How To Patch a Car Tire: Step-By-Step Guide

how to patch a car tire

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If you own a car, tire deflation is a common occurrence you face when you are on a long drive. Even a nail or a small piece of sharp metal can be the culprit to puncture the tire and release the air. That is why you need to learn how to patch a car that is completely or partially deflated when you are far away from any automobile shop.

Patching a car tire isn’t rocket science; you can easily patch your tire like a pro after reading this guide. In this guide, we provide step by step instructions of patching your car tire like a pro.

Finding the leaks

Leaking tires are a pain, and you need to determine where the leaks are. If you want to patch a car tire, it’s mandatory for you to find the leaks at first. Before you begin, you need to identify the affected tire, at first.

There’re several ways you can check the leaks of the tire. Let’s see how you can find the leaks:

Finding a leak without Water

To find the leak without water, you need to pressurize your car with air. If you have any tire inflator air tool, you can inflate your tire with air until it is filled with the maximum pressure. You can find the appropriate pressure for your tire in your car’s service manual. Then, visually inspect your car to see whether there is any leak or not. If the tire is losing its pressure with a hissing sound, you can locate the leaks and mark it with a chalk or marker.

Finding a leak with soap and water

It is the simplest way to find the exact location of the leaks. For this, you need to mix soap and water in a bucket. Fill the mixture in a spray bottle to spray on the affected tire. You just need to spray the mixture on the inflated tire until there are any bubbles created. If you see any bubbles mounting to the car, you can easily find the location from where the bubbles are coming. To find all possible leaks of the tire, you can spray on the surface of the tread and all around the tire.

Step by step guide

Remove the tire

In the majority of vehicles if you have to find your spare tire they are often positioned in the trunk unless you have an SUV or truck, where it will be found under or behind the vehicle. Before you remove car tires, inspect under the vehicle and search for the folded parts of metal – that’s going to be your jack point where you put the jack. You could lift up the jack a bit since it’s a lot simpler to do it outside compared to under the vehicle.

Once you’ve got the jack into position don’t jack up the vehicle yet. What you should do now is break the torque on the lug nuts. Just keep in mind that going right means making it tighter and going left means making it looser. Now that your lug nuts are adequately loose, you may now begin jacking up the vehicle. Once the tire is lifted off the ground you can remove the lug nuts and pull the tire out.

Patching the tire

You’ve already identified the leak and remove the deflated tire as well. Now, it’s time to patch the infected tire. To patch the tire, you need a patch kit. If you don’t have any patch kit, you can find it online. Use an air die grinder to roughen the side by selecting a pointy bit. In this way, you can clean the affected area so that you can fix it properly. Remember, a single leak can cause a serious accident.

You can use vulcanizing cement to the buffed part of the hole. It will prevent water to enter into the deflated tire. Wait for a while until the cement is dry. Now, take a patch and remove the plastic from the sticky side. Then roll a roller on the inside of the patch. The roller will remove all the bubbles between the sticky and the buffed surface. It will also seal the tire so that the leak will be repaired.

Testing the patch

Now, you need to test the patch whether there is any air escaping from it or not. For this, you need to start by inflating your tire and keep a close eye. Listen carefully whether there are any hissing sounds coming from the tire or not.

If you are still confused about the patch, you can perform leak testing again by spraying the soapy water all over the tire

Reinstalling the tire

After you are completely certain that you have fixed the deflated tire/s, you can now reinstall the tire to its actual position. The process is almost the opposite of the removal of the tire. You can either follow the instructions to remove the tire in a reverse way, or you check the following instructions.

You can begin reattaching the tire on to the wheel rim and place the lug nuts back to its spots. Before it, please lubricate the inner ring that seals to the rim with dish soap. Slide your repaired tire back over the rim. If you have a set of new valve stem core, use it on the blank hole of the valve stem core. Try to avoid reusing the same valve stem.

Now, it’s time to reinstall the wheel as well. You should slide the wheel back onto the wheelbase and thread the lug nuts on tight enough to hold the wheel in place while the car is still on the jack stands. Now, remove the jack stands. That’s it. You have now reinstalled your repaired tire instead of the deflated one.


Patching your deflated tire is a good idea. However, replacing your deflated tire with a new one is the best solution to avoid accidents. For this, you can keep the extra tire to use it in an emergency.

Dan Hoffman

Dan is a co-founder of Engineswork. He knows everything about internal combustion engines. Ask your questions in comments down below this article - he will be glad to help you anytime.

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