How to Use Tire Patches | Step-by-step Guide 

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 11:13 am

“Sometimes a tiny object is enough to ruin your day.” That’s what you may be thinking right now, seeing the sharp stone or nail in your tire tread. However, thanks to Louis Rustin (who first introduced the tire patches) and this comprehensive guide, repairing punctured tires will not take your whole day. Our expert guide has covered everything from the tools you need and things to consider to the steps to follow. Let’s see how to use tire patches to fix a punctured tire. 

Types of Tire Patches

Different tire patches are available nowadays, depending on the application process and tire type. 

Mushroom/umbrella patch:

Mushroom Tire Patches

It has a round head and a long stem or tail, giving a mushroom shape. The tail area goes through the hole from inside while the wide head covers the hole.

Mushroom patches are more effective than others, making them good for large punctures. However, they are rather expensive. 

Cold patch:

These pre-glued tire patches work best on tubeless tires. No adhesive or heating is required. Just remove the plastic layer & stick it to the tire hole. 

Radial-specific tire patch:

It’s a flat rubber piece that you need to glue before applying. These patches are specifically designed for high-performance or radial tires. 

Things to Know Before Patching a Tire

  • The punctured area shouldn’t be more than 6mm in diameter for the patch to work properly.
  • Tire patches don’t work on sidewalls as these areas flex due to the unavailability of cords. 
  • Always choose a patch according to the tire type. For example, opt for radial patches if you’re repairing a heavy-duty truck or SUV. 

What are the Steps to Patching a Tire? 

  1. Locate and highlight the punctured area.
  2. Gather the tools.
  3. Remove the tire from the vehicle. 
  4. Break the bead.
  5. Clean the punctured area.
  6. Apply rubber cement.
  7. Prepare the tire patch.
  8. Place the patch on a hole.
  9. Exert pressure on the patch.
  10. Let the patch dry.
  11. Reinflate the tire.
  12. Put the tire back into the vehicle.

Inspect the punctured area:

First, check the part of the tire affected. Remove the nail or stone, inspect the size of the hole, and highlight it with a marker so you can easily find it during patching. 

Gather the tools:

You will need the following tools. 

(For tire removal)

  • Jack 
  • Lug wrench 

(For bead breaking)

  • Tire irons
  • Tire lubricant 

(For patching)

  • Tire patch kit 
  • Rasp
  • Sandpaper
  • Tire patch roller
  • Knife/cutter 

Remove the tire:

Next, remove the tire from the vehicle using the jack stand and lug wrench. This guide may help you with it. 

Break the bead:

Since tire patches are applied internally, you must separate the tire from the rim. It’s called bead breaking. Read this article for a complete guide on breaking a bead.

Buff or clean the tire hole: 

Use a rasp to roughen the tire hole or small cut. It will help clean the punctured area. Now, take a piece of sandpaper to buff the surface from inside and outside so the patch can sit properly. 

Apply rubber cement:

After cleaning the tire hole, apply a thin layer of rubber cement around this area. Let it dry for 5 to 7 minutes. In hot weather, it will not take more than a minute. 

Prepare tire patch: 

Meanwhile, prepare the patch for installation by applying glue. Make sure to read the instructions on the kit carefully. 

Install tire patch:

If you’re using a mushroom patch, pass the tail through the hole inside the tire and pull it from outside. Cut the excess tail with a knife. Apply a coat of rubber cement on the outer surface and let it dry. 

However, in the case of the normal radial patch, you must install the patch outside in addition to inside for a more durable fix, following the same way. 

Apply pressure on the patch: 

Move a tire patch roller on the inside surface to remove trapped air between the patch and the hole. The head or wide area of the patch will stick to the hole evenly. 

Reinflate the tire: 

Place the tires back onto the rim & reinflate it to the recommended pressure. Use soapy water to check for leaks. If bubbles don’t come out, you’ve successfully repaired a punctured tire. Reinstall it to the vehicle and continue your journey. 

Pros & Cons of Tire Patches

Pros Cons
Affordable Not suitable for large punctures 
Long-lasting Can’t repair sidewall leaks
Portable and easy to use Long installation process 
Widely available 
Safe application 


How long does a tire patch last?

It depends on installation quality, patch type, driving habits, and the puncture severity. According to auto experts, a properly installed tire patch can last between 7 and 10 years. 

Are patched tires safe? 

Yes, because tire patches are made from the same material as tires. And if you install them correctly, patched tires will perform just like non-patched or new tires. 

How many times can you patch a tire?

It would be best to patch a tire once or twice to avoid irreparable damage. Multiple patches can weaken the overall structure of a tire, limiting its lifespan and performance. 

How much does a tire patch repair cost? 

It depends on whether you’re repairing yourself or getting help from a professional. In the case of DIY, you will only pay for a tire patch kit, which can cost you as low as $5 to as high as $30. 

Sum Up

Well, it’s time to wrap up our step-by-step guide on how to use tire patches. While punctures are part of life, avoiding rocky paths is best, especially if your tires aren’t built for them. Sometimes, even tire patches fail to fix things. And you may end up buying new tires, which can be hard on your pocket.

Leave a Comment