If you have a small puncture in your tire tread caused by driving over a nail or screw, it's important to have it repaired as soon as you can. Driving on a tire that's leaking air through a hole is dangerous since the air inside the tire helps support the weight of your car—if it all leaks out, your tire may be crushed and blow out while you're driving.
Thankfully, tire repair is inexpensive and doesn't take very long. The best way to fix a hole in a tire is to use both a patch and a plug to fill the hole and prevent air from escaping the tire. This is the method used by professional tire repair shops. To learn how to fix your tire, read on to learn more about using tire plugs and patches.
A tire plug consists of leather that's surrounded by rubber. In order to use one to fix the hole in your tire tread, you push it into the hole from outside your tire and twist a handle on the plug to cause it to expand. As the plug expands and fills the hole, the friction against the plug and the tire will hold it in place.
Since a tire plug relies on friction in order to keep it in place, using a tire plug alone to repair your tire is considered an emergency repair. Rubber expands when it gets hot, and your tires heat up considerably when you're driving due to the friction against the rubber and the road. Driving at highway speeds can cause the expanding rubber in your tire to force the plug out of the hole, opening the leak in your tire. Tire plugs should only be used as a method to keep air in the tire until you can take your car to a tire repair shop or perform a more comprehensive repair on your own.
Tire patches require more work to use than tire plugs, but they provide a more secure repair. In order to install a tire patch to fix a hole in your tire, you need to remove it completely from the wheel it's on. After removing it, you place the patch on the inside of the tire in order to completely cover the hole, then press the patch firmly into the tire in order to seal it to the rubber.
Once you refill your flat tire with air, the pressure of the air inside your tires will securely hold the patch against the hole. They're less affected by your tires expanding and contracting due to changes in the temperature of the rubber, so they're a better repair option than using a tire plug alone. However, the best option to fix a hole in your tires is to combine the two methods of tire repair.
How Do You Combine a Tire Plug and Tire Patch to Fix a Hole in a Tire?
You can purchase tire repair kits at auto part stores that contain both a tire plug and a tire patch. In order to use these kits, you'll need to remove the tire from your wheel, insert the plug through the hole in your tire from the inside, and then apply the patch over the hole. Afterward, you trim the portion of the plug on the outside of your tire until it's flush with your tire treads.
Combining a patch and a plug to repair a hole in a tire is the best method of fixing a hole in your tire. The plug fills the hole in your tire completely, and the patch holds the plug securely in place so that it won't pop out due to temperature changes.
If you have a hole in your tire, it's best to take it to a tire repair shop in order to have a patch and plug applied to it. Having your tires professionally repaired is inexpensive, and you'll save yourself from going through the trouble of removing the tire from the wheel on your own. A tire repair technician will also be able to tell you if repairing the tire is the safest option—if the hole is located next to the tire's sidewall, you'll most likely need to replace it, as it's impossible to angle the patch and plug correctly in order to securely cover the hole.