Tire Repair

Emergency Tire Repair to get you to safety.

This tire is beyond repair This information is not intended to be used for a tire repair that will be driven on public roads. But, when you are hours away from cell phone communication and help, it is critical to get the wheels rolling again and drive to a place where shelter and help is available.
Rule #1: Always have one working spare tire. We shredded our front tire beyond repair and had to use the spare tire. We immediately turned around.
Rule #2: Try to fix the tire first and keep the spare. As long as you have a spare, you can continue the trip.
Rule #3: Make sure you know how to fix a tire with the equipment at hand. Practice with the Tire Repair Kit before you need it in the field. Practice replacing a valve. It is not as simple as it seems.
OK, let's start with the simple fix first.

All prices are in Canadian Dollars as of October 2022.
The complete list of parts and tools is to the end of this document.

Aerosol tire inflator
Aerosol tire inflator We carry the GUNK Puncture SEAL in our recovery kit but never had to use it. To fix a puncture, our first choice is to plug the hole with the Victor Tire Repair Kit below. A similar product is the Fix-A-Flat® Standard Tire Sealant/Inflator, 453-g is available from Canadian Tire for $16. The aerosol tire inflator is a quick way to repair a flat tire in a hurry. It can seal a puncture up to 1/4” (6 mm) in diameter and is designed for passenger vehicle tires. It can be used once and must be replaced after use. The reviews at Canadian Tire are positive for car tires as well as lawn mowers. IMPORTANT, there is a Fix-A-Flat for larger tires. There is a good demo with Fix-A-Flat on YouTube.
You may have to add air for larger tires to get to the correct pressure. The cans don't have enough pressure to fill an offroad tire.
We will more likely use the aerosol tire inflator for other travelers with passenger cars, motorbikes or trailers. Or we may use it in conjunction with the tire plug.

Jack up the Jeep
Wheel chocks and base plate One of the first tasks was jacking up the Jeep. We always carry a pair of foldable chocks. The wood plates are the covers for the trunk floor compartment in the Jeep. They double as bases for the chocks. It is good practice to make sure the chocks don't sink. A flat tire is excitement enough, we don't need a vehicle that slides off the jack.
We didn't have big rocks or solid wood pieces that could have been used as chocks, with the foldable ones in the recovery gear. it saved us time to find anything suitable.

OEM scissor jack from Jeep We found a piece of wood nearby and placed it under the scissor jack. This is the OEM jack from the Jeep Wrangler. With the wheels secured, the emergency break engaged, lifting the Jeep was safe. This picture was taken with the spare tire already mounted. The tire with the flat could not be fixed, and without it, we had to abandon our excursion and head back.

Puncture repair with a plug
Victor Heavy Duty Tubeless Tire Repair Kit The Victor Heavy Duty Tubeless Tire Repair Kit is available from Canadian Tire for $15. The tools have big handles and they provide a good grip.
When you watch the guys at the tire repair service fixing the tire, it looks so easy. The first time I tried, it took well over an hour in the garage with all the tools at arms length. If I had to use it in the field the first time, "Oh wow, it works" would not be my first words to describe the repair. Lucky me, I had an old tire at my disposal and this is what happened.

Object stuck in tire I inserted a 2 inch screw into the tire. With the screw still sticking out, almost no air was leaking. We had a similar thing happen in Newfoundland where we caught a nail and lost a bit of air at first. After a week, no more air escaped. The nail was a perfect plug for the hole. We left it at that and never attempted a repair. With this screw in the tire, I would likely cut the screw and keep on driving. However, I removed the screw to practice with the puncture repair kit, following the instructions on the package.
Step 1: Remove object and insert rasp tool, sliding up and down to clean inside of hole.
The air was now escaping at a much, much stronger force.

Step 2: Remove repair plug from backing material and insert into eye of needle tool.
Removing the repair plug took me 5 minutes, it is sticky and does not come off the backing material easily. Inserting the plug into the needle tool was another 5 minutes. At least the hissing of the tire stopped, all the air was out. Unless you already have the car jacked up, it is now flat on the rim.

Insert plug with needle tool Step 3: Insert the needle with repair plug into the hole.
That just didn't happen until I enlarged the hole to the full 6 mm (possibly more) with another rasp tool that was actually much thicker. With a lot of effort, I finally inserted the plug and pulled out the needle in a straight, rapid motion (as per instructions).
The plug was in the hole and it was time to fill the completely deflated tire. This will take anywhere from 15 minutes to over half an hour depending on your pump or compressor. If you forgot to start the engine, your battery will likely be drained. The flat tire is not going to be your biggest problem anymore.

