Getting a flat tire is one of the oldest excuses in the book for arriving late, but it still works. However, when you need to go somewhere and a flat tire is no longer an excuse but a reality, plugging the tire is akin to survival. Not having a tire plug kit at that time can cost you.
For situations like these, it is essential to know how to plug a tire without a plug kit.
The process is simple, but you need to show some artistic skills to plug a tire without a kit. First, cut out a small piece of rubber from an old tire and insert it into the punctured hole with a screwdriver. Then, make sure to apply gorilla glue on the rubber strip before pushing it in to stick to the tire. Finally, cut out the rubber protruding out from the tire and continue with your journey.
Read on for a detailed excerpt on how to plug a tire without a kit.
What's In This Guide?
What You Need To Know About Plugging a Tire Without a Plug Kit
One of the questions that might be making rounds in your head is whether to plug the tire or patch it? Well, irrespective of what you do, both these solutions provide temporary assistance.
Hence, plugging the tire is not a permanent solution, not even if you are doing it with a professional kit. For tires that are too old to run even with plugs and patches, the best thing to do is replacing the tires.
Also, if the puncture or leakage is on the tire sidewalls, do not plug. Yes, the chances of a tire getting from the sidewall is rare, but if you run into this unfortunate situation, do not plug it. Yes, there is a reason behind it.
You see, tire rotations cause some unprecedented changes in terms of expansion. This can force the plug out as the tire can also bulge or contract during high-speed driving. The same can also tip over the car.
Supplies You’ll Need For Plugging Your Tire
Here are the things you will need to plug a tire without using a plug kit.
- Rubber or Screws
- Working gloves
- Sharp scissors or knife
- Air compressor
- Gorilla glue
Here is one reason to always keep a swiss knife in your vehicle. As for the other items concerned, gorilla glue is readily available in any departmental store. Keeping a pair of gloves and a screwdriver in the vehicle is also necessary.
In other words, all these items are used daily, and it would be great to keep them in your car even if you don’t want to spend money on a plug kit.
How To Plug Your Tire Without a Plug Kit
Here is the step-by-step process to plug a tire without using a professional plug kit.
- Step 1: Remove the tire from the wheel and take it to a well-lit place. If you are under the sky, the light from the sun should be enough. The real challenge will be plugging the tire in the night. So, ensure that you either take your car or the tire separately to a well-lit place.
- Step 2: Start looking for the object pierced into the tire. It can be hard to see even in daylight. So, a better option is to use soapy water. To make it, you can use a paper soap and pour it over the tire. Keep an eye on the bubbles popping out from the tire. Where there are bubbles, there is leakage.
- Step 3: To take it out (pierced object), use gloves and run your hand around the tire from the inside. It will be protruding towards the inside of the tire. So, do not rush and do it slowly lest you want to cut your fingers. In case the pierced object has snapped, it will be harder to find. You can also use your phone’s flashlight for better visibility.
- Step 4: Pry the object out with a screwdriver. However, if you can find a set of pliers, there is nothing better than that. Using the same screwdriver, you should also ream the puncture site.
- Step 5: If you are using a rubber piece, cut a small piece with the same size as the punctured hole. The rubber has to be thick enough not to break or tear apart when you push it down the punctured hole. The screw will only work when the size of the hole and screw’s diameter is the same.
- Step 6: Before inserting the rubber or screw into the punctured hole, apply gorilla glue on all sides. Push the rubber down till the point it is in a straight line with the tire. The glue is to ensure that the rubber or screws hold firmly to the tire.
- Step 7: If required, cut out the excessive rubber that is coming out from the tire. Let the glue dry for 10 minutes and inflate the tire with the air compressor. Do not over inflate as it can force the rubber out.
Again, plugging a tire is a temporary solution. It will let you reach your destination on time but do not rely on it to stick for a long time. So, as soon as you have time, get the tire replaced or checked by a professional. The cost to get a tire patched varies, but you can expect it to range between $10 and $40.
If the tire is already in a lamentable condition, replace it with a new one. For one, plugging a bald tire is not a good way out. Whatever you are using to plug the hole, it won’t stick as there is no support from the tire grooves and treads. Secondly, bald tires take more stress than new ones and the extra pressure will force the plug to detach from the tire, putting your safety at risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I travel with a plugged tire?
The answer depends on your tire’s condition. If the tire has a good condition and does not get punctured again, you can expect it to run for up to 200 miles. But a tire in a poor state won’t be able to hold the plug for much long. So, you should find a replacement as soon as you can.
Is it Illegal to drive a vehicle with a plugged tire?
At present, there is no federal or state law prohibiting anyone from driving a car with plugged tires. It is best for your safety that you get your tire checked after plugging it yourself.