Tire Maintenance

How to Put a Tire Patch on Correctly


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A tire patch is the only legal way to repair a flat tire in most states, and should only be done by a professional vulcanizing shop. It is often said that a hot tire patch is the most effective and safest way to repair a flat tire, because it is placed on the inside of the tire. A tire plug kit is also a safe alternative to repair a flat tire that can be  done at home by the average car owner. The tire will still have to be professionally inspected after plugging, because this is critical to road safety. Putting a tire patch requires experience and skill, not to mention vulcanizing tools and a tire mounting machine, as the tire will have to be removed from the wheel.

Materials Needed:

  • Tire mounting machine
  • Tire patch
  • Vulcanizing liquid
  • Tire buffer
  • Long nosed pliers
  • Tire patch rolling tool

Step 1: Remove Wheel

Jack the car and remove the wheel from the hub. Inflate the tire to at least 30 PSI to easily locate the hole. This is manifested by a hissing sound as a result of escaping air. If the hole can't be located, get a small bucket of soapy water and sponge. Dip the sponge in the mixture and squeeze onto the tire. If you see bubbles on the surface then you've found the hole. 

Step 2: Mark the Hole

Use a piece of chalk to mark a small "X" where the hole is located. If a nail or screw is present, resist the urge to pull the nail or any protruding part on the tire surface.

Step 3: Remove Tire from Rim

Remove the tire valve core to release all the air from the tire. Place the wheel in the tire mounting machine and dismount the tire from the rim.

Step 4: Inspect Tire

Check the inside of the tire. Now is the time to remove the nail or foreign object that penetrated the tire. Use long nosed pliers to pull the nail from the outside of the tire. Do this carefully.

Step 5: Buffing the Hole

Apply a light coat of tire cleaner and let it dry. Get the tire buffer and work around the hole. A light buff is enough.

Step 6: Apply Vulcanizing Liquid

Apply a coat of tire vulcanizing liquid around the buffed area. A half inch circumference around the hole is ideal. Let the liquid dry for 10 to 15 seconds.  

Step 7: Patch Hole

Get the tire patch and cut to the proper size when necessary. Remove the top and bottom sticker from the patch and place on top of the buffed surface and press firmly. Use a tire patch rolling tool to roll over the tire patch. This will completely seal the patch to the tire.

Step 8: Mount Tire

Let the patch dry for at least five minutes before mounting the tire on the rim. Put the tire valve core in the tire valve and pump with the recommended air pressure. A 30 to 35 PSI tire pressure is enough for most street tires.

Step 9: Check Tire

Check the tire first before placing it back in the wheel hub. Check the location of the hole to make sure that no leak is present. 

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