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Victor Tire Plug Repair Kit – Item of the Day — 23 Comments

  1. Every car should have one of these kits and a driver that knows how to use it – super easy – turn a flat into a minor inconvenience! Pair this up with a good 12v pump (not one of the all in ones) and you are good to go! Has saved my butt before.

  2. Every car should have a tire repair kit like this, a can of fix-a-flat, and an air pump. Also, if you have a newer car, you may not realize that it didn’t come with a spare tire (not even a donut spare).

  3. An observation… every time this topic comes up on TSP (and also in a comment above), the phrase “…and know/learn how to use it.” is included.

    Youtube has plenty of videos showing how to plug a tire, but for a hands-on learner like myself, Youtube only goes so far in certain areas.

    So when it comes to tire plugs, how does one “learn how to use it” before being in a situation where you are actually putting one in at “combat speed” on the side of the interstate?

    I suppose in my case, since I’ll be replacing a couple of balding tires soon anyway, I could just buy an extra rim and have the shop give me one of the old tires (still mounted on the rim) to take home and punch holes in for the sake of practicing the steps of plugging it.

    This might be a good activity to add to the workshops/meetups/etc. that members of this community set up from time to time. Something to have available during downtime or transition periods between other classes. One person donates an old tire, another couple people bring different plug kits, somebody pulls out their tire inflator, and you’ve got a good practice set-up for folks like myself.

    I’m no mechanic, so please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, but I would guess a tire could be safely plugged and re-inflated a dozen or more times as long as it’s off the vehicle and therefore bearing no weight.

    My other question though, would be safety and technique of making the hole in the first place. I would think it’d be a risky (and difficult) endeavor to try stabbing a tire with a screw driver, but I’ve never done it so maybe it’s easy as all-get-out.

    Thoughts?
    –Da

    • Actually I looked for a good youtube video to include and what I found were a bunch of muppets that didn’t know what they were doing, and even with that you could still get it done.

      I think this is one I should do a video for. As for hands on, if you have any independent tire shops around I am sure they could get you a junk tire and a cheap rim cheap enough. Most such shops (unlike franchises) tend to use plugs and many independent guys might be happy to show you how to use one if they are not real busy.

      This is one of the simplest skills to learn though.

      1. pull out the thing that made the hole
      2. take the rough tool and push it in and out a few times back and forth sort of fast this is just roughing up the edges
      3. put the plug in the plug tool
      4. stick it in the hole until about half of it is inside the tire
      5. pull it out quickly, the plug will stay in the hole
      6. trim the plug flush with the tread
      7. add air to tire to proper pressure and go on with life

  4. Jack, I am certainly not opposed to plugging a tire and I agree with getting off the road as quickly as possible.

    However, I would love to find one of these plug tools made of all metal or at least where the cross shank handle was welded to the threat shaft. My neighbor and I both had plug kits from 2 different incidents where when using the kit, the plastic handle broke under the pressure of pushing the plug into the tires. The metal shaft only goes about an inch or inch and a half into the plastic. I was lucky and could see it was cracking and stopped.

    My neighbor had not noticed his cracked and continued with a strong force which resulted in the metal shaft I’m empaling into his hand, causing a severe injury.

    Since that time I have not found one made sturdy and have not forgot the lesson of someone’s misfortune. I have even considered having one made at a machine shop to prevent this problem.

    Other than that, thanks for the shared story and tip. It is a great prep idea for your vehicle and farm. Even if you wanted a patch on an auto tire, plugs work great for low speed things like mowers, 4 wheelers, etc.

    • Well I imagine that can happen, these were likely though either really cheap and/or old tools where the plastic had gotten brittle.

    • Safety Seal makes a kit with metal handles on them. We have one at work. I still use the cheap ones in the car though. One day I may just break down and buy it.

  5. Having one of these and a portable compressor saved my ass on a 4WD trail on the 4th of July when I got 3 simultaneous flat tires (one sidewall rip). We arrived at the closest Walmart (55 miles away) 1 hour before they closed, and bought the last 4 tires my size they had in stock!

    On the way to Walmart I had to pull over once to re-inflate one of the 2 plugged tires, and it did take a bit of time to replace the tire with a sidewall rip using the donut spare (my Cherokee had a donut spare tucked away inside).

    We were back at the 4WD trail and had our canoe in the lake by 2PM instead of 11AM. Without a plug kit and portable air compressor. It would have been a VERY expensive phone call to have a service truck with 4WD come back to my location to replace 3 tires or figure out how to drag my vehicle out of there.

