Are you taking your tire to a shop to be patched or doing it at home?
Below we’ll explain the time each approach will take as fundamental differences may not be apparent initially.
A professional tire shop will take around 30 minutes to patch your tire as they have the experience and correct tools to do it. At home, expect to spend 45 minutes to 60 minutes.
Here’s why there is a difference
How Long Does A Patch Tire Take?
Raising the car off the wheel.
A car shop will have a trolley jack to get the car off the ground quickly. Most people at home rely on the spare wheel jack to raise their car.
This will take thirty seconds for a car shop but longer at home as you may need to find your car’s jacking points and struggle with scrapping your knuckles as your turn the jack handle close to the pavement.
Removing the wheel
Tire shops will have all the tools they need to quickly remove the lug nuts from the wheel and take it off the wheel assembly.
They won’t be using a wrench but an impact driver. It saves time and the chance of pulling a muscle in your back.
A tire shop will have your wheel off within thirty seconds but depending on your wheel brace or breaker bar’s leverage; it may mean a couple of minutes or so if you are lucky.
Removing the tire from the rim or wheel
Tire shops have a machine for this that spins the wheel around while the technician stands beside it with a tire iron between the rim and tire. It takes thirty seconds to get it off.
You’ll need a tire iron at home, which isn’t usually included with a spare wheel in the trunk. Expect to pay $10 for one.
You’ll need to ease the tire over the rim and turn the rim again before levering off another section. This can take a few minutes
Mark the tire hole area.
You’ll ideally need chalk to mark the inside and outside of the tire where the hole is.
If you have chalk, great a ten second job as it is for a tire shop.
Remove the nail or screw.
This usually doesn’t take long if you have a pair of pliers to grab hold of the nail or screw.
Expect the tire shop to have a range of pliers to choose from to get it out quickly. It may take longer for you if you have a smaller amount to choose from.
Put a probe or reaming tool in the hole to establish the hole angle.
The angle of the hole needs to be checked to see if a one or two-patch repair is needed.
Use the reaming tool here. This step takes no more than 15 seconds for you or the tire shop to do.
Ream the hole or use a carbide cutter.
As a minimum, you’ll need a reaming tool if you are patching with a mushroom patch. Not so if you are using a less effective patch.
A tire shop will use a carbide cutter. Don’t be tempted to use a drill bit as these cause unnecessary damage to the steel belts. If you don’t have a carbide cutter use a reaming tool.
This doesn’t take long. A tire shop will take a minute. With a reaming tool expect to take two to three minutes to do this properly yourself.
Apply the pre-buff solution to clean the area.
A tire shop will already have these to hand but you may not. The purpose of this is to get rid of any chemicals on the rubber before buffing.
It’s a 30 second job for you or the tire shop but make sure you have a bottle before starting. Expect to pay between $10.
Buff the inside of the tire hole area gently.
You’ll need a buffing wheel for this as you can’t do it by hand. These wheels attach to a drill.
This takes time to do right as you can go above a speed of 1200 rpm for the risk of taking off too much rubber and making a repair impossible.
Tire repair buffing wheels cost around $15.
This step should take around 5 minutes to do well.
Coat the hole area with cement.
You’ll also need rubber cement to coat onto the mushroom part of the patch and the buffed area.
This will help seal the length of the hole and stop moisture getting in.
A real quick stage that’ll take 30 seconds for you or the tire shop – as long as you have the cement to hand.
Push the combi patch stem through the hole.
You’ll need pliers to grab hold of the end to pull the stem right through the tire.
A 30-second job for you or the tire shop.
Use a roller to roll on the patch inside.
You’ll need to roll out the patch surface to make sure the patch is stuck fast to the rubber. A stitch roller is needed.
The tire shop will have a few. Spend a minute or so on this stage.
Use liner sealer on the patched area.
The patch stem is secure, and the patch is stuck firmly. Once the backing is removed, a liner sealer fluid is needed to guarantee an airtight seal. This is applied liberally on the patched area.
Expect to spend 60 seconds here as long as you have a bottle of sealer.
Vacuum out any debris.
Self-explanatory. Vacuum away any debris should take 30 seconds.
Trim off the excess rubber stem.
Using a sharp knife to cut off the excess rubber stem should take you 15 seconds if you have a sharp knife handy in your garage.
Put the tire on the rim.
This can take time if you are doing it at home.
A tire shop will have the tire on the rim in less than two minutes but using a tire iron can take anywhere from five to ten minutes as you battle trying to get the bead under the rim lip.
Inflate the tire
A tire shop using compressed air will have your tire over and above the psi to seal the bead properly in no time.
Using a lesser compressor that may use car battery power can take much longer until you hear that reassuring pop of the tire seating correctly.
Expect this to take ten minutes from flat to over the standard tire psi.
Mount the rim to the assembly
Almost there. A tire shop will have the wheel back on the car, and the lugs tightened in less than ninety seconds and at the right torque.
This can take over five minutes at home, and you’ll have to be careful not to over or under-tighten each lug.
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We like this mushroom tire plug kit at Amazon. Even if you don’t need to repair a flat today, they are a must-have glove compartment accessory to stop you from ever being stranded with a flat in the future.
Sometimes a new tire is the better option if your tire is old or has been damaged before.
We recommend Priority Tire. They often have clearance sales that result in the cost of a new tire being little more than the cost of repairing the damaged one.
Read our Priority Tire Review
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Often read next:
How Do Tire Shops Patch Tires? [GUIDE]
Are Tire Patches Permanent? [ANSWERED]