How Long Does It Take To Plug A Tire?[Answered]


There are many things to consider when plugging a tire and how long it will take one of those considerations.

As long as you have the plugging kit to hand and can remove the wheel from the car, a tire plug takes around 15-20 minutes to complete. If you can get to the hole without removing the wheel, expect the plugging to be completed in 10 minutes. 

Like anything, the more we practice, the quicker and better we become at it.  Once experienced in patching tires, expect the process to take no more than 10 minutes, even including the wheel removal.

How Long Do You Wait After Plugging A Tire

If you have used cement on the plug, it is best to wait 5 minutes before driving the car. 

However, if you haven’t you can drive straight away.

Ideally, drive slowly to start to ensure the tire plug is holding.  After five minutes at quite low-speed stop your car and either take a pressure reading with a gauge or use soapy water to spray around the plug to see if it is continuing to hold. 

Difference In Time Taken Between A Tire Patch and A Tire Plug Repair

It’s important to highlight the difference between a tire patch and a tire plug.

A tire patch is a better repair. It involves removing the wheel from the rim, affecting a patch on the inside of the tire, and using a plug to seal the hole. These two parts form a combination plug that is extremely popular nowadays.  

Because the tire needs to be removed from the rim for a patch repair, it allows you or the tire shop to inspect the tire more thoroughly for damage.  

The process of patching a tire, including removing the tire from the rim, can take 30 minutes.

Tire patches and tire plugs are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things.  

If you want to repair the tire yourself without removing the tire from the rim, you will only be able to do a tire plug. 

These repairs are inferior to tire patches, the only repair that a car shop or tire shop will do for you. 

The Tools Needed To Plug A Tire

All but one of the items listed below come in a plug repair kit.  You may already have a compressor at home, but if not, you will need to buy one or have access to one to reinflate the tire once you have done the plug repair.

Plugging a tire
A Basic Tire Plugging Kit
  1. Tire Plug
  2. Cement
  3. Plug Needle
  4. Reaming Tool
  5. Sharp Knife
  6. Tire Air Compressor

The Tire Plugging Process – Step By Step

Plugging a tire is a simple process, but no steps should be skipped to ensure you do the best repair possible.

  • Once the hole is located, push the reaming tool in and out of the hole a minimum of 5 times.  This step ensures that the hole is clean and widened sufficiently to allow access for the plug.  It also ensures that the hole is symmetrical.
  • Depending on your kit, some will advise using the cement provided to cover the plug with it.  Cement will help lubricate the plug and make pushing it through the hole easier.  You use the plug needle tool for this. 
  • If using a strip or string plug, as it is often called, rather than a mushroom plug, you can trim off the excess string that is still poking through the tire with a sharp knife.
A sharp knife has been used to cut away the excess string.
  •  If you have used cement, allow the tire strip plug and tire to bond with the cement for 5 minutes before using the air compressor to refill the tire with air.
  • Finally, once the tire is inflated to the recommended PSI, ensure that the plug holds air.  Use soapy water or an accurate tire pressure gauge to  check

Tire Balancing After A Plug Repair

Tire plugs are light and will add very little weight to the tire. Your tires will rarely need to be balanced again after fitting a plug.  

If you see signs of uneven tire wear in the next 100 miles or so, the plug has altered the very sensitive balance, and you may want to take it to the car shop to be rebalanced if necessary.

As always, there are certain caveats with any car repair, and it’s no different with tire plugs. 

Actually, there is very little area on the tire that can be plugged safely.  It cannot be plugged if the hole is in the shoulder or the sidewall.

You can find out more information here Is It Safe To Plug A Tire Sidewall?

Tire plugs are not a permanent fix, and their manufacturers state in the packaging that they are good for 100 miles and speeds up to 50 mph before a full patch repair for a new tire should be bought. 

This article covers this in more detail. How Long Does A Tire Plug Last?

Have your tired been plugged before?  If so, certain guidelines must be followed regarding plugging a second time. You can find out more about it in detail here. Is it Safe to Plug a Tire Twice? [ANSWERED]

Carzaza.com is an Amazon Associate. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

Amazon.com Tire Repair Kits

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.

Some links on Carzaza.com are affiliate links from which I receive a small commission from sales at no additional cost to you.

In Conclusion

Tire plug repairs take between 15 and 20 minutes but approximately 5 minutes longer if you use cement or need to get the wheel off the car to repair.

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