  6. I had to do this one time but a few days later on a particularly hot day the plug came out. I am going to use a bit of the glue that you can buy separately next time to make sure it stays.

  7. Is there any requirement to coat the plug with rubber cement glue or is this superfluous? I had a puncture a couple of months ago and the instructions in the kit I used said that you should. It was my first repair and I used rubber cement glue on the plug at that time and it worked like a charm. The kit is now in my car however minus the rubber cement as I imagine this would dry up pretty quickly.
    Thanks.

    • It is a best practice to use rubber cement if the intent is a permanent repair. My father kept a can of it and and dunked the entire thing when doing it for a customer.

      However if the puncture is a small nail, etc. I won’t really matter, the plugs as they come are not likely to ever fail in such a hole anyway.

      Well let me add, IF properly installed.

  8. 100% correct! I got a nail in the rear Michelin tire of my F250 in July. Took it to Pep Boys and the guy said he could only plug it if hole was dead center of the tire. He could replace for $249 with lifetime balancing though! I ordered the upgraded kit for $17 (Tooluxe 5000). Took 15 minutes to plug it, air it up and was back in the road. Should have shot a video. Great investment return!

  9. Just listening to yesterdays show and i was compelled to comment on the awesome sound! Don’t know if you are using a different mic or what but it sounds much richer.

  10. The Nealey kits are another option, and the one I have come to prefer.  There are details that make them different than the common ones you see and their installation method is a little different as well.  You insert the tool all the way to the handle (a little of the plug still hangs out), rotate it 1.5 turns to form a knot inside the tire, extract the tool until you have the loop of the plug pulled back through, and cut it off flush.  I think this method, and the materials their plugs are made out of, makes these work the best.

    I’ve used these on riding mowers, ATVs, motorcycles, farm equipment, and cars, and have been pleased.  The kits come in a small tube so they’re easy to stash – even under the seat of a motorcycle.

    It’s a small company that has great customer service.  The last time I ordered a kit on the phone (maybe a little over a year ago) they just sent it out with an invoice and I mailed them a check when I received it.  Don’t know if that’s still the case, but I kind of miss that way of doing business.

    https://www.nealeytirerepairkit.com/faq

  11. Just a side, I work in a shop and we know plugs are effective especially for temporary repairs, I carry a kit in all my vehicles. But our insurance is most adamant that they will not back us on any claims involving plugs. TIA tire industry association does not approve of any repair that does not involve removing the tire from the wheel and inspecting the insides if you’ve gone that far a patch plug combination is the proper repair and is considered permanent. Basically the long way around to say your not wrong but shops have to live under a liability world of insurance agents lawyers and crazy people

    • It isn’t about lawyers it is about lobbyists. Insurance companies did do this for liability reasons, they did it due to influence by tire companies. Why? It sells more tires.

  12. I’ve got three cars and I keep a tire patch kit and a fairly inexpensive 12V air compressor in the trunk of each vehicle.

    It has saved me a few times.

    I noticed that one of the previous responders here  (Da Li) thought that the tire needed to be off the vehicle (and no weight on it) before it could be patched.  That is not needed at all.  All you need to do is to move the car slightly so that the spot with the hole can be accessed and then you can proceed to stick in the patch and then re-inflate the wheel. At the time I wasn’t aware of the fact that using rubber cement would make it easier but that makes sense because it will lubricate the insertion of the plug. I found that inserting the plug “dry” was very very hard. Next time I will make sure to make use of rubber cement to help make the insertion easier.

  13. I’ve had one of these (or one like it) in my car for years. My father used them all the time on the farm when I was a kid.
    I think it’s worth getting an extra one and practicing before you actually need it. A little while back, a friend had a soft (nearly completely flat) tire on his golf cart. I thought this would be easy enough because I had seen my father do it several times, but I had never actually done it myself. I understood the concept, and had seen it done…in person, not a youtube video. Well, the first attempt failed. First mistake I made was not letting all the air out of the tire. Duh! Even though the tire was very soft, there was still enough pressure that made getting the thing into the tire impossible. Second mistake, not reaming out the hole to make a nice clean round hole before attempting to plug it. The hole was made by running over a screw and when we pulled the screw out, the hole was pretty ragged. First attempt leaked. Had to do it again. Maybe some extra glue would have been enough, but we didn’t have any. Second attempt, we reamed a nice clean hole, which technically was larger than the original damage, but the plug filled and sealed perfectly.
    This is one of those things that seems simple enough to do, and is, if you do it right. Another example of learning from  mistakes.