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Knowing how to properly repair a punctured tire can save you money, as well as keep you from being stranded on the side of the road.
Luckily, a couple of easy-to-follow methods exist for repairing a punctured tire.
While you should ultimately have your tires inspected and replaced if necessary following a tire repair, the methods below provide a great temporary fix to a punctured tire until you can get to a tire store.
Here's how to plug and patch a tire.
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Using a tire plug to repair a punctured tire
A tire plug kit helps patch a tire quickly and easily. Considered a safer alternative to patches and sealant, a tire plug actually inserts into the tire. It then expands to plug any holes.
Here are the steps for how to plug a tire.
Step 1: Remove tire. Start by removing the punctured tire.
Step 2: Pull out object. Pull out the object that punctured the tire.
Step 3: Clean hole. Clean the puncture hole using a rasp tool, which you can find at brick-and-mortar stores like The Home Depot and Advanced Auto Parts.
A tire plug kit should contain various tools, one of which is a rasp tool.
The rasp tool can help the plug hold by roughening the tire material in the hole where you want to place the plug.
Step 4: Apply adhesive. Apply the adhesive that came with the tire plug kit.
Common adhesives include rubber cement or some other type of glue.
This glue can initially help lubricate the puncture hole, making it easier to get the plug through.
Step 5: Insert plug. Using the insertion tool, which also comes with your kit, insert the plug into the puncture hole.
While difficult to insert in some cases, you can get the plug to fit by squeezing down one of the end of the plug material.
Once the adhesive has dried, cut away any excess material from the plug using a razor or knife.
Step 6: Place air in the tire. Fill the tire to the recommended air pressure, which you can find inside the wall of the tire or in the owner's manual.
Test the seal of the tire plug by squirting a soap/water mix on the puncture area.
If needed, apply more adhesive or try using another plug.
MORE: How to read a tire
Using tire sealant to repair a punctured tire
Flat tire sealant, such as Fix-a-Flat, provides a fast and easy way to fix a punctured tire—as long as the puncture is not too large. You should have the tire professionally repaired or replaced if the puncture is larger than one-quarter inch.
The following steps walk you through the process of using sealant to patch your tire.
Step 1: Remove the object. First, remove the object that punctured your tire.
Step 2: Position the tire. Position the tire so that the valve stem rests at the top of the wheel.
Remove the valve stem cap.
Step 3: Attach tire sealant nozzle. Attach the nozzle from the tire sealant can to the valve stem.
Press the button releasing the sealant into the tire.
Step 4: Drive the car. Drive the car around until the sealant has spread evenly throughout the tire.
This step is necessary to keep the sealant from forming a lump in one area and unbalancing the tire.
Step 5: Replace the tire. Make sure to replace the tire within a certain time limit.
Sealants are only meant to get you to where you can get the tire replaced. Most sealants only last for 100 miles or three days.
To minimize the chances of a punctured tire, try to avoid driving over potholes and other rough areas in the street, as well as on the side of the road where debris collects.
Even given your best efforts, a punctured tire is bound to happen. And when it does, you can use one of the above methods to fix it on the spot. Just remember to take your car to a professional tire shop to have the punctured tire inspected for safety, and replaced if necessary. And don't forget to keep an eye out for slow leaks.
If your tires were damaged in an accident or another covered peril, you should contact your insurance company.
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