How to Fix a Slow Puncture on a Car Tire

Updated July 20, 2017

The roads we drive on are littered with debris, and most of us will encounter a tire puncture at some point. Fortunately, there is a responsible and safe way to avoid buying a new tire.

Examine the tire to decide whether the damage is to the tread or to the side wall. If the damage is to the side wall, the tire must be replaced. If the damage is to the tread, it can be fixed with a tire plug.

Park the vehicle on a level surface. Ensure that it is away from the flow of traffic.

Raise the vehicle. Jack the vehicle up high enough to place a jack stand under the chassis of the vehicle, then lower the vehicle onto the stand. There is no need to remove the tire; however, you may need to rotate the tire until you can see the damaged area and the foreign object clearly.

Remove the foreign object. With a pair of pliers, grab onto it and pull it straight out of the tire. Air will begin hissing out, so work carefully but quickly.

Plug the tire. Insert the awl from the tire plug kit into the puncture hole. Push it all the way into the handle to assure the hole is open enough for the plug to go into. Following the manufacturer's directions, place a plug into the plug insertion tool that comes with the kit. You may add glue to the plug if your kit comes so equipped. (The glue will help the plug slide into the tire more easily.) Pull the awl out of the tire and push the plug into the puncture until just a fraction of the plug is showing in the tire tread. Pull the insertion tool straight out, leaving the plug in place. Using an air compressor or service station air hose, fill the tire to correct air pressure.

Lower the vehicle. Raise the vehicle off the stand and remove it from under the vehicle. Lower the jack until the vehicle is on the ground. Remove the jack.


Never work on a vehicle raised without support. It could kill or seriously injure you if it falls.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stand
  • Pliers
  • Tire plug kit
  • Air source (compressor or service station)
  • Tire pressure gauge
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