A leaking or flat tire can cause a lot of problems, whether you are driving a car or riding a motorcycle. When you have a tire that is not holding air, there are a few ways to potentially fix it. The most straightforward (and expensive) option is to replace the tire. But, there are other options. If you own a motorcycle and have a leaking or flat tire, you may wonder whether you can plug or patch it. We’ve done the research to give you the answer you need.
A motorcycle tire can be plugged or patched, but it is important to understand that the choice will be determined by the type of tire you have. A tire with a tube will need to be patched. A tubeless tire can be plugged or patched. However, a patch or a plug can only be performed if you have a puncture in the tread of your tire. If your tire has a hole in the sidewall or a large gash, you will need to replace it. Keep in mind that plugging is seen as a temporary solution.
If you would like to learn more about motorcycle tire repair, we invite you to keep reading. We have researched and answered some of the most common questions related to tire plugging and patching and are eager to share that information with you.
How To Plug Or Patch A Motorcycle Tire
Whether you are patching or plugging the tire, the initial steps are similar. Again, you’ll need to know if your tires are tubeless or have tubes. Patching will work for tires with tubes, while both are options for tubeless tires. To perform a patch or plug:
- Remove the wheel and inspect the tire. If there is an object or a hole in the tread, you can proceed in repairing the tire.
- Be sure to check both the outside and inside of the tire for a foreign object. If you find one, remove the object.
- Use your ream tool to clean the hole. You’ll need to be diligent in getting the tool into the hole. Repeat this step a few times to ensure that every part of the foreign object is completely removed.
- If plugging the tire, use rubberized rope plugs threaded through the insertion tool and cover it with glue. Force the plug about halfway into the hole and then remove the tool with a quick motion.
- Use something sharp to cut off the part of the plug that is sticking out of the tire.
- Let the glue dry.
- Refill the tire with air — either with CO2 cartridges or with an electric pump — and check for leaks.
If patching the tire, follow steps one through three above. To patch the tire, you’ll need to work from the inside out.
- Using sandpaper or a file, buff the area inside the tire.
- Put rubber cement around the area and allow it to dry.
- Force the patch through the tire from the inside and make sure it is even with the inner tread.
- Cut the quill so that it is even with the outer tread and push the patch into place.
- Be sure that you force the air out from under the patch by pushing on the center of the patch and working your way outward.
- Reinflate the tire and make sure it is not leaking.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Motorcycle Tire Plugged Or Patched?
If you feel comfortable and are confident that you can repair your motorcycle tire, you can buy a repair kit and perform the job yourself. These kits typically cost anywhere from $15 to $50. These repair kits can also come in handy if you have a flat while on the road, and you are not close to a professional repair facility.
If you are not comfortable or confident performing your own tire repair, you can take your motorcycle for professional repair. Typically tire plugs or patches range in cost from $10 to $20. Again, however, keep in mind that patches and plugs are only possible if the damage to your tire occurs within the tread. Sidewall damage or large holes cannot be repaired. In those situations, a new tire is required. If you do need a new tire, be prepared to pay anywhere from around $70 to as much as $160 depending on the tire you choose.
Is A Tire Plug As Good As A Patch?
The simple answer is that no, a plug is not as good as a patch. Plugs are faster and simpler, but plugs are not intended to serve as a long term solution. A plug is a temporary fix so that you can get home or to a shop safely. Riding long distances on a plug is not advised.
Patches take longer than plugs. They require more effort, but they are also more of a complete fix. Patches can be an effective long-term solution and can extend the life of your tire when done correctly.
Are Tire Plugs Legal?
Tire plugs are designed to be a temporary solution. They enable you to get back to a safe place if you are out on the road. Tire plugs are not ever supposed to be a permanent fix. Riding on a plugged motorcycle tire for long distances or over an extended time can put you at risk. That being said, tire plugs are not illegal.
Outlawing them would reduce a rider’s repair options and make it difficult for someone to temporarily resolve their issue until they can have it assessed and repaired by a professional. Though it has been stated already, it is important to say again that tire plugs are not and have never been intended to serve as a final fix.
What’s A Good Tire Repair Kit For Motorcycles?
Whether or not you want to repair your own motorcycle tire, it is always good to be prepared when you are out on a ride. This is especially true if you ride alone or if you know you will be riding in a remote area. There are a plethora of options available, but you’ll need to make sure that you know what type of tire you have — tubeless or tube — so that you can make the right choice.
An excellent choice for tubeless tire repair is the V1 CO2 Motorcycle, ATV Flat Repair Kit Tubeless Tire Repair Kit. This kit includes everything you need to plug your tire in an emergency.
Another option that works for tubeless and tube tires is the Pit Posse Motorcycle Tire Repair Kit with CO2 Inflator and Cartridges for Tube and Tubeless Tires, Emergency Roadside Kit, Flat Tire Accessories For Easy Repair. This versatile kit keeps you prepared for anything — including the surprise of finding out your tires are not the type you thought they were!
Motorcycles are a unique way to see the world around you. They can be a fun hobby or a primary method of transportation. The choice is entirely up to the rider. But, like a car or a truck or even a bicycle, motorcycles have tires that are susceptible to damage from sharp objects. If you have a leaking tire or wind up with a flat, it is important to know how to safely repair the tire until you can get some long term, professional help. We wrote this blog to give you at least a bit of the information you’ll need if you want to be prepared for the potential of a flat tire on your next ride.
We know that you may have more questions about motorcycles besides whether or not their tires can be plugged or patched. For additional information, we invite you to check out some of our other blog posts like: