Motorcycle surviving skills: How to plug a tubeless tire

     5 min read

    I can’t remember how many time I’ve finished my ride with a plugged tire, usually it’s rear tire got hurt. Chances are you will be unlucky enough to pick up a nail on the tires someday, and this is the surviving skill you will need by then.

    Pick up a nail on the tire not only annoying, but also make the bike risky to ride

    One amazing benefit of those tubeless tires (means they don’t use a tube as an inset) is how easy to plug (stuff something in to make it air tight) them. Usually you won’t notice the rear rubber is leaking air until next day morning, yeah, normally people can get away with a leaking rear tire but they might notice that handling becomes heavy, etc. Tire plug kits are pretty cheap to buy and easy to carry when you go out for a long ride, but for daily commuters, you can have it fixed when you get back to your home, too.

    A standard tire plug kit usually includes:

    -a rasp tools and an insert tool with T-shaped handle

    -sticky string plugs

    -a vice to pull out the nail

    -a trimmer

    -some kit also includes a compressed air can for road side repair

    Such kit is your best friend when you have a hole on the tire.

    Step 1: Unplug the nail with the vice. If it’s too hard to pull it out, try harder or find other tools.

    Step 2: drill a hole on where you need to plug with the rasp tool. Try to make it as round as possible for easier plug insertion.

    Step 3: plug the tire with the insert tool and the string plug, do it with a downward force while rotating the tool. When that’s done, pull the insert tool out carefully.

    Step 4: Before you cut down the excessive plug, it’s a smart move to spray some liquid around the hole to observe if there’s any leaks. If everything looks fine, you can go ahead and cut the excessive plug, just leave 2-3mm so the remaining could be flattened out to ensure there’s no more air leaks out.

    Step5:Go to the closest gas station and pump in air. Wait a bit and check the air again. If the tire pressure remains, we say you are good to go!

    People may worry about the plug isn’t strong enough, that’s a fair concern. From my experience, but from my experience and you can see from the photo above, a plugged tire legitimately can be used just like normal tires. Of course the best solution is always to get a new tires, but I’ve ridden thousands of miles on a plugged tire with no problem. Having this surviving skill is useful especially when you go out to take a long trip. In that case, I will probably just throw a plug kit in my luggage to have a peace of mind.

    Ryan G.
    Ryan G.


    Ryan G.

    Nationality is unknown, Ryan is an experienced rider and custom bike builder, spending most of his time in garage trying to make things work. He rides, he writes, and he misses In-n-Out.