How to Repair a Puncture in a Car Tire

Updated April 17, 2017

A puncture in one of the tires on your car will allow the air to leak out and give you a flat. Usually nails or shards of glass on the ground cause these punctures. Although the flat tire is a nuisance, the puncture doesn't render the tire useless. You can easily repair a small puncture and have your tire sealed in a few minutes.

Use pliers to pull out the item that made the puncture in the tire. Don't worry if you fail to see anything in the puncture; the item may have fallen out.

Push the rasp from your repair kit into the puncture. The rasp is the long, thin tool with the filing edges.

Move the rasp in and out of the hole a couple of times to clear away any debris or dirt that may have got into the puncture.

Put on rubber gloves and peel one of the tar strips from the protective packaging in the kit. The tar will be sticky and leave marks, so don't let it touch your clothes or your car.

Press one end of the tar strip inside the pliers. Squeeze the pliers to make the end as flat as possible.

Feed the flat end of the strip into the eye of the needle tool from the kit and pull it through so you have equal lengths of tar on either side.

Push the split-eye needle insertion tool that came with your repair kit into the puncture until the eye of the needle is fully inserted into the tire.

Grasp the ends of the tar strip that are sticking out and press them against the tire while you pull the needle out. Pull the needle quickly and straight out of the tire, and the tar will be left behind.

Trim the ends so they are even with the exterior surface of the tire. Use scissors to cut the ends down.

For best results let the tar dry completely, for two to three hours, before refilling the tire with air.


Clean the pliers and the scissors with a cloth when you're finished so the tar doesn't dry onto them. Keep the extra tar strips covered completely so they don't dry out before you need to use them again.


Use a repair kit specifically designed for car tires, or the repair may not be able to handle the weight and motion of your car.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Tubeless tire repair kit
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Cloth
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About the Author

Based in New York, Tim Burgone has been writing technology-related content since 1991. His work has appeared in “Wired” magazine and “Mac Addict” magazine. Burgone received the Frank L. Kern Literary Award in 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from St. John’s University in New York.