How To Plug A Tire: A Step By Step Guide

A vehicle’s tires are made of rubber so that the vehicle gets proper support when it goes over potholes and bumps. After all, no one enjoys a jittery ride. But having rubber tires can prove to be disadvantageous since any sharp object can pierce through them and cause them to leak. This can be a huge problem if you are on a cross-country road trip and in the middle of nowhere. If you do not have the proper equipment to repair a tire puncture, it could mean you are stuck for hours. Therefore, it is important for you to know how to plug a tire. In this guide, I will go through the process of repairing punctuated tire.

What You Will Need?

The quickest and I think the easiest way to repair a punctured tire is to use a plug kit. A plug kit can easily be found any local parts store or Amazon. Plug kits come in different magnitudes, some have a lot of components while others are simpler. All you need is a simple kit to do the job for you.

Usually, a tire plug kit will include:

  • Sealant
  • Reamer
  • Patches

A large plug kit can have more than one corks and a various number of patches. Which one you buy, depends on your need. Sometimes, a puncture can be big enough that you need more than one patch to fill the hole and at that time a large kit can come in handy. Other than a plug kit you will need pliers, a razor blade, a vehicle jack, valve stem tool, and an air pump to refill air in your tire. Using these components, you can repair a punctured tire without the help of a mechanic.

How to Plug A Tire?

  1. Assemble All the Tools in One Place: The first thing you will need to do is gather all your tools together that includes your plug kit, pliers, air pump etc.
  2. Remove Tire: You probably have done this before, but for the sake of first timers let us go through this process again. You start by placing your vehicle jack in the appropriate position. The best place to put a jack is a vehicle’s chassis since it is the most solid part. Once you have the jack in place, you need to undo the lugs that hold the tire to the vehicle. Now you can lift the vehicle and remove the tire easily. Make sure your jack is on solid ground and not slipping from underneath the car as that can be dangerous.
  3. Find the Leak: This is perhaps the trickiest part. Leaks are easy to catch only if you have some water nearby. If getting water is a problem your only option is to listen for the leak. To do that, you need to fill the tire with air using your air pump and listen for leaks. Air makes a sharp hissing sound, so it is hard to miss. Once you find the source of the leak, remove it from your tire using the pliers. If you are using the water method, you need to dip the tire in water and look for bubbles. Bubbles are a sign of leaking air.
  4. Deflate the Tire: Here you would need to use the valve stem tool to remove the tire valve and let all the air pass out. You will need it later, to reseal the tire, so keep it safe.
  5. Make A Hole: Using the reamer from your plug kit, make a decent sized hole on the location of the leak. Make sure, you do not make a big hole or else it would become very hard for you to seal.
  6. Use Patch and Cementing Solution: Firstly, you need to apply the cementing solution to the hole you just made. This solution will act as a lubricant which will allow the patch to pass through the thick rubber with extreme ease. This action will still require a bit of force, so keep your hands steady and firm. Once the patch has gone in pull the hand tool out and leave the patch in place.
  7. Cut off Extra Length: Only a part of the patch goes in and seals the tire’s hole, the rest of it is left outside. You can either leave it in place or proceed to cut the extra piece with a razor blade.
  8. Reinstall Tire: Once you are done filling all the holes with the patch, refill the tire and put the valve stem back in place. Listen again for any leaks just to make sure. After ensuring everything is on order, install the tire back on your car, tighten all the lugs and lower your car.

When You Should Not Plug A Tire?

A plug kit would work well for you in most situations but if you have a large puncture in your tire, it is useless to plug it. Remember never to plug a tire with air still inside it. Needless to say, it would be a disastrous experience.


It is better to be safe than sorry, which is why you should always have a plug kit with you in your vehicle. After reading my article you now know how to plug a flat tire. Even if it doesn’t completely solve your problem it would stall the leak and allow you to reach a proper tire shop.

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