How to fix that flat tire with some easy DIY tire plugs

Flat tires are one of the few things that can put a hard stop on your driving plans. Fortunately, Hagerty’s Davin Reckow is here to explain how a simple tire plug kit can get you back on the road quicker than ever—sometimes without taking off the wheel.

When one of our video staff picked up a screw in his tire, it served as a reminder for the crew that there are more than just mechanical issues to be dealt with on old cars. As if a crime of opportunity, Davin fished around in the back of his tool box brandishing a tire plug kit. This simple kit has a few small tools, glue, and tar-covered rope.

Once the screw was removed (Davin got lucky when it easily unthreaded) he used a reamer from the kit to clean the hole. While it initially seems backwards since the reamer is actually removing a small amount of rubber and therefore making the hole bigger, it makes sense as the next step in the process require shoving the tar-covered rope through to act as the plug.

First, that rope gets a coating of the included glue which acts as both retention for the plug and lubricant to ensure it seats and seals completely. The second tool in the kit is used to thread the rope plug, and has a needle-like eye that holds the plug so you can get some leverage—you’ll probably need it.

Once the plug is forced through the tire casing, the tool will unhook from the plug and is removed. Then the plug is trimmed so no excess is left outside the tread. As Davin mentions, though, bear in mind that the plug will naturally wear off quickly.

To those who will contest this is not the proper way to handle a hole in a tire, consider that thousands of tires have driven millions of miles with plugs. No doubt there are better options, but a plug will get a stranded motorist off the side of the road when breaking the tire free from the rim is not an option.