Although it is controversial whether to use tire plugs as permanent fixes, many tire repair shops continue to use them daily. Of those that choose to use tire plugs, some shops leave the tire on the rim while others remove the tire for inspection of further damage before using a tire plug. Other tire professionals say tire plugs should only be used as an emergency repair and that plug patches are the only option for a permanent repair. Either way, a tire plug kit is a handy item to have in your emergency car kit.
A tire plug kit is available at your local auto parts store and is a quick do-it-yourself fix to tire punctures. The plug kit should come with plugs, a reamer, and a plug inserter. For quick, on the rim fixes: simply locate the hole, use the reamer to make the hole the size of the plug, place the plug through the inserter, press the plug into the tire, and remove the inserter. Then use a small air tank to fill the tire back up with the proper air pressure. Barring any damage to the sidewall, you should be able to get your car home or to a tire repair shop.
Tire plug patches are much more expensive but reliable as compared to tire plugs alone. These typically have to be done at a tire repair shop. The tire is removed from the rim and examined inside and out for damage before being prepped for the tire plug patch. The compromised area of the tire is marked with chalk and then buffed so that the tire cement will adhere. A reamer is used to be sure the plug patch will fit through the injury before tire cement is applied and left to dry for five minutes. The plug portion of the plug patch is then inserted and then the patch is once again coated with a final layer of tire cement. The tire is then reinstalled back onto the rim, balanced, and mounted upon the car. Although this process is more timely and expensive than the simple tire plug repair, it does prove more dependable.