Make me smart: Tire repair kits

Started by majorhavoc, January 26, 2023, 06:12:00 PM

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majorhavoc

They've been mentioned in passing in a number of threads here at UFoZS and the reptilian prepper portion of my brain says I need one.  Anyone have experience with this type of product?  I know nothing about them.  I'm most interested in something that is first and foremost: effective.  Second is affordable and third is compact (I have limited storage space in my Kia Soul, especially with all the prepping gear I have in there already.  I'd also be interested in equipping my Honda CB500X with one).  Ease of use is my fourth criteria.  

So far, my research primarily consists of watching this YT video, by one of my absolute favorite tool reviewers - Project Farm.  



Please: educate me.
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flybynight

Ok, the pistol type  I have. I got it because back in the eighties, my FIL had one that was Pnuematic and was amazing, Til it broke and he could not find replacement parts.  The one I have is manual  . Works by repeatedly squeezing the trigger and it  sucks. Most time the plug gets stuck in the barrel and even worse the patch  last's  only a week before leaking again. THe one on the left is the one I've always used and works quite well . Not too hard to use and patches have lasted years .  Don't know anything about the middle one
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SCBrian

I've primarily used the t-handle one with pretty good results.  Buy a decent kit, don't go with the cheap $7 chinese ones...
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Raptor

I also have a t-handled one with some plugs. Just a cheap one that I picked up at Home Depot for five bucks.

I actually had need to use one the other day and I used the one that was in my car. BTW you do need a 12 volt tire pump to use this in the field.  There was a  flat tire. I used the inflator and while it filled the tire. The hole was large enough that the air leaked out in a few minutes. I was able to find the hole easily due to the leak.   I had a choice put the spare on it or plug it. I gambled and plugged it. The tire held air and i was able to drive  to the tire shop for a proper repair.

Get a 12 volt tire pump at wallyworld for about $10 and a plug kit for $5 and you have a cheap insurance policy for flats.

BTW most new cars do come with a spare. I had to buy a spare tire with my car. When i asked they said just use road service. Seriously!?
 
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EBuff75

I've never used a tire patch kit, although I've got them in both vehicles.  They're both just cheap Slime branded kits that I picked up at Meijer (local version of Walmart).  I have pumps in both as well.  The kit in my car came with a little pump and I have a larger, standalone pump in my truck, since it has larger tires.

Had a slow leak in one of the truck tires recently, but I figured it was just a corroded rim that had lost the seal (I've had this happen several times before).  I kept pumping the tire up about once a week until I finally got around to scheduling an appointment at Discount Tire.  Turned out to be a screw in the tire, even though I'd checked and hadn't seen anything.  Back on the road about 40 mins later, no charge. 
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majorhavoc

Thanks for the responses so far, keep them coming!  Anyone want to recommend a specific t-handle kit?

I do already have a 12-volt tire inflator, as well as a can of fix-a-flat. I even carry my bicycle floor pump in my backseat as backup, as I've had tire inflators crap out on me in the past.

My Kia didn't come with any kind of spare or even a jack. First thing I did was buy the OEM donut and jack kit.

 And, as much as we all hate to admit it, AAA or other roadside assistance is generally available.  But I'm interested in the extra capability a tire plug kit will provide for when the extraterrestrial zombies arrive.
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MacWa77ace

This is my kit. I also have the flat head, phillips head and needle nose pliers to remove whatever punctured the tire.
You can see the rasp and the plug tool are well used.

The mini tire pump is from Harbor freight. This is actually customized in that the plugs aren't original and the tools aren't original to the box they are in.




After you get the tools you can get replacement plugs by themselves which are cheaper than getting a new kit. If you don't use the rope plugs, over time they will dry out and not work so well, so you should replace them at that point. They'll probably get 'stale' before you run out of them. They should be 'sticky'.

I've always used the 'rope' [string] style plugs with no problems. [there are 100% rubber plugs also but IIRC they aren't for use with steel belt tires]







With the 'rope' style you may need a box cutter or other blade to cut off any excess.

