Nothing puts a damper on your day like a flat tire. Without fail it always seems to happen as you are rushing out the door on the way to work or in an unfamiliar part of town running errands. Changing to a spare tire can take a lot of time and, unless you have a full size spare, there are limitations on how fast and far you can drive safely. Calling a tow truck can also be a very time consuming option with wait times being as much as several hours. Fortunately there is another option that is quick, easy and will have you back on your nitto tires in no time.

Tire plugs are a great tire repair solution if you tire tread is punctured. All the tools you need –a rasp tool, insertion needle, and plugs –can be purchased together in a kit and kept in your car for emergency situations. Tire plugs cannot, however, be used on the sidewall. It is subject to different pressure and using a tire plug could result in a blowout.

The first phase in plugging your tire is finding the hole. Sometimes this is easy because the nail, screw, etc. that caused the flat is still there. If the object is gone you can do a simple test with water and soap to locate the hole. The most important thing when you have located the hole is marking it using chalk or a piece of tape. Once the spot is marked you can remove the object from the tire.

The second phase is inserting the plug. You tire plug kit should come with a round file that you can insert several times into the hole. This creates a rough surface in the hole to help the tire plug stay in place. Now take the tire plug and thread it through the needle until it is centered and insert it into the hole. It may be challenging to get in but it’s important that the plug has a tight fit so that you tire will be able to hold air. With about ½ an inch of the plug sticking out, pull the threading tool straight out. The loose ends of the plug can be trimmed but otherwise leave the plug as it is.

Knowing how to plug a tire is a great skill to have in emergency situations. Instead of waiting hours for help to come or spend hundreds on costly repairs, you can fix your tire quickly and be back on the road for under $20.

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