the Puncture Hole

It takes a fair amount of force to press the needle tool and plug into the car tire. Press straight in, do not twist.

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Press the Tire Plug in with the Needle Tool

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Press the Tire Plug in with the Needle Tool

The tire plug is pressed about 2/3rds of the way into the car tire, then the needle tool is forcefully drawn straight out to set the plug. This was the hardest part and took a lot of muscle.

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Press the Plug 2/3rds into the Tire Puncture Hole

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Press the Plug 2/3rds into the Tire Puncture Hole

The car tire plug remains in the hole after the needle tool is withdrawn. The newly installed tire plug:

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Tire Plug set in the Puncture Hole

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Tire Plug set in the Puncture Hole

Cut the tire plug off roughly even with the tire tread:

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Trim the Tire Plug Even with the Tread

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Trim the Tire Plug Even with the Tread

A small portable air compressor is used to re-inflate the tire. It takes more than one tank of air to fully inflate the tire, so the compressor needs to be plugged in to the 120VAC outlet to do the job.

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Inflate the Tire with a Portable Air Compressor

How to Plug a Flat Car Tire: Inflate the Tire with a Portable Air Compressor

A portable air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter also works great:

Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended tire inflation pressure – on my car, it’s 39 psi. Do not exceed the maximum tire pressure printed in raised letters on the sidewall.

Reinflate the Tire to the Car Manufacturer's Specifications

Reinflate the Tire to the Car Manufacturer’s Specifications

Check the tire pressure with the gauge several times as you inflate the tire. Here I’m showing 42 psi on the tire pressure pencil gauge. I let out small amount of air to bring the pressure down to the recommended 39 psi.

Fix a Flat Car Tire: Check the Tire Pressure with a Gauge

Fix a Flat Car Tire: Check the Tire Pressure with a Gauge

The tire is now ready to be mounted back on the car.

Plugged Flat Car Tire Re-Balancing

It’s possible the tire plug can add enough weight that the tire needs to be rebalanced. I’ve never noticed a balancing problem with a plug repair nor has my plugged tires ever developed a vibration or flat spot that is characteristic of an unbalanced tire. However, if you notice a vibration that increases with speed or which happens at a specific speed range (it’s worse at a harmonic frequency), then have your tire rebalanced. While you’re at the repair shop with the tire off the car to have it rebalanced, you might as well have the tire patched-and-plugged professionally per the Rubber Manufacturers Association recommendations.

Tip:

Press your thumb into the sidewall and note how firm the tire feels. Remember this for a quick check with your visual inspection to ensure the tire is holding air each time before you drive. If in doubt, confirm the tire pressure with the tire gauge when the tire is cold.

Take care,

Bob Jackson

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