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Posted: 12/02/2022

Tire Repair Guide: When and How to Plug or Patch a Tire

If you’ve been driving for any amount of time, you likely have experienced a flat tire at least once.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid getting stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. You can either patch or plug your tires using basic tools and some patience. And we'll show you exactly how to do it in our step-by-step guide below.

Proper Tire Repair Is Essential

Tire repair is essential for any automotive enthusiast or professional technician. Proper tire repair is vital for safety, extending the use of the tire, saving money, and even being legal on the road.

Let’s look at each of these four points in more detail.

1. Tire Safety

Properly repairing a tire will help keep you safe on the road.

If you have a punctured tire that is not repaired correctly, your vehicle can become unstable and cause an accident.

It is also important to know what tire puncture you have and how best to repair it. For example, if you have a nail in your tire, it will be easier to plug or patch than if you have a tear or cut that needs stitching.

2. Extend The Use Of The Tire

You must take care of your tires, so they last longer and perform better over time.

This includes regular maintenance, such as checking air pressure regularly or rotating it every six months. It also means knowing how to properly repair them when damaged to extend their life cycle as much as possible, saving money in the long run because replacing tires often costs more than repairing them!

3. Save Money On Repairs

It may not seem like it, but repairing your tires can be cheaper than replacing them. This is especially true if you can do the repairs yourself instead of relying on the services of a professional technician or tire shop.

4. Stay legal on the road

Improper tire repair is illegal and can lead to severe injuries. If you are not a professional mechanic, it is best to find someone who is to do the repair. A professional can fix your tires while ensuring they are doing it legally.

Tire patch vs. plug

There are two ways to fix a flat: plugging and patching. Plugging involves inserting an object into the punctured area of the tire—usually some sort of rubber or plastic cap—while patching requires covering up the hole with an adhesive-backed material like fabric or leather.

The difference is that plugging is permanent, while patching can be removed if necessary. If you’re planning on selling your car or want to drive it long-term, it’s best to go with the plug.

How tires are patched

Patching a tire is a quick and easy way to get back on the road without replacing the entire thing. Here's how to do it:

First, locate the puncture.

Next, rough up the inside of the tire where the hole is, which will help grip the patch when you apply it.

Then, apply rubber cement to the roughened tire surface, which will help hold the patch in place while you drive around.

Place the patch firmly over the puncture and allow it to dry for about 10 minutes. Then, slowly drive your car for about 15 minutes to ensure the tire repair patch is secure.

How tires are plugged

Tire plugging is a common practice for auto parts installers. But how does it work? And how do you become a professional tire plugger? Here's what you need to know:

First, find the leak by checking the tire pressure and looking for signs of wear or damage. Then, ream out the hole using a special tool that helps remove small amounts of rubber from your tire. Next, prepare the plug by cutting it to size and ensuring it's clean. Finally, insert the plug strip into your tire and fill it up with air. Trim off any excess with a specialized tool and enjoy your newly plugged tire! The tools you’ll need to complete this project are in your typical tire repair kit. 

If you are still unsure how to properly fix a punctured tire or want to learn more about other auto repairs or maintenance tips, chat with your local repair shop. Many auto parts stores and shops offer all vehicle tire repair and installation services.

Your Auto Part Source

Arnold Motor Supply has been a leading supplier of auto parts since 1927. Founded and based in Iowa, we have auto parts stores all over the midwest. Order auto parts online and you'll be notified via email once your purchase is ready for pickup at your local Arnold Motor Supply parts store. 

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