how to showing how to plug a tire with a plug kit
Car Tires

How to Plug a Tire with a Plug Kit

Despite the considerable milestones in car technology, we still don’t have invincible tires. A tire burst can ruin your day, especially when you lack the expertise to fix it.

You can typically avoid tire punctures by driving and parking carefully. Car tire punctures are a common occurrence, which makes knowing how to plug a tire with a plug kit an essential skill.

Knowing the difference between a punctured tire and a damaged tire will help you determine whether you need to repair your car tire or replace it altogether. So, how can you plug a tire with a plug kit? Let’s find out.

Reasons Why Your Car Tire Got Punctured

flat tire on the road

A tire puncture occurs when sharp objects such as nails and glass penetrate the tire and make an opening for air to escape. Other reasons include:

Over-inflated tires

Over-inflated tires usually add extra tire pressure. This pressure can result in a sudden inflation pressure loss or cause the tires to be inflexible. This, in turn, makes the tires prone to punctures from potholes. 

Road hazards

While driving, avoid potholes, extremely uneven roads, and debris that can damage your car’s undercarriage or wheels.

Collision causes the separation of the tire and rim

This collision may result in a slow loss of air over time and can only be fixed by a technician.

Tire bead leaks

A tire bead is the edge of a tire that sits on the wheels. When air leakage occurs around the circumference of the tire, flat tires are often the result. 

Worn tires

worn out car tire

Since worn tires are thinner, they are at a higher risk of punctures. This can cause severe accidents due to sudden loss of inflation and greater barking distance.

Valve stem damage

The valve stem is the tiny projection used to inflate tires. If a tire’s valve stem is loose, clogged, damaged, or corroded, air can leak.


When choosing a place to park your car, be sure to park in a safe area since criminals can let out your air tires.

How to Identify Punctures

  • A slow air leak is detectable visually when one tire has a lower profile than the others.
  • The car might just feel like it is driving differently than usual. 
  • A sudden loss of tire pressure will cause you to lose control of the steering wheel. If this occurs, slow down the car while firmly holding the wheel until the vehicle stops.
  • If fitted to your car, the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) will alert you when a drop in tire pressure is detected.
  • Spraying soapy water on the tire and observing for bubbles is an easy method that you can carry out in the comfort of your home.

Ways to Prevent a Puncture

  • Be careful where you drive. To avoid punctures, avoid areas such as potholes, construction sites, and roads with a lot of debris. 
  • Avoid driving over sharp objects such as glass and nails that may pierce your tires.
  • Pay attention to the depth of your tread. Since worn-out tires are more susceptible to punctures, regular checkups on your tire will help you know when it is time to change the tires. Go for the type of tire that’s suitable for your car.
  • Check your tire pressure regularly. Both over-inflated and under-inflated tires are prone to punctures. While bumps or potholes can easily puncture your tire, under-inflated tires wear out quickly due to friction.
  • Avoid overloading your vehicle. Every car has a maximum loading rating, which, if exceeded, can cause a strain on your tires. 
  • Stay away from the curbs. Bumping into curbs while parking causes friction between the curb, and it can potentially lead to damaged tires more prone to punctures. 

How to Plug a Tire with a Plug Kit

Find the puncture

Check for the puncture and identify where it is located. Location is an important factor when determining if a plug kit will work in a given situation. 

Remove the tire and valve stem core

  1. A vehicle jack identifies a suitable spot to elevate your car above the ground. Finding the correct lifting points will ensure that your vehicle is not damaged.
  2. Remove the lug nuts with an impact wrench and impact socket. After removing them, place them in a safe space to avoid losing them.
  3. Remove the valve stem core, deflate it, and place it safely to the side. 

Use the tire plug kit to plug the tire

  1. Remove the object that caused the puncture with pliers or a screwdriver. Widen the hole with a rasp to allow the plug to fit in. Attach the plug into the T-handle, insert the tool, and inject it into the hole. 
  2. Pull the T- handle out and trim the part that sticks out. 
  3. Reinflate your tires

Ream out the hole

It is important to ensure that the hole can receive tools. Use a reamer to insert it into the crack and twist it while simultaneously moving it up and down. Use the sticky tar worms and place them in the plugging tool, ensuring that it is centered. 

Apply rubber cement

  1. Use the rubber cement to clean the puncture. 
  2. Apply the probe by covering the tip with some runner cement.
  3. Insert the probe into the crack by twisting it from side to side.

Plug the tire with a patch

  1. Gather the appropriate materials: contact cement, a holder, and plugs.
  2. Begin by inserting the plug into the utensil and applying the contact cement to lubricate the hole.
  3. Insert the utensil into the crack and push the patch in with the utensil to the direction of the puncture channel. 
  4. Pull the utensil back and ensure the plug has remained in the hole. 
  5. Cut the part that sticks out.

Fill the tire

  1. Reinflate the tire to the proper recommended pressure.
  2. Use the socket to thread your lugs on as far as you can get them. This will prevent cross-threaded studs that make it difficult to install and remove the tire in the future.
  3. Tighten the lug nuts, remove the vehicle jack and return your car to the pavement.
  4. Tighten the lug nuts to the recommended specification. 
  5. Double check  that everything is in place, and you should be good to go! 

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to fix some of the basic mechanical problems in your car. As a driver, you need to have a few basic skills that can help you in emergency situations. Now you know how to plug a car tire with a plug kit