It can happen at any time, whether you’re going to the mall or travelling across the country: you drive over a nail or screw that has fallen into the road, and it becomes embedded in your vehicle’s tire and causes it to go flat.
Obviously, that is the kind of scenario for which your vehicle was probably equipped with a spare tire. However, most modern vehicles come with compact spare tires that can only be driven for a short distance and to a maximum speed of 50 mph.
Also, many newer cars leave out a spare tire in an effort to reduce weight and increase fuel economy. In this case, your vehicle may come instead with a tire inflator and a can of aerosol tire sealant, a product whose effectiveness can be limited.
You may actually do better by performing a do-it-yourself roadside repair on your punctured tire. While that sounds like a daunting task, it is surprisingly simple and, unlike replacing a damaged tire with a spare, you can make such a repair without even taking the wheel off the car.
If you would like the added peace of mind of being able to make your own tire repairs en route, keep reading, as we’ve compiled a list of the best tire repair kits you can buy.
For more information on the best tire repair kits, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor’s Pick: TECCPO 100-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- 2. Most Innovative Kit: Stop & Go Tire Plugger
- 3. Best Basic Kit: Tooluxe 35-Piece Set
- 4. Best Compact Kit: BETOOLL 22-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- 5. AUTOWN 62-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- 6. Blackjack Tire Repair Tool
- 7. Boulder Tools 56-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- 8. MAIKEHIGH 66-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- 9. ORCISH 98-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- 10. GSSUSA 78-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- What other items should you travel with in the event of a flat tire?
- Do you have to repair a tire when you find a nail or screw in it?
- What should you do after you fix a punctured tire?
- Can you repair any flat tire with one of these kits?
1. Editor’s Pick: TECCPO 100-Piece Tire Repair Kit
Our Editor’s Pick for tire repair kits goes to this comprehensive TECCPO 100-piece set. Like the other kits we’ve featured here, TECCPO’s includes a pair of T-handled tools for preparing and installing a plug. However, it also includes pliers for removing the object that caused your flat tire, and a set of gloves. Inside the rigid black case you’ll also find replacement tire valves and stems, a valve stem replacement tool, and a tire pressure gauge.
TECCPO says its tire repair set gives you the gear you need to fix punctures measuring less than 4 mm in diameter in just five minutes. The company says its T-handle tools are made of A3 steel for added durability. They have rubberized handles to give you a better grip, and the kit even includes a replacement needle for inserting the plug material.
Among the other items you get in TECCPO’s kit are lubricant, 50 pieces of tire repair string, a valve stem tool, a utility knife, and a small storage case to keep the kit’s smaller items organized. TECCPO says you can use its tire plug kit to fix any tubeless tire.
2. Most Innovative Kit: Stop & Go Tire Plugger
Stop & Go makes our list of the best tire repair products with its Tire Plugger, a device that you might think is too good to be true, just like we did at first. While every other tire repair set we’ve listed here makes do with old-school (if well-proven) tools and materials, Stop & Go’s Tire Plugger does a lot of the work for you thanks to its innovative gun-style plug inserter.
That tool works with mushroom-shaped plugs that go head-first through the hole in the tire. Once it’s inside your tire, the top of the plug expands to cover the hole, where the inflated tire’s air pressure helps keep in place.
This surprisingly simple repair set includes the gun tool, 25 mushroom plugs, reaming and rasping tools, and a utility knife to trim off excess plug material. All of those items are stored in the included zippered pouch, which is sized to fit in your glove box or trunk. The only item we’d like to see included is a set of pliers for removing the foreign object that caused the flat in the first place.
3. Best Basic Kit: Tooluxe 35-Piece Set
If you’re concerned that a tire repair set like the TECCPO product we named our Editor’s Pick might be more than you need, then consider a simpler one like this Tooluxe kit. Designed to allow you to easily repair any tubeless tire, Tooluxe’s 35-piece set is simple to the point of austerity but still contains the basic items you need to make the fix.
Tooluxe’s bright orange hard case contains rasp and needle tools, sealing lubricant, hex keys, and 30 pieces of plug string. About the only item not included that you might want to have on hand is a utility knife for trimming the rubber string you’ve used to plug the hole.
The rasp and needle have simple sandblasted steel handles that Tooluxe says will give you good leverage for reaming out the puncture and inserting a plug. Tooluxe’s case is slim for easy storage in your vehicle’s cargo area, although some buyers feel it could have been made even more compact given the small number of tools you get.