PRO TIP 1: Depending on how I feel about the hole, I might make an extra fold on the rope in the plug tool to put 3 segments of rope in the hole with one press. But you have to be careful, because doing that will shorten the length of the plug and you don't want to push it all the way thru.

PRO TIP 2: If its a slow leak and not completely flat, your goal would be to pull the object and plug the tire with out removing the wheel from the car or losing much more air in the process. So have your plug tool all prepped with the plug, and the rasp all ready at hand. Orient the tire for best access to whatever stuck in the tire. I haven't had to jack up the car to do this on front or rear tires, but if its on the front tires you can turn the wheel for even better access. Then just pull the object, rasp the hole, shove in the plug. Done. Then inflate. For screws I've even used an electric angle driver to 'unscrew' them from the tire. Unscrewing screws and bolts is easier than pulling them straight out. Make sure you really rasp out the hole to 1) make it the correct size/shape and 2) to break off any steel fibers from the belt.

The only fail I've ever had with this was one time when I ran over a wheel weight. It stuck in the tread in a way that I knew I ran over something at the time, but it didn't immediately flatten the tire, it sort of plugged itself with the soft lead. But when I got home I couldn't immediately tell what it was, it was just a small shiny thing that had worn flat against the tread. It took me a while to pull it out, that's when I discovered it was a giant wheel weight and it made a giant hole. A hole so large that even two plugs didn't work, so I had to get a new tire for that one.

Some people put rubber cement on the rasp when rasping and more on the rope plugs. I've done it with and without using the rubber cement. I didn't notice any difference in performance, but using the rubber cement makes a mess of your plug tools.

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superduder

Right there with ya, except the yellow air pump.
I've had too many of those fail at filling a single 225/70/15 tire.
I keep a double cylinder bicycle foot pump in my car (pictured)
I've filed two of the fore mentioned tires in 15min using it.
and it's 100% emp proof. lol
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majorhavoc

Boulder Tools Tire Repair Kit - Regularly $24.99 Amazon Prime Day deal: $16.24 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SBFGMDB?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

N2TC recommended this in his road trip thread.  It does seem to be higher quality than the $10 - $15 kits I was looking at.  I put it in my cart and when it dropped to $19.99 the other day, I pulled the trigger.  Now I'm kicking myself because it's now dropped another $3.75.  But not as hard as NT2C if he paid $25.  Our loss is your gain and just the ticket for that post-apocalyptic road trip when every tire repair place is overrun by zombies.  

Stellar reviews and as a bonus, comes in a black, molle-compatible zippered pouch.  Molle compatibility probably doesn't amount to much for something that's going to live in your car, but it always gets a product extra points towards earning the coveted UFoZS Prepper Seal of Approval.TM 

Historic low per Camelcamelcamel.  Prime Days pricing so, this won't last.

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wolf_from_wv

Get the  T-handle.  Even with the T-handle, a guy I know who could  be Mr. Clean's twin and his son had trouble getting it to go in.

If the tire is completely flat, use a ratchet strap to hold the bead in place while you reinflate the tire.

I always just used the adhesive that was on the rope.
"You know Grady, some people think I'm overprepared, paranoid, maybe even a little crazy. But they never met any Pre-Cambrian lifeforms did they?" -- Burt Gummer

NT2C

The same folks also make an emergency sidewall patch kit.  It's not for highway use, just to get you back to the highway.
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Uomo Senza Nome

The T handle kit works fine. You are supposed to go to a tire shop and get the tire a real patch afterwards but I don't unless it starts leaking. We have dozens of construction sites in our city right now and I was getting about one flat a month. It's simply wasn't worth the time and effort to go to the shop all the time to get the tire patched. It's gotten a little bit better I haven't had a flat in about 3 months.

Don't get an electric pump. The bicycle pump works way better, won't burn out, won't break, it doesn't require electricity. I've gone through a series of cheap broken air compressors before I just one day picked up the bicycle pump and said I wonder if this will work? And I've been using it ever since. I think that was 5 years ago. Also unless the compressor is a good one the bicycle foot pump is actually faster.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

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wolf_from_wv

Be careful using an electric pump or let the car run while pumping, so you don't need a jump start when you get the tire up.

