*Fixing a Tire*
By: Garry
22 November 2004

About the only thing worse than having a flat tire is having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Catastrophic failures are, thankfully, mostly a thing of the past. However, there are still plenty of nails out there, and I found one.

Thankfully, I found it almost immediately, and the tire still had plenty of air in it. Just for fun, I experimented. (itís not often you find the problem so quickly). I drove the truck almost 60 miles without adding any air- the nail did a reasonable job of sealing the hole. Lessons? Donít pull the nail out until youíre ready to fix the hole.

Big nail! I used a pair of vice grips to pull the nail out. The air immediately started leaving the tire, and you should wait until the air stops flowing before starting work. This could take quite awhile, so I pulled the valve core.

Be careful doing this, as sometimes the core will shoot out, propelled by the air in the tire. (do I need to remind you of safety glasses??) Removing a core is easy, and while there are core tools for sale, I built my own.

I used an old truck valve stem and a core removal stem cap. (metal cap with a slot in the top) Very inexpensive, and sold everywhere.

Youíre going to need one of these:

Plug kit. Wally World, 7$. You can buy more plugs and glue from auto supply shops.

Time to treat the hole. You need to rasp the inside of the hole, make it rough and give the glue/plug a place to adhere to.

Put a drop of glue on the point, then stick the rasp into the nail hole and "rasp" it in and out. Repeat two or three times.

Time for the plug. Thread a plug into the tool, liberally apply glue to the plug, as well as the hole.

Gently insert the plug and tool into the hole. Be careful not to stick it in too far, as you could lose the whole plug inside. Stop hen thereís about an inch left sticking out. Gently twist the lug tool, and remove the tool leaving the plug in the hole.

Once youíre done, gently trim the plug down to about 1/8 of an inch.

Itís important that you allow the glue to cure. Wait until itís dry before filling the tire with air. While not a concern to you southern folk, us northern people have to make sure that the glue can dry before it freezes. I used a shop lamp- it was handy, as @0700 here it was still pitch black out!

Finally, get the "team" to inspect you work!

(Kinda tough working under scrutiny!)

They must have thought we were going for a drive, and were NOT going to be left behind.

Once the glue is dry, replace the core and fill the tire with air. You can check your work by sloshing some water on the patch- if bubbles appear, you have to try again. The directions on the patch suggest that they are not suitable for long-term use, nor are they good for sidewall patching. I gave it a try on this anyways- the hole is on the edge of the sidewall.

Iíve had the same patch on the centre tread of an off road tire for several years with no leakage.


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