Is That Plugged Tire Ready To Drive On?

It’s alarming when your car tire gets a puncture, not only because the car starts handling badly, but it is dangerous to stop on the side of a busy road. Instead of going through all the processes associated with changing a tire, a simple tire repair plug supplied as part of a puncture repair kit can make the problem much easier to handle.

The great thing about tire plugs is that you can immediately drive on a plugged tire. A plug is intended to be a short-term fix, and once you reach a suitable tire repair facility or your destination, it is good to have the tire plug removed and the puncture permanently fixed.

Emergency tire repair products are an invaluable tool in a motorist’s armory. If the tire puncture is small enough, you can fix it on the side of the road and proceed on your way, secure in the knowledge that the plugged tire will get you to your destination where you can have it permanently repaired.

Is That Plugged Tire Ready To Drive On?

A plug tire repair kit is convenient and safe to plug a tire temporarily. A liquid repair product may also be an option,  but these products provide a short-term repair, which may damage the car’s Tire Pressure Monitoring Unit.

Some manufacturers claim that their tire plug products are suitable for distances of up to 25,000 miles. These statements have probably been made in respect of plugs that have been installed: 

  1. In ideal circumstances
  2. In perfect environments
  3. Where  a qualified professional  has installed the plug correctly
  4. The installation has been thoroughly tested 

As most tire repairs are often carried out on the side of the road by non-professionals, we suggest that a tire plug is only ever used as a short-term fix.

To permanently fix a punctured tire, a specialist will remove the wheel from the car and separate it from the wheel. They will glue a patch over the hole on the inside of the tire and assess the tire’s condition if the repairer is not comfortable with the amount of wear or the degree of damage.

How Do Tire Plugs Work?

A tire plug consists of a small strip of leather saturated with rubber glue. The tire plug is inserted into the hole you are repairing, which it seals from the inside out.

Tire plugs only work to fix small holes which nails, screws, or other foreign matter may have caused and are generally smaller than a ¼ inch.

For this type of damage, they are an excellent solution.

How Do You Use A Tire Plug To Repair  A Hole In A Tire?

  1. We will need a portable tire pump and a comprehensive plug-based tire repair kit, which should include the following items:
  1. An install tool
  2. A Reamer
  3. Plugs (attached to a sheet)
  4. Liquid Cement
  1. It is preferable to take the wheel off the car when repairing a puncture with a tire plug repair plug. Taking the tire off lets, you see the whole tire and verify where the hole is. It is also easier to insert the tire plug into the hole and repair the puncture with the wheel removed from the car.
  2. You could repair the tire in situ if you can easily see where the air is escaping and can access this spot.
  3. Find out where the hole is. If you can’t easily see the hole, the best way is to attach a portable pump to the valve stem and pump the tire up. 
  4. When the tire has sufficient air, pour water over the tread until you see bubbles; this is the damaged area where the hole is situated. If you are on the side of the road and don’t have access to water, use another liquid (fizzy drinks work well).
  5. The offending item may still be in the tire, and you should remove this with a pair of pliers.
  6. Use the reamer to open the hole and ensure it extends through the whole carcass; this might be a little difficult as you will have to push it through the steel belt on the inside of the tire. The tire plug must be pushed the whole through to work properly.
  7. Take hold of the installer, then choose one of the strips of rubber plugs and insert it through the eye situated at the end of the installer for half of the rubber length. Squeeze some rubber cement on the plug.
  8. Push the installer into the hole until ¾ of the length of the installer’s shaft is embedded through the tire.
  9. Turn the installer 90 degrees and pull it out. The plug should stay in the hole, and the installer will be easy to remove. The hole is now plugged.
  10. Fill the tire with the correct pressure of air (found in your cars instruction manual)
  11. You are ready to drive off.

When Can You Not Use A Tire Plug To Fix A Hole?

Tire Plugs are only designed for a particular type of damage repair. As discussed, they are ideal as a temporary solution to a tire with a hole of a diameter of ¼ inch or smaller.

The following cautions apply to using a Tire Repair Plug.

  1. Don’t insert the plug into a hole in the tire sidewall. Sidewalls are structural components of the tire; generally, if the sidewall is damaged, the tire will have to be replaced.
  2. If the hole is irregularly shaped and is not round, a tire plug may not entirely block the hole, and you will not fix the puncture.
  3. Similarly, do not attempt to plug a tire where the hole is more extensive than ¼ inch. 
  4. Do not be tempted to try and use more than one tire plug in a larger hole. If you do, this may stop the air temporarily but will leave the carcass seriously compromised, and you will risk a complete tire failure. That will make a bad day get even worse!!
  5. Don’t plug your tire if you’ve run the tire for more than a mile while it was flat; running a flat tire for a distance will damage the tire carcass, and the sidewalls will have probably been compromised.
  6. A symptom of a damaged sidewall is a bubble or bulge on the sidewall; do not continue to use a tire in this condition as it is dangerous.
  7. Do not use a tire plug to repair the hole next to a previously repaired hole. The integrity of the carcass will already be compromised, and trying to fix the hole with a plug may cause complete tire failure.


If you use the kit correctly, the plugged tire is immediately ready to drive on. Despite many manufacturer’s claims, we strongly suggest that you only treat this as a temporary repair and have the tire permanently repaired as soon as convenient.

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