The wife's car has a flat. Haven't taken a look at it yet, but I'm guessing it's the tire that picked up a nail a couple years ago. I just used Tire Slime back then, and worked until now, assuming it's the same hole. After awhile the Slime caused the tire to go out of balance, though. So I picked up a plug kit today.
Sounds simple enough, but the package contains a warning about it only being used for emergency repairs. If this isn't just CYA on the company's part, what do tire shops do for repair? Am I better off returning the plug kit and taking the tire into a shop?
The legally proper way is to patch AND plug it. Shops are expected to install a plug and then slap a patch over that on the inside. I guess those odd looking things Bob posted would comply, and they look like they might work well.
In real usage, I've gotten 40,000 miles and more out of plenty of tires that were never dismounted, just had a standard plug shoved in from the outside without even deflating. I eventually decided that it was silly to pay $10 for a mechanic to do it when I could do dozens of them myself for the same $10. Now I keep a plug kit (and a spray bottle of soapy water) in each vehicle and plug my tires roadside. It has never caused me a problem and I'm very happy with it. I've never suffered any failures or consequences from plug-only repairs.
You may have different conditions, and even if your tires are subject to the same usage as mine, I would recommend properly patching the inside in addition to plugging the hole.
The plug kit I have you insert a sticky black plug into the tire and twist it then pull it out as it releases from the insertion tool it leaves a big blob of the plug inside the hole like a patch. However with the slime inside it it may not stick and seal properly.
did yours come with a rasp like thing to shove in the hole to kind of scuff it up to accept the plug?
I remember years ago they did that. it looked like an ice pick only fat and with a rasp like surface. the guy would pull out the nail, run that through about 3 times, and then plug the tire. he did cut off the excess leaving maybe an inch or so of crud that would wear off on the way home. I think he checked it with soapy water.
always worked good for me in the past though it has been a while since I have had to deal with that.
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No I just had the black handle with the needle with the slotted eye end that holds the plug. But that rasp thing sounds familar . . . I think I had to make the hole bigger a few times to get the plug into the tire.
I've always had good results with those plug kits. They say you're not supposed to plug the sidewall of a tire, but I've even gotten away with that, and had the tires go tens of thousands of miles with no problems. As far as I am concerned, plug the tire and be happy (but carry a spare...)
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Harbor Freight Tire Plug kit with both the T Handle Rasp and Plug inserting tools sale price $2.99 #45183
While it's a cheap price for the other stuff in the kit, I would stay away from hook style insertion tools. I've actually had that particular tool bend on me in the past.
I would try to find a kit with one of the split eyelet type tools... It's got a eye (like a needle) that you insert the plug thing through, but has a split that runs down the middle to the tip of the tool. Inserting the tool holds the split closed, but pulling it out lets the plug slip out. HF part number 92964 has a straight-handle version of the tool I'm talking about (you can kinda make it out in the pic) and a bunch more stuff, but it's only listed on the retail store site. I've gotten a similar set of T-handle tools from Pep-Boys... I'm sure you can find them at AutoZone or any other FLAPS.