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Many others search for answers to this question each month, so you’re not alone. Here, we’ll look at the types of tire plugs available, what they look like, how to install them, and more.

The most common type of tire plug is a mushroom plug. It’s shaped like a mushroom and has a long, narrow base that fits into the tire and then expands to form a seal. The mushroom plug is one of the most reliable and popular tire plugs.

The mushroom plug is usually made from rubber, sometimes encased in leather, and it has a pointed tip designed to fit into the puncture hole of a tire via a screw gun included in the tire plug kit. 

Plugging a tire
A string tire plug kit

Mushroom plugs like string plugs that’ll we’ll move onto won’t stop all moisture from entering the tire from the road. Neither type of plug is as good as a patch repair.

Tire strips or string plugs come in different lengths, depending on your tire size. They are typically made of synthetic or natural rubber material and are thin and around four to six inches long.

If you have bought a vehicle and are unsure whether it has been plugged with a strip, it’ll look like two ends of cord or string protruding slightly from the punctured area.

A string tire plug

If it were plugged with a mushroom plug – a better option – the plug would be more cleaner, tidy circle of black or dark gray rubber.

If you notice either of these in your tires, they should only be in the center section, not the shoulder or sidewall, as this is dangerous.

Tire plugs are temporary.

A repair with two pieces of cord or string coming out from the hole is a temporary string plug fix.

On the other hand, Mushroom plugs look very similar from the outside to a combination patch repair.  

Combination patch repairs can be permanent, so if you are seeing a circular rubber repair, it might be a patch. 

The difference is important. A patch repair will involve the tire being taken off the rim and inspected before a patch and plug are used to fix the leak.

Often done at a tire shop – who will never plug- a combination patch can last the tire’s lifetime. 

Advantages Of Tire Plugs

Tire plugs are a great way to quickly repair a tire with a puncture. They are an inexpensive and easy to use solution for most flat tires.

Tire plugs have many advantages that make them an excellent choice for a quick fix for a flat tire.

First, tire plugs are easy to use. All you need to do is find the tire puncture and insert a plug into the hole. It’s much quicker than replacing the entire tire, making it a great time saver.

Second, tire plugs are relatively inexpensive. You can purchase them from most auto stores for a fraction of the cost of a new tire.

This makes them ideal for those who are short on funds and don’t have the money to replace an entire tire.

Disadvantages Of Tire Plugs

One drawback of tire plugs is that they’re only a temporary fix. Tire plugs can last several months but are not a permanent solution. 

If the plug fails or the tire is exposed to extreme temperatures or road conditions, it could cause the plug to fail.

This means that while a tire plug can get you back on the road, it’s still a good idea to have the tire checked by a professional and a patch fitted or a new tire bought.

Another disadvantage of tire plugs is that they can’t be used to patch larger holes.

You’ll need to replace the tire if the hole is bigger than 6 mm.


In conclusion, it is important to know if your vehicle has been plugged with a strip or a mushroom plug. 

Although both are temporary fixes, a mushroom plug is a better option. If you see plugs in your tire, they should only be in the center section, not the shoulder or sidewall, as this is dangerous.

A string plug looks like two pieces raised slightly above the tire’s surface.  They are usually reddish brown or black.

A mushroom plug will appear as a circular inset into the tire tread that may be slightly lighter in color than the surrounding tire rubber.

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