Thinking of a DIY tire puncture Repair?

A flat tire on your auto is just one of the irritations of driving, the good news is it is fairly easy and quick to fix. The first step you should take is to measure the size of the puncture. In the event that the slit is smaller than 7mm (1/4″), it can be fixed in no time with a plug. If the puncture is larger it must be fixed by a tire supplier or the tire might need to be changed.

The Tire Plug Method

The Tools For This Method

To carry out a DIY Tire Puncture Repair with a plug, there are a couple of tools that you will need:

Step 1: Loosen The Bolts

Before you jack up the vehicle, loosen up the nuts/bolts on your wheel with your spanner. Once the bolts are loosened, it is time to jack the vehicle up! Make sure to loosen the bolts of the wheel first.  The weight of your car/truck will prevent the nuts from spinning out of control. Beware that at this stage you do not want to totally remove the nuts. You just want to loosen them with a simple quarter turn with the spanner. 

Step 2: Jacking Your Car

A lot of cars, vans, and trucks have jacking Points. These are typically below the side of the door on each wheel, right where the wheel arc starts. If you cannot find your jacking points or are not sure where they are exactly, you should check your car manual for the best location. Jacking your car from the correct points is very important as your car needs to be properly balanced to prevent any risk of injury.

 

car-jack-tire-puncture-repaur

An Example of a Car Jack

Masum321, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Step 3: Wheel Removal & Finding The Leak

Get rid of the nuts, then remove the wheel from its axis.

Re-inflate the tire with an air compressor or pump. If you do not have an air compressor or pump, you can use a bike pump as a last resort. Meticulously go around the border of the tire and apply soapy water around the surface of the rubber. The puncture or air leak will generate bubbles as the air escapes.

Step 4: Remove intrusive objects

If there is a nail, screw, or other intrusive object sticking out of the tire you should remove it with pliers.

Step 5: Using your tire repair kit

Now it is time to what you have been waiting for; the tire repair itself. Start by using the rasp tool included in your repair kit. Place the rasp inside the puncture hole, and move it up and down inside the tire in order to file down any excess protruding rubber and smooth the opening.  Next, apply the adhesive or rubber concrete to the plugging material included in your kit. Use the insertion device to push the plug right into the tire, there ought to be around 10cm (1/2″) of the plug extending out from the tire. Cut this excess material away from the tire with a knife, of course being careful not to cause another puncture.

 

An Example of a Rasp Tool

Luke Milburn, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

rasp-tool-tire-puncture-repair

Re-Testing

Blow up the tire again with a pump and reapply the surface of the tire with soapy water. This time around there needs to be no development of soapy bubbles around the repaired area. If this is the case then the repair has been successful so far. You can choose to add even more rubber concrete to further strengthen the tire.

Reconnecting the Wheel

Now that you have completed the repair you can work on connecting the wheel. Set the wheel back on its axis with the bolt or nuts straightened in line with the openings on the edge. Then thread the nuts back onto the center and lightly tighten them with your fingers. Lower the vehicle back onto the ground with the use of your jack. Finally, secure the nuts/bolts with your spanner to a tightness laid out in your car’s manual. The tire repair will typically last around 30 000km (18 000 miles) after that the tire will certainly require to be changed. Thinking of upgrading car parts click here to get more!

Tire Patch Method

The Tools You Will Need:

Step 1: Removing the Wheel & Jacking

Similar to the Tire Plug method, you will start by loosening the nuts or bolts of the wheel. Do not forget that the weight of the vehicle is what prevents the nuts from spinning out of control, which is why you need to do this prior to jacking your car.  Check your car’s manual and find the recommended jacking points. Position the Jack under the specified location. Then proceed to jack the car.

Once your vehicle is raised, use your spanner to remove the nuts entirely off the desired wheel. Pull the wheel off its base, then after you have removed the wheel from its base, you can use pliers to remove any obtrusive objects.

Step 2: Remove the tire from the rim

Unlike the Tire Plug method, in order to complete the repair, you will need to remove the tire from the wheel. To do this you will need to release the tires pressure first. Using a valve stem core remover unscrew the valve stem core and take it out.

Now that the pressure from the tire has been released, it is time to remove the tire from the wheel rim. To do this, place your tire spoon on the ridge between the tire and the wheel. Then with a hammer gently pry your spoon in between the tire and the wheel. Once the tire spoon has been successfully wedged guide it around the entire wheel. You will need to do this for both sides of the tire. At this point, the tire will be completely separated from the rim and you can now begin to do the patching magic!

Step 3: Cleaning The Tire Puncture

An air die Grinder is the perfect tool for clearing out the surface of your tire. Find a pointy bit that is the right dimensions to fit inside the puncture, connect it to the grinder and proceed to grind the rim of the puncture from the internal side of the tire. This will roughen up the sides allowing the patch better grip and for a more air-tight seal. Then remove the pointy bit from your grinder and attach a grinding stone bit. This time you want to clean and roughen the surface about two inches in diameter around the damaged area.

Due to the grinding of the tire, there is bound to be some rubber debris and dirt build-up which may prevent the patch from sealing correctly. Use an air spray duster to ensure the surface is as clean as possible.

 

An Example of a Patch Repair Kit

Griffinstorm, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

tire-Puncture-repair-kit

Step 4: Attaching the patch and sealing

Use the vulcanizing cement to seal the inside of the tire puncture, waiting enough time for it to become tacky before the next step.

