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Leaking Tire Plug? Here’s How to Get Back on the Road

A tire plug leak occurs when a previous patch on a tire starts to leak for various reasons. You have a serious issue with your tire if it was initially damaged, you had a tire plug installed on it, and then it began leaking in the same spot. What to do if a tire plug is leaking?

Tire plugs include employing sticky rubbers that are put into the leaks to halt tire leaks. The kit is then secured in place and prevented from escaping using a special cement sealant applied to the rubber.

What Causes a Tire Plug to Start Leaking?

Several reasons may cause a tire plug to start leaking.

First and most commonly, this may be because the plug was not placed correctly or firmly enough. So it can become loose over time and let the air out of the tire. Also, due to wear and strain, the plug itself has to get harmed or degraded, preventing it from effectively sealing the hole.

Another reason is that the plug on the tire has deteriorated or worn out as a result of being exposed to high temperatures, intense sunlight, or other conditions. If the hole is too big or it is in a place where a plug can’t be securely sealed, leakage can occur in a short period. Finally, a tire plug leakage may also happen, damaging or compromising the sidewall or bead seals of a tire, allowing air to escape through the plug.

How Can You Tell if a Tire Plug is Leaking?

The common signs of a leaky tire will manifest themselves if you have a blocked tire.

The tire will continuously lose pressure and become imbalanced or deflated due to parking and other factors. Once you notice that the tire keeps deflating or is imbalance, you should have the kit checked.

The plug might be leaking. So, inflate the tire and check the plugged area. You can check the fixed piece and other tire components for damage after the tire is properly inflated. Because the leak could originate from other areas of the tire, you must check those areas as well.

Once you have checked the tire for damage and found none, apply some soapy water where the tire is plugged before. That tire part is leaking if it bubbles. Also, you will be able to hear a hissing sound near the tire.

After the leak is discovered, you can decide whether to replace the tire or repair it again. But repair is not recommended.

What to Do if a Tire Plug is Leaking?  

If a tire leaks, you shouldn’t have any additional work done on the tire. You need to replace the tire right away and acquire a new one.  If you attempt to repair the leaking plugged tire, you run the risk of having a tire plug burst, which could ultimately result in shredded or blown-out tires.

You can make a temporary repair if the tire needs to be fixed, though. Follow the below steps for that:

  • Clean the area well

After identifying the leaking area, pull out any nails, screws, staples, or other metal that may have contributed to the leak using pliers. 

  • Ream the Hole Out

Insert the reaming tool into the leaking area and rotate it while working it up and down numerous times. Continue doing this until the hole meets your needs. Use a hand drill with a suitable size if the hole is too narrow for the reaming tool.

  • Get the plug ready

Grab a plug strip out of your toolbox. It should be threaded through the plug insertion tool’s eyelet. Pull it through the eyelet with the aid of pliers until it evenly protrudes from the eyelet on both sides. Apply tire sealing cement to the entire plug strip, and then repeat with the tire hole.

  • Place the Plug Strip in

Slowly push your plug insertion tool, which is equipped with the cement-coated plug, into the tire hole. The plug needs to be pressed hard into the hole. Carefully lift the handle of the plug insertion tool up until only a small portion of the plug, about an inch, is visible outside the tire. The tool’s eyelet should be able to slide free thanks to the slot on its end, retaining the plug inside the tire.

  • Inflate the Tire

The tire should be attached to an air pump, and air should be pumped into it at a pressure 10% below the tire’s maximum rated pressure. To make sure of no leaking, use extra soapy water.

  • Trim the Plug

Using a paper towel, remove any extra tire-sealing cement from the area surrounding the plug. Give the tire five minutes to sit. Cut out the excess plug with wire cutters or scissors, leaving about 1/8 inch hanging out.

  • Do a final leak test

Spray more soapy water onto the clogged region while carefully watching if bubbling. If you don’t, the plug is working as it should.

After removing the jack and lowering your vehicle, you will be able to drive the vehicle away.

What to do if a tire plug is leaking?  

Is it OK to Drive with a Tire Plug?

Usually, it is not OK, and it is not the best solution. But if it is an emergency and there is nothing else to do at the moment, you should go with a tire plug. If the tire is harmed or punctured by a sharp object, plugging is OK as a quick fix. A tire plug can last up to about ten years’ time. But you should do it only once. It is only a temporary solution, and if you are done plugging more than once, the tire may blow out due to pressure and air leakage.

Is a Tire Plug a Permanent Fix?

No, it is not. It is only temporary.  Though it can last for a long period, emergency tire plug fixes are NOT meant to last a lifetime. Plugs are made to get you moving again long enough to travel home or to the closest service facility where a proper tire replacement can be done.

How long Does a Tire Puncture Plug Last?

About ten years’ time.  A correctly installed plug is supposed to last seven to ten years or approximately 25,000 miles, but if there isn’t a suitable sealant or if the plug is not being installed properly, that won’t.

VIDEO CREDITS: Automotive For Beginners YouTube Channel

How Many Times can a Tire be Plugged?

Only once is the best. Two plugs as repairments on the tire in total will be OK. Tire plugging still may be an option for two punctures in the exact tire, but the punctures should be at least 16 inches apart. More than that should prompt you to think about purchasing a new tire.

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