Flat tires are a fact of life for all drivers. Generally, when you get a flat tire most people put on a spare tire and go to a local garage, such as easthillsjeep.com, to get it repaired. That being said, some people, especially those who love DIY projects are fixing simple tire punctures themselves. Although we don’t recommend this to everyone, the process is actually easy and if you want to try it out, here’s a way to do it. Note: don’t try this if you have a sidewall puncture, as that cannot be repaired–essentially, make sure you have located the source of the leak first before you go about this. A sidewall puncture means you need to arrange to get a new tire.
First, get a plug kit in your possession. These are available at any car parts store, and typically come with ten plugs, a good reamer, a strong plug gun and rubber cement. The best part is that it can be used up to ten times and retails for $10 or less at the majority of stores.
The first thing that needs to happen is for you to remove the foreign object that caused the flat tire in the first place. This is probably a nail, drywall screw or some other object made of metal. Pulling it out usually requires a good pair of diagonal cutters or a set of pliers. We recommend you do it fast but use caution so you don’t lose grip on the object.
After the object’s out, put the reamer into the hole and work it all the way into your tire. Then pull it straight up and down a few times, and stop when you feel the reamer move a bit more easily. This enlarges the hole. Once you have reamed the hole, spin the reamer three or four times in the direction of the threads of the reamer to rough up the inside of the hole so your plug has more area to stick to inside of the tire.
Now you put the plug in. First load your plug tool by pulling the plug through until there is an equal length on both sides of the tool. Then push the plug into the tire leaving roughly 1/2″ to 3/4″ hanging out. It will eventually wear down once the plug has vulcanized. If not enough length is left on the plug, it might suck into the tire. The last thing to do is to seal the plug. Tire repair kits typically provide a small tube of rubber cement. This seals tiny air pockets and helps the plug vulcanize. Apply liberally and allow the cement to dry for about 15 minutes or so.
Now, just put air into your tire to the recommended inflation level and put it back on your car. Put a few drops of soapy water on the plugged area, and if bubbles appear then you need to repeat the plugging process. After the process is complete keep an eye on the tire and the pressure for a few days. The tire should be fine but sometimes they might leak. If your tire still holds air after a week, then this process was a success!
Article Courtesy of: East Hills Jeep