4. Best Compact Kit: BETOOLL 22-Piece Tire Repair Kit
Speaking of compact puncture repair kits, here’s one that fits that bill perfectly. Despite being the physically smallest set in our list, BETOOLL’s kit boasts a more comprehensive set of tools than some of the other basic products we found.
BETOOLL provides you with corrosion-resistant steel-handled rasp and needle tools for preparing the puncture and inserting a plug, along with a jar of lubricant, a hex key, two valve stems, a valve stem tool, and 15 pieces of self-vulcanizing repair plug material. This tire plug kit is meant to let you repair any tubeless tire for on- or off-road vehicles, trailers, or ATVs.
All 22 pieces are organized in a soft, zippered case with just enough space to tuck everything in its place. This kit is small enough to be kept in your glove box; its compact size also makes it well-suited to being carried in a sports car where your cargo capacity may be limited.
BETOOLL backs up its tire repair kit with a full refund in the event of any manufacturing defect.
5. AUTOWN 62-Piece Tire Repair Kit
AUTOWN brings you this 62-piece puncture plug kit, which comes nicely organized in a red, hard plastic case. This is yet another well-equipped kit whose parts count focuses on the items you are mostly likely to need to address virtually any flat tire situation.
There are steel T-handled tools to let you ream out the puncture and then insert the included self-vulcanizing plug material. AUTOWN also includes a replacement needle for the plug insertion tool. There are also two sets of pliers to help you remove both large and small nails and screws from the tire.
If the cause of your flat tire is a faulty valve stem, there are four of them in this repair set, along with valve extenders and caps and a valve core removal tool. Finally, AUTOWN throws in a utility knife to trim away excess plug material and a tire pressure gauge so you can properly reinflate the tire.
Among this product’s most impressive features is how neatly everything fits inside the box. There is little wasted space, so you can carry this kit in your vehicle without sacrificing much trunk capacity.
6. Blackjack Tire Repair Tool
Blackjack advertises its tire repair kit as one you can use to make a permanent repair to your passenger vehicle’s flat tire. While we still recommend these tire repair kits as a stopgap measure, Blackjack’s promise does speak to its product’s quality.
Blackjack’s rasp and needle tools have the largest handles of any of the other kits we found for this article, and they look like they would be easier and more comfortable for you to use than most. They also look durable enough to stand up to repeated use. For the tire plugs themselves, Blackjack uses high-tensile fibers instead of cotton or polyester, promising you a longer-lasting repair. Blackjack says this material is better at molding itself to the shape of the puncture to provide a better seal.
In this kit, you get 40 pieces of repair material in two sizes: the smaller size is for punctures up to 3/16 inch in diameter, while you can use the larger type in holes as large as 1/4 inch.
Blackjack’s kit also includes a spare needle tool attachment, a screwdriver with a reversible shaft, a valve core remover, lubricant, and a razor blade.
7. Boulder Tools 56-Piece Tire Repair Kit
Here’s a 56-piece puncture repair set from Boulder Tools that comes with one item we saw in few of the other kits in this list: instructions for how to repair a punctured tire. While these kits are designed to let anyone fix a flat, that how-to will be valuable if you find yourself doing so for the first time.
Otherwise, you’ll find all of the expected items in this kit. There are steel T-handled reamer and needle tools, a replacement needle; a set of pliers; 30 pieces of tire plug material; lubricant; a small plastic box that contains spare valve stems, valve cores and caps; a utility knife; and a tire pressure gauge. Everything is packed into a robust-looking orange case.
Boulder Tools says this set is designed to let you fix any tubeless tire, whether it’s installed on your road car, an off-road ATV, a trailer, farm equipment, a riding lawnmower, or a snowblower. The only thing that would make this kit better is a set of gloves to protect your hands while making roadside repairs.
The manufacturer backs this product with a lifetime warranty.
8. MAIKEHIGH 66-Piece Tire Repair Kit
MAIKEHIGH also makes our list of the best tire repair sets for including an instruction sheet with color illustrations, acknowledging that just because you have bought their product, you may not automatically know how to use it to repair a flat tire for the first time.
Designed for flat repairs on virtually any kind of vehicle, this 66-piece package is among the best-equipped in this overview. It all comes packaged in a hard plastic case that measures 12.2-inches long, 8.3-inches deep and 2.3-inches tall.