Repair a tire in the outdoors What did we learn?
Mark the location of the hole, it may be hard to locate once the object is removed.
Do step 2 before step 1. Only when you have your plug ready to be inserted, remove the object and clean the hole with a rasp that is about 6 mm in diameter. With some luck, not all the air escapes from the tire.
Bring a bigger rasp to enlarge the hole.
A flat tire usually happens when the environment is not as inviting as the paved driveway. When we had a flat on the Missinaibi River Trail, the mud on the tire was so thick and sticky that not even water could wash it off. Make sure you have a tarp, water and/or container, wheel choke and more. The link at the bottom to our Recovery Gear page has a list of all the useful things that will make a repair in the field possible and not a disaster.
YouTubeWe invited Dino from CheaperJeeperTV to repair a puncture in the tire. He did an outstanding job fixing the tire and documenting the steps.

Tire Repair

Break the tire bead
The repairs from this point on are more demanding and may inflict injuries. Before you even attempt this, you have to know four things. Always consider that this refers to an outdoor environment with tools that you carry in your Jeep.
#1: You need a compressor with enough air output to set the tire again. A pump that plugs into the 12 volt outlet will not work.
#2: The tire has to be completely suspended, either jacked up on the vehicle or mounted on the spare rack.
#3: To remove all air, you will likely have to remove the valve from the stem. A tire under pressure will convert the valve into a projectile never to be found again.
#4: Have all parts needed for the repair ready and operational. If you don't have a working compressor or forgot the hose to fill the tire, it is no good. When you look at the picture above, I started the repair only AFTER all the parts were ready. The spare tire was there and so were all other tools.

Break the tire bead with scissor jack The bead of the tire is the 'lip' that has contact with the rim. The rim has a groove where the bead locks with the tire. Once set, it forms an airtight seal. Before you can break the bead, the air must be completely out and the valve removed. The sidewall is now soft and can be pushed in with the thumb. To break the bead free, you have to apply a good amount of force. Jumping on the tire sidewall will not break the bead, but more likely your bones when you slip.
Out in the wilderness, you have to work with the tools at hand. The scissor jack in the Jeep will break the bead. A HiLift Jack will break the bead. When you have to jack up the Jeep with the scissor jack, you have to remove the tire and suspend the Jeep with logs or rocks. Or you mount the spare tire for the duration of the repair. If that sounds confusing, refer to Rule #1 and #2 in the first paragraph.

Breaking the bead is simple, what follows is not. You may have to replace the valve stem or remove/replace the TPMS sensor. Possibly take the tire off the rim and stich and glue the tire from the inside. Make sure you have a compressor that will set the bead and inflate the tire. Whatever you do, keep the tire and working area clean. Wash the tire so no mud, rocks or dirt will fall into the tire. We had a good collection of gravel and water in our tire that entered through the rip in the sidewall.

Tools and parts for tire repair
Tire repair tools and parts Aearosol tire repair
iconFix-A-Flat® Standard Tire Sealant/Inflator, 453-g from Canadian Tire
Tools for puncture repair with a plug
iconScissor or bottle Jack to lift the Jeep.
iconWheel chocks to secure vehicle.
iconSolid base plates to prevent chocks and jack from sinking into ground.
iconDucumentation from tools and parts in plastic bag.
iconTire Marker (oil or chalk).
iconDish Soap. Mix with water when needed.
iconVictor Heavy Duty Tubeless Tire Repair Kit from Canadian Tire.
icon1 oz Slime Rubber Cement. Once opened, they should be replaced.
iconTire pressure gauge. Analog version without batteries.
iconAir Compressor.
Nice to have tools
iconRound rasp file (with red handle).
iconTubeless Tire Repair Cords for Repair Kit (spares).
Additional tools for valve replacement
iconTire Valve Repair Tool from Pricessauto.
iconSpare Valve Cores. Check the size for the rim & maybe spare TPMS sensor.
icon Tire Valve Repair Tool with Valve Cores from Pricessauto
iconSome pieces of CLEAN wood (~2 inches) to wedge between rim and bead of tire (TPMS sensor removal).
Sidewall repair (UNTESTED)
iconRepair needles and nylon string.
iconRubber patches to seal rips after sewing.

First published on October 14, 2022 Contact Us  Help