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How to install a tire plug
How to install a tire plug
Eric Deslauriers
Published by edeslaur
How to install a tire plug

Standard boilerplate:
1. This is unsafe and will probably kill you, don't do it.
2. If you're still not sure, read item #1
3. Still here? Ok, you're on your own.

Here's what you need

Me heap good boy scout

Also a great reason to have some kind of storage on your bike.

If you want the same tool I used, buy a BMW tire kit and throw away everything but the plug insertion tool/reamer (metal thingy). I have never, ever, not once gotten these things to work. But the tool is nice and compact.

The Slime PowerSport compressor is one awesome piece of equipment. I think I have 4 of them for my various bikes or dirt toyz.
If you have a BMW like I do, it has that funky power plug that John Deere's also used. Plus the newer ones run through CANBUS so they limit the amount of power they provide. I have an SAE connector wired directly to the battery (from my Battery Tender). The compressor conveniently comes with SAE connectors too!

You need something like the Leatherman - pliers to pull out the offending object, knife blades to cut the plug.

Some things to consider before you knock your bike flat on the ground
While I did this on the center stand, I've done it on bikes with only a sidestand as well. Just be careful not to roll the bike off the stand when installing the plug.

Also ... I'm sure we all know this, but it's always good to say it again. Only tubeless tires can be plugged. The inside of a tubeless tire has a rubber liner that is the air-tight part. If the nail/whatever went in at an angle, you MUST follow the hole. If you punch another hole in the liner, a plug will leak and your only recourse to a permanent fix is a patch.

Get Safety Seal plugs. I've installed literally hundreds of them in car tires with very few comebacks. Our insurance didn't cover motorcycles, so we didn't do any of those.

Use Safety Seal's "grease" if you want to make insertion easier. I always put them in dry. They work fantastic. I've put up to 6 in a truck sidewall to get home (slowly).

I ran over a utility knife blade on my R1100S, nice 1"+ gash in the center of the tread. 3 plugs got me home. Sloooowly.

On my Cobra Mustang, a fresh close-cut plug would take about 7-9 burnouts to come out. A seasoned plug (500+ miles) lasted a lot longer.

Here's my flat from last night, in pictures. The tire failed at work, of course. Yes, the tire's about done.

BTW - this is a SLIME brand plug. They're kind of gooey. I need to restock my Safety Seals.

What the heck is that thing, and is that why my tire is low?

Ah, the interloper exposed!

BMW plug tool for their very stupid plugs. But it's a combo tool and works well enough for real plugs. Reaming out the hole (See plug picture below, airing up the tire to appx 15-20psi helps a LOT). DO NOT make another hole in the inner tire liner, you can't plug it successfully when you do that.
And do NOT push it off the stand.

Put the plug in the tool and push it in as far as you can to block the hole as much as you can and air up the tire to at least 20psi. With a real compressor, you just air it up, it'll outperform the hole.

Put the bike in 1st gear. And do NOT push it off the stand.

Shove the plug in (use a twisting motion, it helps), then cut it flush with the tire. Glove is because I'm a wimp and the BMW tool hurts my hand.

Do the spit test, then air up to desired pressure.

Tire after 60 mile commute home and back to work. I redid the spit test, no leaks. The plug will definitely last the life of THIS tire.

Eric D
08 K1200S Tricolor (phreowww)
06 Husqvarna TE610
Sandy Eggo, CA (Ramona)
Eric D
06 Husqvarna TE610 - IMS 5 gal, htd grips, Alaska Leather, Dirt Bagz, Leo Vince, JD Jetting, Utah skid, Cycra 'busters
08 BMW K1200S -
By JBrack on 02-04-2012, 07:30 AM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Nice tutorial...but a wasted effort I'm afraid to say, because that tire belongs in the trash.
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By edeslaur on 02-04-2012, 08:44 AM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Originally Posted by JBrack View Post
Nice tutorial...but a wasted effort I'm afraid to say, because that tire belongs in the trash.
"Here's my flat from last night, in pictures. The tire failed at work, of course. Yes, the tire's about done."

Thanks for the kudos on the thread.

I definitely understated the condition of that tire. The right side isn't quite down to the wear bars yet, so I've been focusing on making right turns instead of what is clearly left-turn oriented riding.

I fixed it Thursday night to get home, got home by 1:30AM, up at 4:00AM, then rode on it to work on Friday. Got home last night after midnight. Been working 18-20+ hour days for the last 10 days, sometimes you ask a little more of your equipment than you want to.

I'm replacing it this weekend, once I get a little oomph in my step (do 'em myself). The new tire has been waiting for me for 3 weeks, in the meantime I've been running that one pretty hard, which has contributed to its sorry-looking state. Being in a hurry doesn't help tire longevity on a 170hp bike.
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By CanadianBird on 02-04-2012, 09:38 PM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Centre stand yes. I also carry a PackJack.
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By pashnit on 02-05-2012, 05:06 PM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Originally Posted by CanadianBird View Post
Centre stand yes. I also carry a PackJack.
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By viffergyrl on 02-05-2012, 08:23 PM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Thank you for taking the time to post this up.
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By Tin Bender on 04-09-2013, 04:58 PM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Hey Eric,

This is Dan, down here in Escondido. Saw your post on the IBMWR Tech daily summary, jumped immediately here for your tutorial on flat fixin'.

Having a flat has always been a big concern on big trip in the middle of frickin' nowhere's like the Sierras, No. Ariz. or somewhere in bum f**k Utah with all my camping gear loaded. Knock on wood, no problems yet....

Ohter than the image with the beemer tool/co2 cartidges, none of the other images are present. Tried printable version with web links but all are bad links.

Could you transfer these to a public posting site...Smugbug, Flickr, Picasa or even a Youtube posting????
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By edeslaur on 04-09-2013, 10:27 PM
Shrug Re: How to install a tire plug

Aaaaahhhh!Where have they gone?! They were on a public site...

I'll check tomorrow when I'm Near a PC.
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By edeslaur on 05-27-2013, 09:16 AM
Re: How to install a tire plug

Ok, pictures should now be here in perpetuity. Sorry about the delay. Note to self, do not use FB links to pics, they're transient at best. Let's see how Flickr does...
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flat , plug , tireplug

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