This weekend we found ourselves in a predicament. One of us picked up a nail in our tire. Ordinarily, the tire would be patched by professionals because we rarely know what we're doing. However, since this tire is going to be replaced in two months anyway, we thought we would take a stab at patching it on our own.
Step 1: Tools
Step 2: Pull the Nail
Yank that nail, screw, metal or whatever our of your tire.
Step 3: Ream the Hole
Reaming the hole was one of the more difficult parts of the process. There's no good measure for how deep you should go. You want to be deep enough to be able to jam the next tool in far enough but I assume you don't want to puncture the steel belting. We reamed about 1/2" deep and could noticeably feel the belting with the tool.
Step 4: Plug the Hole
Put the rubber plug halfway through the plugging tool so that you have equal amounts sticking out of either end. Then, push the tool and plug into the hole. This part was the most difficult as it takes quite a bit of force. Keep pushing until the plug is 2/3 of the way into the tire. Then remove the tool and your plug should stay in place. Trim the excess plug material off or else it will get all over your driveway.
Step 5: Fill Your Tire
Fill your tire and check for leaks with soapy water. Then, take a test drive around the area. Check for leaks again (this tire sees lots of highway driving and long trips so we wanted to be extra certain). You want to make sure the seal is holding before trekking 100 miles across farmland or taking some other long trip.
I can confirm that this plug has successfully made it through 100 miles of highway travel but your results may vary.
This job is a whole lot easier than what I had built it up to be in my head. We saved a ton of time by not having to change the tire, drive to a tire place to wait for them to patch it, etc. It took roughly 10 minutes and was as easy as the box said it would be.
(As with anything, a true professional will do a better job and guarantee their work. We're just two dudes passing along our experiences)