How To Plug A Tire Without A Plug Kit – The Step-By-Step Guide

By David Barlow
Last updated: Nov 27, 2022
How To Plug A Tire Without A Plug Kit

Knowing tire repair is essential in emergency cases. It is useful and safe for you to reach the nearest auto repair store when you don’t have sufficient tools.

Preparing some basic tools and materials in advance, along with following this best practice guidance, are all you need to plug the tire. 

Continue reading to discover how to patch a car tire without a patch kit

How To Patch Tire Without Patch Kit?

In an unfortunate situation, your tires suffer from damage-causing deflation or underinflation. At the same time, you also notice that the spare tires are not unavailable. Don’t feel nervous as it is not as bad as your imagination! Some tricks up your sleeve help you overcome this situation. 

Read on as we walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade tire plug. You will see no need to worry because our fixture techniques are doable in your hand.

Step 1: Preparing Tools

Having a tire repair kit with plugs ready in the car is the best way to fix flat tires fastly. Otherwise, at least you should equip some basic tools to perform basic DIY auto repairs, including plugging a tire. What can I use to plug a tire? You will need:

  • Screwdriver 
  • Pliers 
  • Rubber or Screws
  • Gorilla glue
  • Gloves
  • Sharp scissors or knife
  • Air compressor

Once you have enough tools, let’s proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Locate The Puncture 

Locating a leak in a tire becomes easier if you can remove the wheel from the car. Or else, let’s try to lift the vehicle with a car jack for easy rotation and off-weight. 

The most common method of finding a car tire leak is to coat the outside of the tire with soapy water with either your hand or a spray bottle. A mixture of 20% soap and 80% water is perfect for doing that.

Use Water slow leak tires

After a few minutes, watch for a blossom of bubbles, which pinpoint the puncture site. 

Under some circumstances, you are in the middle of nowhere. It is hard for you to find the leak with a mixture of water and soap. Let’s try the following simple ways:

Visual leakage inspection: Look out for visible punctures and foreign objects. 

Listen: Keep your ears close to the tire and try to listen to the hissing sound.

Feel: Touch the tire and feel if there is air rushing through the tire and onto your hands or not.

Step 3: Pry The Object Out

Now, once locating the puncture site successfully, you will use the needle-nose pliers to pull out the offending objects like nails or screws.

Step 4: Ream Out The Hole 

Reaming out the hole is the crucial step in preparing the plug. It comes in handy to widen the holes and roughen the inner surface. 

Start with pressing the screwdriver into the hole, then twist and pull it out to enlarge the hole. In case the hole is smaller than the screwdriver’s diameter, let’s use the hand-held drill with the proper size drill bit. 

Next, you use the same screwdriver to ream out the hole’s edges.

Step 5: Prepare The Plug

The process of how to plug a tire takes a little bit of patience. At this step, you need to prepare the plug from the old rubber piece. Cut a long, thick piece of rubber as long as you can push it down to the hole without breaking or tearing it away. Additionally, a DIY tire plug is the same size as a punctured hole. 

Step 6: Insert the Plug Strip

Now, you will coat the entire plug strip prepared with gorilla glue. Similarly, apply plenty of gorilla glue to the end of the screwdriver so that it can slide into the puncture hole easily. 

Then, push hard to get the rubber down to the hole. Carefully pull the screwdriver straight up quickly once the plug reaches halfway inside the tire or till the point, which is in a straight line with the tire. Afterward, cut off any extra length of rubber from the tire with the knife or plier. 

Step 7: Fill the Tire & Final Leak Test

After the glue is dry, inflate the tire to its proper pressure with an air compressor. Do the final leak test by the tire pressure gauge or spray soapy water on the tire’s surface. If the bubbles do not appear again, that means you have plugged the tire successfully! Remove the jack or install the tire again. Everything is ready for you to get back to the road.


Is It Safe To Drive A Vehicle With A Plugged Tire?

As a temporary fix, driving on a plugged tire is safe for a short distance. The emergency tire plug is helpful for you to reach the tire store. It is still vital for the mechanic to check the tire condition to decide to patch it or replace it with the new one.

As an airtight seal to prevent the tire leak, the tire plug has its lifespan. Over time, it gets shrinkable. Or else the hole becomes bigger. So, do not consider it a permanent solution.

Particularly, plugging a tire is feasible for small holes up to ¼ inches in diameter, which is on the tire surface. A punctured hole on the sidewall is no way to plug it other than installing the new one. 

Can You Plug A Tire Twice In The Same Place?

The possibility of plugging twice highly depends on the tire’s state, the quality of the previous repair, and the size of the damage. If last time, the tire suffered from severe damage, the second injury will possibly make it irreparable.

Not to mention, plugging a large-holed tire even causes blowouts or dangerous accidents in the future. As aforementioned, the size of a puncture hole is up to ¼ inches or 6mm, which is considered safe for plugging. 

Final Thoughts

Through the post, we believe you also feel that plug a tire without a plug kit is so simple. The availability of necessary tools and materials, along with some know-how and patience, is the recipe.

Either fixing the existing puncture or knowing these tricks in advance, this know-how is helpful and makes you more confident to solve irritating issues on the road.

David Barlow

Automotive Experts at World Tire Review

Hi everyone, I’m David (Tireguy). I believe that finding tires can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for almost every driver. That’s why I would like to bring my experiences and knowledges to develop World Tire Review blog, it will give people a deeper understanding of what choosing the right tire is really like!