I guess Walmart doesn't count as a "real tire shop"...

"Do you want me to patch this tire that's leaking while we have it up on the lift?"

Me, thinking they're going to take the tire off and patch it, "Yes, go ahead..."

$15 later...

I get home and see the plug sticking out.
"You know Grady, some people think I'm overprepared, paranoid, maybe even a little crazy. But they never met any Pre-Cambrian lifeforms did they?" -- Burt Gummer

MacWa77ace

Quote from: Uomo Senza Nome on July 11, 2023, 11:05:26 PMThe T handle kit works fine. You are supposed to go to a tire shop and get the tire a real patch afterwards but I don't unless it starts leaking. We have dozens of construction sites in our city right now and I was getting about one flat a month. It's simply wasn't worth the time and effort to go to the shop all the time to get the tire patched. It's gotten a little bit better I haven't had a flat in about 3 months.

Don't get an electric pump. The bicycle pump works way better, won't burn out, won't break, it doesn't require electricity. I've gone through a series of cheap broken air compressors before I just one day picked up the bicycle pump and said I wonder if this will work? And I've been using it ever since. I think that was 5 years ago. Also unless the compressor is a good one the bicycle foot pump is actually faster.

I've plugged probably 20 holes in tires and only had one not take, that was the one where a wheel balance weight went thru it and so the hole's diameter was larger than the three plugs I tried to fill it with. All the rest lasted until I wore out the tires and bought new. One tire on my Explorer had 3 plugs in it when it was finally replaced after wearing out. No patches.

Electric pumps are better in Florida in the summer. If you don't want to die of heatstroke pumping up your tire in an emergency on the side of the road. YMMV by AO and season. I don't run my car when I used the emergency electric tire pump. It doesn't seem to effect the battery start at all but I've never done it with an iffy battery. And that is an emergency pump so I've only been doing one tire. It does take a long time, my pump says it'll go up to 120psi but it takes about 10 minutes to go from 20 to 30 psi. I'd hate to use that on a tire with a high PSI.



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majorhavoc

Quote from: MacWa77ace on July 13, 2023, 08:47:29 AM
Quote from: Uomo Senza Nome on July 11, 2023, 11:05:26 PMThe T handle kit works fine. You are supposed to go to a tire shop and get the tire a real patch afterwards but I don't unless it starts leaking. We have dozens of construction sites in our city right now and I was getting about one flat a month. It's simply wasn't worth the time and effort to go to the shop all the time to get the tire patched. It's gotten a little bit better I haven't had a flat in about 3 months.

Don't get an electric pump. The bicycle pump works way better, won't burn out, won't break, it doesn't require electricity. I've gone through a series of cheap broken air compressors before I just one day picked up the bicycle pump and said I wonder if this will work? And I've been using it ever since. I think that was 5 years ago. Also unless the compressor is a good one the bicycle foot pump is actually faster.

I've plugged probably 20 holes in tires and only had one not take, that was the one where a wheel balance weight went thru it and so the hole's diameter was larger than the three plugs I tried to fill it with. All the rest lasted until I wore out the tires and bought new. One tire on my Explorer had 3 plugs in it when it was finally replaced after wearing out. No patches.

Electric pumps are better in Florida in the summer. If you don't want to die of heatstroke pumping up your tire in an emergency on the side of the road. YMMV by AO and season. I don't run my car when I used the emergency electric tire pump. It doesn't seem to effect the battery start at all but I've never done it with an iffy battery. And that is an emergency pump so I've only been doing one tire. It does take a long time, my pump says it'll go up to 120psi but it takes about 10 minutes to go from 20 to 30 psi. I'd hate to use that on a tire with a high PSI.




I always have both in my car. :greenguy:

In part because I'm often transporting a bicycle with high pressure tires. Plus, two is one and one is none, yadda yadda yadda .  :words:
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Uomo Senza Nome


QuoteIt does take a long time, my pump says it'll go up to 120psi but it takes about 10 minutes to go from 20 to 30 psi. I'd hate to use that on a tire with a high PSI.
I can pump from 20-35psi in less than two minutes with a bicycle foot pump. If I am at the house I will use my 30 gallon compressor though.


