Letter Re: As Simple as Changing a Tire

I read with interest and nostalgia the post about flats. I grew up in an area of poorly maintained gravel roads,and hauling scrap metal for extra cash. Flats were a fact of life. Those days aren’t so far behind me as I recently learned. But thanks to the school of hard knocks I was prepared. So here’s a tip from a pro, carry a tire plugging kit plugging kit in your vehicle. Usually you will notice a tire going down long before it’s flat, and you can often plug it on the vehicle. Contrary to what most tire shops want you to believe,it’s not rocket science. The kit you want will have two tools in it with some plugs,(you want the T handles trust me) rubber cement is nice but optional. The first tool will be a reamer, this prepares the hole for the plug. The second tool is a really big needle, with a split eye (some have a closed eye,but I haven’t seen one of those in years).

Find the leak, nine times out of ten you’ve picked up a nail or screw, if that’s all it is you can plug it right there and go on your way. Take the needle from your kit first,and thread a plug into it. Now it’s time to ream out the hole, push the reamer into the tire, twisting left and right, till all the teeth are below the surface, and leave it there for now. Pick up the needle, if you have cement apply it, now whether or not you use cement light the plug on fire. When the whole plug is burning and bubbling goo (10-15 sec.) blow it out, yank the reamer from the tire, and replace it with the needle. Push the plug in slowly, till about 1/2 inch of plug is showing(you should have a pile of goo forming around it) twist the needle till it starts to pull the plug in, then yank it out very quickly. The plug should slip from the split eye of the needle and stay in the tire. Give the rubber a minute to cool down, then trim the plug as close to the tread as possible. As soon as possible air the tire back to the proper pressure. I have driven literally thousands of miles on tires plugged this way,that said, I do recommend that you go to a reliable tire shop and have it properly patched, because plugs do sometimes pull out. This is often as fast, and always less work than changing a tire, and if you’re away from home it will get you back without getting fleeced at strange tire store, or running a mini “doughnut ” spare (That is not safe ). If you have the money then Staun internal beadlocks might be a good investment for your bug out vehicle, you’ll learn more from a google search than I can tell here. – Disco