Simple tire repairs in the backcountry

Now…the BackCountry Tire Essentials in no particular order of importance (all carry some significance..some more than others):
Tire Tools
lug wrench (correct size)
puncture repair kit (rubber plugs and cement with tool)
fix-a-flat (various brands in aerosol cans..used to instantly but temporarily fix a slow leak)
high-lift jack (I like to carry a flat block of wood to use as a base for even more elevation…and to get stability for the jack in soft soil or mud)
replacement valve for a leaky or damaged valve stem
D/C small plug in air pump (or even a bicycle or foot pump will do in a pinch)
A trick learned from contractors to fix a flat is , pull out a box of screws, find right size screw.  Pull out a cordless drill and insert a screw into hole in tire.  Then pull out your compressor fill tire with tank pressure. Threads in a simple screw will hold it in the tire till you get to a tire shop. A solar or battery powered pump a screw and screwdriver can saves a lot of anxiety.
Carry at least one inflated spare tire (preferably two), a can of fix-a-flat or tire plug kit, a 12-volt air-compressor, a lugwrench, can be your best friend when encountering a flat in the back country and be sure all parts of your jack are on hand. Know how to use your equipment before you head out.
The Proper way:
If you happen to have a flat while away from your home and are not confident in being able to plug the tire you should install the spare tire and try plugging the flat once you return to the comfort of your home. Using a plug kit generally requires that you have access to compressed air in order to re-inflate your tire once it has been plugged; portable 12v compressors are handy for this. If you have sidewall damage then go straight to the spare and take the tire to a repair shop to be evaluated. The sidewall of a tire is much weaker than the tread and often times will not properly hold a plug. Only use the canned “Fix-A-Flat” type repair in an emergency when you cannot or do not feel safe trying another repair method, the material in the can is generally flammable and messy to remove.The plug can be applied to the tire while it is mounted on the vehicle if you are able to reach the damaged area, stabilize the vehicle with your jack first since the tire will be loosing air pressure (this can be dangerous). I recommend you remove the tire for the repair, this will make the damage easier to get to and therefore more likely you will apply the plug correctly and it is safer.Here is a simple plug kit I picked up for about eight bucks at the local auto parts store:
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The plug can be applied to the tire while it is mounted on the vehicle if you are able to reach the damaged area, stabilize the vehicle with your jack first since the tire will be loosing air pressure (this can be dangerous). I recommend you remove the tire for the repair, this will make the damage easier to get to and therefore more likely you will apply the plug correctly and it is safer.
Here is a simple plug kit I picked up for about eight bucks at the local auto parts store:
1. The first step is to locate the offending foreign object in your tire
2. Remove the Object…..
3. Put 2-3 drops of the rubber cement on the tip of the probe and insert the probe into the puncture. Work the probe in and out while twisting to clean and prep the puncture and apply the cement. This process will also enlarge the hole to that the plug will fit through; because of this the first couple of insertions can be difficult. Repeat this process 2-3 times to make sure the puncture is clean and that there is enough cement in the wound.
4. Take each end of the repair strip, this is the plug, and roll the center of the strip into the needle eye. Apply 2-3 drops of rubber cement to the end of the needle and push the needle into the puncture leaving about ¼ inch above the surface of the tire. The needle can be difficult to push through depending on the size of the puncture.
5. Twist the handle ¼ turn and pull the needle out of the tire, the plug should not come out with the needle. Now cut the remaining plug down to about 1/8 of an inch
Congratulations, you have finished the plug. The tire should be drivable almost immediately. I have used many plugs and never had a problem with them leaking or coming out of the tire. The manufacturer of the kit recommends that you have the tire inspected by a professional afterwards, but I consider the plugs permanent. Be sure to air the tire back up to recommended specs and if you have removed the wheel be sure to properly torque the lugs nuts after you reinstall it.

Now…the BackCountry Tire Essentials in no particular order of importance (all carry some significance..some more than others):

Tire Tools

  • lug wrench (correct size)
  • puncture repair kit (rubber plugs and cement with tool)
  • fix-a-flat (various brands in aerosol cans..used to instantly but temporarily fix a slow leak)
  • high-lift jack (I like to carry a flat block of wood to use as a base for even more elevation…and to get stability for the jack in soft soil or mud)
  • replacement valve for a leaky or damaged valve stem
  • D/C small plug in air pump (or even a bicycle or foot pump will do in a pinch)

A trick learned from contractors to fix a flat is , pull out a box of screws, find right size screw.  Pull out a cordless drill and insert a screw into hole in tire.  Then pull out your compressor fill tire with tank pressure. Threads in a simple screw will hold it in the tire till you get to a tire shop. A solar or battery powered pump a screw and screwdriver can saves a lot of anxiety.

Carry at least one inflated spare tire (preferably two), a can of fix-a-flat or tire plug kit, a 12-volt air-compressor, a lugwrench, can be your best friend when encountering a flat in the back country and be sure all parts of your jack are on hand. Know how to use your equipment before you head out.

The Proper way:

If you happen to have a flat while away from your home and are not confident in being able to plug the tire you should install the spare tire and try plugging the flat once you return to the comfort of your home. Using a plug kit generally requires that you have access to compressed air in order to re-inflate your tire once it has been plugged; portable 12v compressors are handy for this. If you have sidewall damage then go straight to the spare and take the tire to a repair shop to be evaluated. The sidewall of a tire is much weaker than the tread and often times will not properly hold a plug. Only use the canned “Fix-A-Flat” type repair in an emergency when you cannot or do not feel safe trying another repair method, the material in the can is generally flammable and messy to remove.The plug can be applied to the tire while it is mounted on the vehicle if you are able to reach the damaged area, stabilize the vehicle with your jack first since the tire will be loosing air pressure (this can be dangerous). I recommend you remove the tire for the repair, this will make the damage easier to get to and therefore more likely you will apply the plug correctly and it is safer.A simple plug kit can be picked up for about eight bucks at the local auto parts store.

The plug can be applied to the tire while it is mounted on the vehicle if you are able to reach the damaged area, stabilize the vehicle with your jack first since the tire will be loosing air pressure (this can be dangerous). I recommend you remove the tire for the repair, this will make the damage easier to get to and therefore more likely you will apply the plug correctly and it is safer.

  • The first step is to locate the offending foreign object in your tire
  • Remove the Object…..
  • Put 2-3 drops of the rubber cement on the tip of the probe and insert the probe into the puncture. Work the probe in and out while twisting to clean and prep the puncture and apply the cement. This process will also enlarge the hole to that the plug will fit through; because of this the first couple of insertions can be difficult. Repeat this process 2-3 times to make sure the puncture is clean and that there is enough cement in the wound.
  • Take each end of the repair strip, this is the plug, and roll the center of the strip into the needle eye. Apply 2-3 drops of rubber cement to the end of the needle and push the needle into the puncture leaving about ¼ inch above the surface of the tire. The needle can be difficult to push through depending on the size of the puncture.
  • Twist the handle ¼ turn and pull the needle out of the tire, the plug should not come out with the needle. Now cut the remaining plug down to about 1/8 of an inch

Congratulations, you have finished the plug. The tire should be drivable almost immediately. I have used many plugs and never had a problem with them leaking or coming out of the tire. The manufacturer of the kit recommends that you have the tire inspected by a professional afterwards, but I consider the plugs permanent.  Be sure to air the tire back up to recommended specs and if you have removed the wheel be sure to properly torque the lugs nuts after you reinstall it.

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