Vroom! You’re heading down the trail.
Pop! What was that?
Sssss! Uh oh, a tire’s got a problem.
This happens every weekend on trails across America. It happens to the best of drivers and the best of tires. Nothing is perfect, so round up a tire plug kit and throw it in your 4x4.
Three kits we carry in our various 4x4s are the Slime Tire Tackle repair kit, the Safety Seal, and ARB’s Speedy Seal. The Slime kit has spare valve stems, patches, caps, a tire gauge, and the plug tools. The ARB kit has plugs and tools as well as a tire gauge and spare valve stems and core tool. The Safety Seal kit only has the plugs and tools for repair, but Safety Seal has been around the longest and is considered the granddaddy of all tire plug kits because, if properly done, the repair is permanent.
Tire plugs are sticky rubber-impregnated pieces of yarn that, when stuffed into the offending hole, stop the air leak. The repair is often very easy, and if you catch the puncture fast enough you can plug it before the tire fully deflates. In fact, our experience tells us that digging out the repair kit or finding a buddy on the trail with a repair kit is often the biggest delay in tire repair.
The first step in tire repair is to remove the problem. We’ve seen tires punctured with sticks, nails, screws, even a wrench that happened to fall in just the wrong way before getting run over. (Note: No healthy tires were killed in the making of this article.)