Do not let a screw or nail ruin your ride. Get yourself a tire plug kit and learn how to use it. Before getting started, it is important to note that plug kits are only meant to be used on the tread of your tire. If you find a puncture in the sidewall, or a large gash on the tread, it is best to avoid a potentially deadly situation and instead have your tire completely replaced to meet standard safety guidelines.
It is ironic that modern-day motorcycle tires are almost invincible, yet a small 1 ½ screw can completely ruin your day. Today’s tubeless tire technology typically keeps you safe from any deadly blowouts, by preventing foreign objects from completely deflating the tire while hitting the road. If your tire does have an inner tube, and the object that caused the puncture is still stuck in the tire, it is still very unlikely that the tire would completely lose all its air pressure instantly, but rather deflate slowly overtime.
Of course, if you notice any puncture in your tire, it is safe to say you should immediately pull over to inspect the damage. We do not recommend driving on a punctured tire that has not been repaired.
- Inspect and locate the puncture
Finding a puncture in a motorcycle tire can sometimes be a surprisingly tough task, as some small objects will find themselves lodged deep into the tire tread. If you can visually see the puncture and the foreign object causing it, move on to the next step. If you cannot see the puncture at all, your best bet would be to feel around the tread for a bit until you can feel the area that was damaged.
- Removing the object from your tire
Once the puncture has been accurately located, remove the nail, screw, or other object using the plyers from your plug kit. If you see a screw that is lodged deep into your tire, it is time to grab that power drill from your workbench and slowly unscrew it from your tire. If it is not deep, the plyers should do fine.
- Properly reaming and cleaning the hole
Take the reamer from your tire repair kit and ream the hole. This will help clean and expand the hole, preparing it to be plugged. Most tires are steel belted so it is going to take a lot of effort and energy to jam the reamer in there, consider it a necessary evil as you’re going to want to make sure the puncture hole is completely cleaned and reamed before using the plug tool to install the rubber seal.
- Using the motorcycle tire plug kit
Firstly, you will want to insert the seal onto the insertion tool, make sure that your seal is about halfway through the insertion tool for this to work. If your kit includes rubber cement, put some on the seal and some more on the hole. Begin by slowly inserting the seal about 2/3 of the way into the punctured area.
If you push too far, the seal may fall into the tire. That is okay, simply repeat the above steps with a new rubber seal. Once you are sure it is about 2/3 of the way in, gently begin to remove the insertion tool.
Finally, use the knife provided in your plug kit to remove any excess string from the rubber seal.
- Reinflating your motorcycle tire (if it has an inner tube)
Once you have confirmed that your tire has been plugged, and properly sealed using the steps above, you can now safely move forward to reinflating it. If you are stranded and do not have a tire inflator on hand, find the nearest gas station as most will happily provide an air inflator for anyone to use. If you do happen to have a tire inflator on hand, simply use that and you will be on the road again in no time.
Although this makes for a good temporary fix, you do not want to ride on a patched motorcycle tire for too long. Visit your local mechanic and see what your options are. After each ride on a patched motorcycle tire with an inner tube, be sure to check the air pressure in your tire with a tire pressure gauge. If it is too low to safely continue riding, reinflate it and fix that tire sooner than later!