A couple of weeks ago I read about tire plugs on Kevin Kelley’s Cool Tools blog. I live in a newer neighborhood where people are still building houses, so there are a lot of screws and nails and other construction debris around. Since we moved into our new house in 2003 I’ve had about five flats fixed, and that gets expensive, so I was excited to find out about these tire plug things. I went to Canadian Tire (called for no good reason Pneu Canadien in our house) was pleased to find a kit with a rasp, a plug tool and five plugs for about five bucks. The way they work is that you remove the screw or whatever, use the rasp to roughen the inside of the hole, and then you jam the plug, which is basically a piece of string covered in sticky bad-smelling black goo, into the hole with a tool that looks a bit like a screwdriver handle with a giant sewing needle on it. Then you just cut off the bit of the string plug left sticking out of the hole, and voila!
The van had leaky tires on both sides on the rear. Jenn filled both up the day I bought the tire fixing kit. I examined the tires and found big screws stuck in both. I fixed the holes with the plug kit, and managed to only lose a couple of psi per tire in the process. It’s pretty slick. Supposedly you’re supposed to get an internal patch installed over the hole to consider the repair “permanent”, but the plugs I’ve used seem to be holding well for me so far.
Yesterday when we took Mack to water polo Jenn said the van was pulling to the right. When we stopped, I found, sure enough, a big bloody screw in the right front tire. Dammit!. When we got home I rolled the van into a position that allowed me to access the screw to get it out and fix the hole. I was sitting on the ground, wiggling the screw out with pliers while Mack watched, and he goes “Why is there one in that tire too?” Sure enough, there was another screw in the right rear tire again. I fixed both. That’s four punctures in one week. I’m starting to get paranoid.