How to Fix a Flat Car Tire




About: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open and let me know how it goes. cheers, -Joe

My car got a nail in the tire and rather than bring it to the garage to have them plug it, I did and took some pics.

This instructable will show you how to patch your car tire.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Tools

You'll need:
- Car jack
- Lug wrench (or socket)
- Pliers
- Knife or Knips

- Patch kit

Step 2: Pull Out

Take the wheel off.
I jacked it up, removed the wheel.

Then I used a pair of pliers to pull the nail out.

Step 3: Reamed Out.

Ream the hole a few times with the reaming tool.

Don't go crazy with the reamer, you can make the hole to big for the plug to fit in.

Step 4: Plug Tuning

Insert the plug in to the plug tool, so the plug is centered.

Then cover the plug and tip of the tool with rubber cement.

Step 5: Keep Pluggin'

Now insert the plug in the hole all the way.

Step 6: Pull the Plug

Pull the plug tool out.

Cut the remaining plug off.

Let it dry and pump the tire back up.

Your done.

Be the First to Share


    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest

    14 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Yup, good instructible. I use this method but the cord I get for plugging is coated in some kind of black gummy crap and they do not recommend rubber cement. These patches only work on tubeless tires, they usually last longer than the tire does too. I have never had them leak or come out.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    How much longer do the patches last beyond the life of the tire? Just curious.


    5 years ago

    If you get a tire repair kit like this do not buy the cheap ones. The first one i bought was about 10 bucks and really poorly made, when i went to plug the tire the metal part broke off and got stuck inside the tire making it worse. Buy a good kit, they can save you in a pinch. You can also plug the tire while it still has air in it, IE if your low tire light comes on and you have a slower leak you can plug it fast and get to the b
    Next gas station.


    5 years ago on Step 3

    Did you take the tyre off the wheel to do it, and how much is it for the kit


    10 years ago on Introduction

    1) Why did you remove the wheel from the car if you are not going to remove the tire from the wheel? Seems unnecessary. 2) The puncture is too close to the side-wall, I am concerned that the flexing there will make the fix not very long-lasting. Is this so? Could you comment? (I am not an expert, the comment above is what I've heard from a tire repair person, in a similar case they recommended to change the tire!)

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey cpotoso - - I removed the wheel because the nail was on the inner side of the tire, easier access this way. - I believe there is some concern, but these are run flat tires and I am not overly concerned as they have stiffer sidewalls. thanks for asking. -Joe


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    So you're telling us that run-flat tires don't run flat....  good to know.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A tire should never be repaired like this!! Tire repairs should only be done in the crown of the tire, about an inch inside the shoulder. In this case, the nail may have caused unseen damage to the inside of the tire. You may only see the nail head from the out side but the nail may have been rubbing the sidewall from the inside, causing a very dangerous situation" a possible blowout ". A tire that is being repaired, should be removed from the rim, inspected for further damage and repaired with a patch might cost a bit more but for an extra 20 dollars, it might just save your life!!!!


    Tricky spot to plug, it'll probably be OK but plugs aren't a great option, they tend to be used as a stop gap because they can come out etc. Country dependant they can be illegal for road use. In this case it's not a bad idea considering a patch wouldn't take in the corner. Check your air pressure once in a while, sometimes they can still be slow punctures, as long as you keep on top of it it's rarely an issue, usually just a few PSI down over a month. Overall when applicable patching is preferable and pretty simple, just like your bike tyre, the main difference being that a coral rock bit used as a buffer is the norm, it can be roughed and cleaned other ways like liquid buffer, a normal car tyre like a 185-65-15 or something similar can be changed by hand, it's just not as easy without a machine. Once you get to 18" rims and over it tends to be nigh on impossible for most people, 4X4 tyres aren't too bad but Van and MPV tyres tend to reinforced sidewalls which cause difficulty. I may do an 'ible sometime, I've been entertaining the thought...

    2 replies

    So it's really against the law in some places to fix your own tires? Considering how well my plugs have worked, this seems more than a little wierd.


    Tyre plugs themselves can be unreliable, they're a temporary measure so some places are strict on them being legal, I suspect that you'd be fine using them to get to a place for a repair, patches are inherently more reliable, also if you know how to take the tyre off the rim they're dead easy to fit, just like a bike but with more sanding,...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I keep a schrader valve tool in the car for when this happens (in addition to the plug kit and air pump). They cost about a buck. I unscrew & remove the valve core from the valve so the air is gone in seconds, rather than standing there holding the valve open. The core then goes back in and continue as you indicated. I've never had a plug like this fail, and some of mine have over 50,000 miles on them


    10 years ago on Step 6

    Be careful about using plugs on the side of a tire. There are different loads on the side (more flex) which can cause steel separation inside the tire and a blowout.