Inside the case, you’ll find rasp and needle tools with steel T-shaped handles, a spare needle, two hex tools, lubricant, 40 pieces of self-vulcanizing tire repair rubber, a tire gauge, four valve cores, plastic and chrome valve caps and valve extensions, a stem tool, and pliers. There’s a folding utility knife, too, but it looks like it would be more difficult to use than the typical retractable type.
MAIKEHIGH says you can use its puncture kit on all tubeless tires, including those on your car or truck, work vehicle, ATV or motorcycle, as well as trailers and lawnmowers.
9. ORCISH 98-Piece Tire Repair Kit
ORCISH offers up this tire repair set, whose 98-piece count is a close second to the 100-piece TECCPO product we named as our Editor’s Pick. In fact, all this kit is missing compared to that TECCPO set is a pair of gloves. It does contain the expected rasp and needle tools for cleaning out the puncture and then plugging it. Both have rubberized handles for a comfortable grip and replacement inserts that you can remove and install with the included hex keys.
There’s a set of rubber-handled pliers for removing a foreign object from your tire, and a retractable utility knife to trim off excess plug material, which comes in 10 packs of five pieces each. You also get six valve cores, valve stems and extenders, and plastic and chrome valve stem caps numbering six pieces each.
Finally, once the tire is repaired, you can use the tire pressure gauge to tell you when you’ve properly reinflated it.
ORCISH says you can use this universal tire repair set on any tubeless tire for a car or truck, SUV, motorcycle, ATV, or trailer.
10. GSSUSA 78-Piece Tire Repair Kit
The final product that made the cut for our list of the best tire puncture repair kits is this 78-piece set from GSSUSA. In this kit, you get a back-to-basics setup with plain, metal-handled reaming and needle tools that promise utility, but not much comfort. However, it is a well-equipped set that includes the all-important pliers, as well as a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
It also comes with 50 pieces of tire repair string, a spare reaming tool attachment, lubricant, a hex key, and a utility knife.
Curiously, however, GSSUSA’s description doesn’t tell you the proper story about this kit. It lists 19 valve cores as making up the balance of the parts list but, if the photos in the listing are accurate, there are actually four valve cores, eight valve caps, four stems, a valve core tool, and a tire pressure gauge, which accounts for those 19 pieces. You also get a small plastic box for storing the set’s smaller items.
GSSUSA says that if you’re not satisfied with its tire repair kit, it will either replace it or issue you a full refund.
What other items should you travel with in the event of a flat tire?
Photo credit: Nor Gal / Shutterstock.com
If you buy a tire puncture repair kit that does not include pliers and/or gloves, we recommend making sure you carry both these items with you.
For flat tires caused by a screw or nail that’s stuck in the tire, pliers will be very useful for pulling that foreign object out before you plug the resulting hole. Meanwhile, gloves will help protect your hands from mess and injury as you make your roadside repair.
The other thing you will need is a tire inflation pump to fill the tire with air after you fix the hole. We would recommend an electric pump that you can plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. These make it quick and easy to inflate the tire and get back on the road.
Do you have to repair a tire when you find a nail or screw in it?
Not necessarily. While you should get the tire fixed as soon as possible, you can drive carefully on a punctured tire as long as it is not leaking air too quickly. We would recommend reducing your speed, however, as even the weight of a small nail or screw can throw the tire off balance and cause noise and vibration at higher driving speeds.
What should you do after you fix a punctured tire?
The repairs you make with most of the kits we’ve featured here are meant for emergencies only so that you can continue to a tire shop, where a technician will take the tire off the wheel to inspect it. They may install a new plug and patch the tire from the inside for a longer-lasting fix.
Can you repair any flat tire with one of these kits?
You can fix virtually any punctured tire with the repair kits we’ve featured here. However, whether you can fix it depends on the location of the puncture. If the hole is in the outer block of tread, or is more than 1/4 inch in diameter, then any repair should only be considered temporary so that you can reach a repair facility. In that case, you would be better off using your vehicle’s spare tire, if it is fitted with one.
Also, never use a tire repair kit to fix a punctured sidewall. A tire’s sidewall is constructed differently than the tread, and that means that your plug may not properly seal the hole. And even if it will hold air, a sidewall puncture affects the tire’s structural integrity and could lead to a blowout and a serious crash.
February 3, 2021: Updated with a promoted product recommendation.
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Main photo credit: Nor Gal / Shutterstock.com