Quick How To For Finding & Re-plugging A Leaky Tire

The tires are one of the most essential parts of a vehicle – they are the artificial legs you need to get somewhere or anywhere.

While tires are tough and come in different types for various vehicles, they are not entirely free from hazards – they are likely to experience leaks.

One of the most vital parts, however, that needs to be paid close attention to is the tire plugs.

You need to know what to do when they are leaking and what happens if you don’t pay attention to them immediately. Find out in this article.

What Is A Tire Plug Leak?

When this rubber plug starts to leak, it can be annoying. The reason is that: it often comes with a slow tire effect (or slow leak).

This slow tire effect is a result of low tire pressure and running on it for a long time can be dangerous to the car and the driver – a serious blowout leading to an accident.

Signs your tire plug is leaking 

The signs of a leaking plugged tire is not any different from a slow leak or a flat tire. They include:

Can you fix a leaking tire plug?

If you already plugged a tire because you had a tire leak and then it starts to leak again, you could fix the problem the same way you fix a flat tire.

The only thing you should bear in mind, however, is that: you shouldn’t take too long before visiting a mechanic or tire shop for a permanent fix or replacement.

How do you remove a leaking tire plug?

If you have an old plug that needs to be removed because your tire has had a longer leaking period and want to replace with another one, here are the things you need:

Tools Required

  • A Jack
  • A set of needle nose pliers
  • A spray bottle
  • A plug insertion tool
  • A tire machine
  • A t handle reaming tool

Materials Required

  • Soapy water
  • Rubber cement for sealing
  • Plug strips
  • A Piece of cloth or paper towels

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to proceed:

Identify the Tire Leak

Apart from the site where the rubber plug is inserted, examine other parts of the tire. It is important that you do this to know the various leak sites and know how to repair each one of them.

Pump air into the tire and make sure it is finger-pressure firm.

Afterward, you can spray soapy water on the tire to know the various sites that need repair. By spraying this soapy water on the tread area, air leaks will create bubbles on the tire surface, indicating a leak.

Ream the Hole

With your t handle reaming tool, you can create a hole in the tire on the leak site.

The purpose of this hole is so that you plug the tire successfully; however, you should be careful not to ream too much. If you have a small puncture, a hand drill is good enough to create a tiny hole in the tire.

Get the Plug Ready

Get your plug strip set up into the eyelet of your plug insertion tool using your pliers if necessary. The next thing is to have the plug strip well-coated in the rubber cement, as well as the hole on the tire surface.

Insert the Plug Strip

Using the plug insertion tool, insert the plug strip into the hole. Make sure it is deep enough. When the plug strip is in the hole, quickly pull the insertion tool out and ensure the plug is already in the tire.

Fill the Tire and Trim the Plug

When you finish installing the plug into the tire, the next thing is to fill it with air. The reason for doing this is to check if the tire repair procedure was successful or not.

If you’ve done a good plugging, the final thing you need to do is trim the plug and continue driving.

How long can you drive on a tire with a tire plug?

If your tire was punctured by a nail, screw, or any sharp object, you might end up plugging or patching it since they are the best quick fixes.

However, you should know that if your tire is plugged properly on the sidewall, it can last up to 10 years but plugging should be done once.

If you set a proper patch or plug on your tire, you should know they are only temporary until you have the resources to repair leaks.

If you do this more than once, speed rating reduces and you run a risk of a serious blowout.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Bead Leak?

In a situation where there is a small leak where the rim of a wheel meets the sidewall of a tire, it is called a bead leak.

This situation cannot be repaired as DIY because there are several mechanical components involved – you will need the help of a mechanic.

What the mechanic does in most cases is to dismount the tire, apply a sealing liquid to the bead, and install or remount.

When Do You Need Professional Repair?

You should only call in for professional repair if you don’t know your way around your tyre.

For instance, you will need to calculate the thread diameter before you proceed with tire repair. Another thing is figuring where the leaks are coming from so you can deploy the right fix.

Finally, you also need the assistance of a professional if it isn’t just any leak, i.e., if it is from the beads.

What to Look Out For in Slow Leaks?

Diagnosing your tire is very important but not everyone can or will do that, especially if it is a new tire.

However, if you are ready to be invested in tire maintenance, here are some important things to look out for:

Tire Puncture

One of the things you should look out for on your tire is if it has been punctured by a nail or any sharp object. You can tell by the little amount of air coming out from the tire until it becomes obviously flat.


Another thing is if your tire starts making unusual sounds or thumps, it may be because the radial belt has been detached or there is a tire puncture.


One of the effects of a bad tire is that it comes with unnecessary pulling. Your vehicle could be pulled to a side because there is a good chance your flat tire caused an odd wheel alignment.


If you are stuck on a highway with tire leaks or flat tires, you don’t have anything to worry about as long as you have your rubber plug.

You can temporarily have your tyres repaired in no time and drive safely on the road.

However, you shouldn’t take too long before visiting a repair shop for a permanent fix. 


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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