Once the cement is cured correctly, you can remove the plastic from the sticky side of your patch. With pliers, grab the pointy part of the patch and push it through the tire puncture from the inside. Pull the patch completely out to the external side of the tire and use a roller to remove any air bubbles. The patch is almost complete, simply apply some more cement to the external tire surface to create an air-tight seal. 

Step 5: Putting the Tire Back On

To making things a lot easier, you should use dish soap to lubricate the rim of the wheel. Using your tire spoons pry one side of the tire open again and then repeat for the other side. Place the wheel back onto the wheelbase. Use your torque wrench to retighten the nuts and then lower your car from the jack.

Once the tire is reconnected to the rim, it is always best practice and recommended to replace the valve stem core.

Disclaimer: Making sure to take all of the right safety guidelines

Check your car’s manual to know the correct air pressure to pump back into your tire. It is important that the pressure is perfect as this is what forces the tire into the correct position on the rim and also seals the valve.

It is incredibly important for your own safety that the tire repair is done correctly. Failure in a DIY Tire Puncture Repair could lead to a blowout and serious injury. If you have any doubts, concerns, or are simply lacking expertise you should hire a technician to conduct the repair. In the event that you have already carried out the repair and are unsure about its quality, you should consult with an expert prior to driving your vehicle.

If you have there any further questions, we have done our best to answer them in the FAQ below. If you have a question that is not covered, reach out to us in the comments and we will do the best we can to answer any further queries. 

tire-worn-down-by-weather-tire-puncture-repair
An Image Example of a Tire too Worn to repair Griffinstorm, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

FAQ About Tire Puncture Repairs

How much does tire puncture repair cost?

If the size of the puncture is small you will be able to do the repair yourself. This means that the cost of Repair will be the repair kit. You can get a repair kit for your car quite cheaply on amazon, the usual price is between 10 and 40 dollars depending on the kit. The 10 USD kits come with quite limited supplies compared to the more expensive ones.

It is also important to note that if you do not have a jack or a spanner you will need to buy these as well. You will be able to buy a good quality car jack for 20 dollars and a spanner for 10. If the tire has a larger crack you will need to go to a mechanic and prices range depending on your region. You can expect to pay 50 USD for more advanced repairs, If the damage is really bad it is a safer and probably more affordable practice to just replace the tire.

Can a Tire Puncture always be repaired?

Unfortunately not. Whether or not your tire can be repaired depends on the size and location of the puncture. If the puncture is located on the shoulder or sidewall the tire will have to replace.

Similarly in the event that the tire has a very large crack or if the tire is quite old(Has been used for over 20000 miles of driving) then the safest and only practical option is to change it. If the tire crack or hole is of size less than a one-quarter inch then you will be able to do the repair.

Is A Plug Or Patch a permanent solution?

No plug or patch is a permanent solution as it does not act as a permanent seal, eventually, water will be leak into the cracks and begin to corrosion. A plug or patch is still a great short-term solution and can defiantly prolong the life of your tire and save you some money.

The tire repair kits are also great if you need them in the case of an emergency. For Example, if you keep one in your car in case of a breakdown. If you run over some glass or a nail and don’t want to get stuck at the side of the road or have to pay for a tow.

In summary, it’s best used in emergency situations.

Is it safe to do a DIY Tire Puncture Repair Myself?

Provided that you have followed all of the proper procedures and have done an adequate amount of research from different sources then it should be safe. However, all mechanical repairs are safest when done by mechanical professionals. If you have any doubts or have limited experience in tire repairs you should consult/hire an expert. If you do decide to have the repair done by a professional then it may be a good idea to purchase a kit and give it to the mechanic. This may reduce your cost of repair as you have supplied the materials and will only need to pay for labor.

What is the difference between a Patch Or A Plug?

Before deciding which is best, let’s first explain the major differences between a Patch and a plug.

A tire plug is a small strip of leather that is covered in sticky rubber material. A plug works by forcing the rubber into the hole. Then while driving the heat generated by friction melts the rubber into place creating a seal.

A patch on the other hand is a strip of rubber that has its back covered in a strong adhesive. A tire plug is easier to apply than a plug and is much cheaper to install. You can use a tire plug without having to remove the tire from the wheel. The downside is that they are a lot less sturdy and probably won’t last as long. In order to apply a tire patch, you need to unmount the wheel entirely and because of this, the repair will cost more as you will most likely need to go to a technician who has the right tools.

The patch is much stronger than a seal and is much more reliable but if you have only a small puncture caused by a nail it will be overkill to have this repair done.

I patched my tire before, should I re-patch it?

No, you should never patch the same tire twice. Repatching a tire puts you at serious risk of a blow-out and could very easily cause an accident.

How long will a DIY tire Puncture repair actually last?

Tire experts believe that if you have plugged the tire perfectly it could last up to ten years. Of course, if you take into consideration how often you drive your vehicle it is more than likely that your tire’s tread will be worn down sooner than this and will most likely need to be replaced much sooner than this.

If you are not sure whether you have plugged the tire perfectly you should consult with an industry expert for your own safety. As mentioned above failure to repair correctly puts you at risk of your tire blowing out while you are driving

Does the age of my tire matter?

If your tire is quite old or has been used frequently then it may be time for a complete tire replacement. If your tire is at the end of its life or near it then it would not make any sense to replace it as it would be a waste of money.

Most car manufacturers recommend that you change your tires once every six years for your own safety. If you are trying to decide whether or not is safe to continue using your tire, you should know that you will not be able to decide with the naked eye.

The best way of checking is by using a gauge to measure the tire tread. Your tread should be at least a depth of 1.6mm.