I’ve only ever seen someone do the plug repair on a vehicle tire, which is simple: pull out what’s in your tire, shove a plug covered with glue of some kind and then you dirve away. That was all I was hoping to capture when getting my leaky tire on my Nissan Frontier fixed; take note, you do not need to own a Ford or Lincoln to get service done here.
We were in for an excellent surprise, the best and safest way to repair a puncture is with a patch plug.
We used 3 tire specific machines: one that deflated my tire while breaking the rim seal, one that removed my tire from the rim and one that balanced my tire with lasers!
The first step was to get my truck on the hoist and put the tire block on so the tires can spin freely, so we can find the hole. To make it easy to find the puncture we grabbed this solution and sprayed the tires. Starting with the valve stem and then the side walls and then finally the tread. I was lucky with where my tire puncture was, very repairable. If it is on the corner between sidewall and tread, not so repairable. See where the bubbles are, if it had been a little bit more to the left, NO repair!!
I then got a mini lesson in independent suspension and the reason for tire rotation. My front tires were “cupping” you couldn’t see it but when you rubbed your hand on the tire you could feel that the tread was tall then short on each tread…caused by not rotating the tires, and not rotating tires causes them to wear much faster.
Once we located the tires that needed repairs, and our lesson on rotation was over, we started to remove and rotate! My rear tires both had punctures so they both came off, then we started the brake checks and completing of the rotation!
Now we start the fun part of the tire repair, the machines!! Did I mention the lasers?
The machine we first used was this amazing beast that broke the seal of rim to tire with a loud POP! and let out all the air, FAST! The second machine removed the tire from the rim using that little arm thing (see the first picture above) ran it’s way around the edge of the tire until the top was off the rim, then onto the bottom lip. Quick and easy.
(That third picture is just a gratuitous tool shot.)
Now we get to take the rimless tire to it’s “holder” and fix it. First the technician works at getting that nasty giant staple (click the picture to see it up close) out, then he drills a perfect hole for the plug to go in, then grinds the tire to make sure there are no burrs that could make the patch not stick.
Here is the “plug patch”. It gets covered in some glue and put into the hole, pulled out the other side and then burnished from inside of the tire so it sticks. Then we paint the inside of the tire and the patch with some serious tar looking goop.
Almost done with the repair, we trim the length of the plug and we are ready to put the tire back on the rim and back on the truck.
To make it easy to put the tire back on the rim Warren painted it with this slimy stuff from a bucket, it looked like salted lard. Started up the machine that rolled around the rim of the tire before, it now put the tire back on the rim! The valve stem got replaced, just a tiny little piece that got screwed in before we filled the tire up with air!
To the LASER MACHINE!
I was told that it’s a balancing machine (laser’s only got mentioned once). The balancer, with it’s lasers, spins the tire and calculates how thick each area of the tire is, finds any abnormalities and then tells you how much additional weight is needed on the tire to give you a super smooth ride. Once the weights are on the machine spins the tire a little bit and gives you to green arrows indicating each side is balanced! It was truly amazing, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Then my tires were all put back on my truck after the technician finished up my repair, tire rotation and brake inspection plus a Multi Point Inspection… Turns out my oil was low!!
Is there anything else you’d like to see our shop do?