QuoteNo patches.

Yep, the directions on most all of the tire repair kits specify that you take it to a shop and the repair is only "temporary". Again, limited problems though.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

"There's plain few problems can't be solved with a little sweat and hard work."

majorhavoc

There are basically two kinds of hand/foot pumps that have automotive valves: high pressure bicycle pumps and low pressure pumps either designed for mountain/fat tire bikes or for some other purpose such as automotive tires.  It is possible to pump up an automobile tire with the high pressure variety although as others have pointed out, it takes a lot of work. 

It is not possible, however to pump up a high pressure bicycle tire with a low pressure pump.  They simply don't provide the mechanical advantage to pressurize air above a certain level (spit balling here, but let's say ~ 50psi).  

In that sense, the high pressure pump is more versatile.  Up to about 10 years ago I was still pretty poor and drove a car with chronically leaky tires, especially in cold weather.  All I had back then was the high pressure bicycle pump.  I had to use it regularly to top up my tires.  Let's just say my triceps got a terrific workout.  

I always keep the bicycle pump in my car, but now I also have an electric pump that plugs into my car's 12volt accessory port.  That's the one I use for car tires, but I have the bicycle pump for a backup.  
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NT2C

Quote from: majorhavoc on July 13, 2023, 08:15:30 PMThere are basically two kinds of hand/foot pumps that have automotive valves: high pressure bicycle pumps and low pressure pumps either designed for mountain/fat tire bikes or for some other purpose such as automotive tires.  It is possible to pump up an automobile tire with the high pressure variety although as others have pointed out, it takes a lot of work.

It is not possible, however to pump up a high pressure bicycle tire with a low pressure pump.  They simply don't provide the mechanical advantage to pressurize air above a certain level (spit balling here, but let's say ~ 50psi). 

In that sense, the high pressure pump is more versatile.  Up to about 10 years ago I was still pretty poor and drove a car with chronically leaky tires, especially in cold weather.  All I had back then was the high pressure bicycle pump.  I had to use it regularly to top up my tires.  Let's just say my triceps got a terrific workout. 

I always keep the bicycle pump in my car, but now I also have an electric pump that plugs into my car's 12volt accessory port.  That's the one I use for car tires, but I have the bicycle pump for a backup. 
I own all three types, but only brought the electric pump with me on this trip.  With temps hovering well over 100℉ down here, and the need to air down my tires for some of the trails I want to try, a manual pump just wouldn't cut it.  My electric is a 100% duty cycle rated unit with dual pistons and does a nice job quickly getting all 4 tires back up to road pressure.  I probably should be carrying a manual pump as a backup (two is one and one is none) but I don't plan any solo adventures this trip, so I will have others with me who have air pumps.
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Current Weather in My AO
Current Tracking Info for My Jeep

Uomo Senza Nome

I've only ever owned one vehicle that had a tire pressure that was 50lbs. It was an RV with huge tires that held a very large quantity of air. All other vehicles I've owned the tire pressure has maxed out at 40psi, with 32-35psi being the most common.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

"There's plain few problems can't be solved with a little sweat and hard work."

Z.O.R.G.

Emergency fix a flat (true story)

I was on my way to go fishing with a friend and I noticed my low tire light came on.  I pull into a gas station to fill it up and notice I'd a leak on the sidewall that started out slow and got worse as I filled the tire.  The garage I prefer to go to is only about 3 miles away and I really don't feel like paying for a tow.  Long story short - I waited till the tire was almost flat, covered the leak with super glue then put duck tape over the super glue while it was still wet.  I waited several minutes for the glue to cure and re-inflated the tire.  It not only got me to the garage but held pressure for several hours until they could replace the tire.  (I left the car and went fishing.)  When I picked it up the mechanic came out with the strangest look on their face and said "duck tape, really?!?!"  

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