Flat tire. Just hearing the words make you cringe. We have all “been there done that” when it comes to getting a flat and although routine car maintenance can help prevent many of these instances there is nothing like that stray nail or screw to put a wrench in your day. While you could spend hours stranded on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive or pulling out the donut tire and hoping it lasts until you make it to the next service station there is an alternative that could you back on the road again in no time.
Many of us that have had issues with our cars in the past know to keep certain items on hand in your car; jumper cables for a dead battery , water and coolant for an overheating engine, and a plug kit for a flat tire. Most plug kits come complete with a rasp tool, insertion needle and a few plugs; everything you need to plug your tire and get back on the road.
To begin plugging your tire you first need to find the source of the leak. In many cases the nail, screw, etc. may still be stuck in your tire. Don’t remove it until you’ve marked the spot or you may have some trouble finding in again. If the nail is no longer in your tire there are a few tricks you can use to locate the hole , like using soapy water. Once the hole has been marked you can remove the nail. You can then use the rasp tool to roughen the inside of the hole and create a better surface for the plug by thrusting it into the hole a few times. With the hole ready you can thread the plug through the eye of the insertion needle until it is about half way through. Then, using some force, plunge the needle into the hole. It may take some work but feed the plug in until only a half an inch is left out. This can be trimmed closer to the tire. And just like that your tire is plugged.
Plugs are great because they can be used for many miles but it is recommended that you take your vehicle in so a professional can check out the tires. In some cases it may mean you need some new Continental tires but it is better to be safe.
Also plugs are only to be used on the tread of your tires. They don’t work on the sidewall and using them there could result in a blowout.
There are many things that can happen when you are out driving around. Being prepared can help you resolve the situation quicker and with less stress so you can get back out there as soon as possible.