How to Plug a Flat

Not all flat tires are created equal. While some damage is irreparable and requires a new tire, other times you can spend about 15 minutes and plug a puncture hole. Here’s how:

Step 1

Before you can plug a flat tire, you’ll need to purchase a tire repair kit (they cost about $10 and can be found at any auto parts store). Keep it in your car for when the need arises.

The first step is to check out the damage. You’ll need to remove the tire from the vehicle to do this, but spin the tire and pay close attention to the tread and sidewall. If you can’t find the hole, spray a soapy solution on the tire and look for a place where the bubbles gurgle.

Note: You’ll need a safe place to do this job, so pull over into a parking lot or other area away from oncoming traffic. If you can’t find a safe spot, your best bet is to call a professional.

Step 2

Next, you’ll want to mark the spot that needs to be fixed (colored or duct tape works best). If there’s an object in the tire, mark the hole with a pen or marker so you know where to find it after you remove the nail.

Step 3

Using your hands or pliers (depending on the need), pull out the nail, screw, or other sharp object.

Step 4

Find the tire plug kit and get the necessary tools: 1) the file (it has a handle); 2) tar worm; 3) needle (it resembles a giant sewing needle with an eye).

Jam the file into the puncture hole and move it around to create a bigger space inside the tire. Next, peel the tar worm off and thread it through the needle. You might need to pinch the end to get it through, but it should end up centered in the eye.

Step 5

Take the plugging tool with the tar in the center and stick the end into the hole. Once it’s in a small bit, apply pressure until the entire plug is in the hole (leave about ½ inch sticking out). You can cut off the excess or leave it sticking out. Finally, refill the tire until it’s properly pressurized and fit it back onto the car.

For all your vehicle’s maintenance and service needs, call the experts at Heath’s Auto Service in Flagstaff at 928-214-8150 and schedule an appointment today!

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