bwilson4web
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Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Plugging a slow leak

Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:37 am

Hi,

I have a slow leak in the front passenger side tire. I can easily keep up using our 12V, tire inflator, so I was waiting on a warm +50F (+10C), dry weather, and learn what it takes to plug a tire in the field. Then a cold front arrived. We're probably 3-4 days from nice weather. So I have choices:

  • wait and patch - the learning and confidence building can pay dividends on future trips if a tire should get punctured. The tire pump can easily keep up with the leak and I see the shaft of the small nail.
  • dealer service - the tire has 20k service miles and they may decide it can't be repaired. I can also get the software patch.
  • 3d party patch - same problem as the dealer, at 20k miles they may declare it unusable.
Right now, I'm leaning towards 'do it yourself.' Patching the tire is a new and useful skill given we don't have a jack and spare tire.

Thoughts?

Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

TOEd
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:15 am
Location: Toronto Ontario Canada

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:41 am

I have several of the "emergency plug kits". They all say for temporary use only. Although they plug the hole they don't provide a patch on the inside of the tire. It is this patch that provides a permanent fix. I tried the emergency plug on flats a couple of times. There is some technique needed to ensure they don't leak. Although they worked I don't trust them. Small town garages will fix a flat for around $20 provided the hole is in the flat portion if the tread. If the hole is in the sidewall or curved portion they say it won't last because of flexing.

gt1
Posts: 231
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:31 pm
Location: Baltimore

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:41 pm

I had two flats in the LR tire. Patched both at home. The tire still leaks a little bit of air- I add it maybe once in two months. With 20k miles your tires probably don't have much life left. I would patch and drive until the replacement. I have a Stop-N-go kit http://amzn.to/2nY4ASf which I like better than the traditional strips.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 3841
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:47 pm

For maximum safety, you really need to dismount the tire and patch from the inside. That's also the only way you can tell for sure if there's not significant damage inside of the tire that is not visible from the outside. Patching from the inside also helps insure minimal moisture intrusion that can get into the carcass and damage the tire even more.

Plus, if the damage is in the sidewall, it should NOT be patched, but replaced, as there is a lot less strength in the sidewall that a patch can't repair verses in the tread area.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

theothertom
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:15 pm

I've plugged many a tire and driven many miles on them. I haven't had any issues with patching a tire and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
Having said that, slow leaks are hard to find. Have you located yours ? It may be the valve stem.
As others have said, you're out of luck if it's in the sidewall.
Some local tire shops will patch it from the inside for about $30 in my area. Some won't patch a tire at all, but will sell you a new one :).

jadnashuanh
Posts: 3841
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:05 pm

A patch by itself if fine...depends on how you do it! Assuming, of course, where it is.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

bwilson4web
Forum Supporter
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:36 am

Thank you for the recommendations.

I see the wire/nail in between the outer and center tread. I'll take a photo on Tuesday. But access to tire tools to remove it for interior patching might be a challenge. Given the age and wear of the tire, I'm tempted to try the plug if nothing else to measure what happens. If it fails, an interior patch is still an option.

Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

theothertom
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: Plugging a slow leak

Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:21 am

All things considered, i think a plug is your best option. As you say, if it fails, you still have other options. One thing to be aware of....those plugs are about 1/4 inch so the hole has to be about that. The plug kit usually comes with a T-handle reaming tool and you'll have to apply some amount of effort to make the hole bigger so the plug will fit. You Tube is your friend :)

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