Reviews | The Drive

Best Tire Repair Kit: Fix Problems Without a Tow

These easy-to-use kits make roadside tire repairs easy and get you back on the road in mere minutes.

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive is the leading authority on all things automotive.

youtubefacebookinstagram

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BYHeather Fishel/ LAST UPDATED ON July 20, 2022

Flat tires are just a part of automotive life. Some people experience them more than others, but almost all drivers will have to deal with a drive-ending puncture at some point. When this happens, a good tire repair kit is a great alternative to just swapping the deflated rubber for a spare tire or trying to run on tubeless tires. Some kits even make it easy to permanently fix the tire so you don't have to buy replacements. Check out our reviews and recommendations for the best tire repair kit.

Best Overall

Rhino USA Tire Repair Kit

Summary
Built for tough tires and speedy, lasting repairs, this tire repair kit is highly capable and equips you for anything and everything.
Pros
  • Works for cars, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and more
  • Durable, lasting plugs
  • Strong and sturdy tools
Cons
  • Only for tubeless tires
Best Value

Pittsburgh Automotive Radial Tire Patch Kit

Summary
Affordable and very easy to apply, this tire repair kit includes patches for every kind of tire problem, and it takes just minutes to apply.
Pros
  • Fixes both flats and tears
  • Patches in multiple shapes and sizes
  • Includes patch glue and metal scuffers
Cons
  • Performs best on small tires
Honorable Mention

Husky T-Handle Tire Repair Kit

Summary
Cover all of your bases – and all kinds of tire repairs – with this dual-use tire repair kit that comes with everything you might need on the go.
Pros
  • Includes tire plugs and patches
  • Comes with rubber cement, tire rasp, and insertion tools
  • Compact for on-the-go storage
Cons
  • Plugs are difficult to use and seal
  • Requires a lot of strength
Best Tire Repair Kit: Fix Problems Without a Tow

Our Methodology

I chose the best tire repair kits by looking for products that are designed for easy, on-the-road use when tires spring a leak or get punctured. I took a look at many different types of tire repair kits, from plug style to patches, considering options for car tires as well as motorcycle, bike, lawn mower, and ATV and UTV tires. Those that were easy to use and could reliably stop a leak – at least long enough to travel additional miles so you can make it home or to a tire shop – were my top picks, and I looked at the patching style, security, and reported durability to determine which were the best of the bunch. Repair kits that included coverage and items for a variety of different kinds of tire woes were also top choices. 

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Tire Repair Kit Reviews & Recommendations

Best for Small Vehicles: Slime Patches with Rubber Cement

Best for Off-Road Tires: GlueTread External Patch Kit

Best Comprehensive: Smittybilt Tire Repair Kit

Specs

  • Repair type: Plug
  • Suitable for: Cars, motorcycles, RVs, ATVs, UTVs, and more
  • Number of pieces: 86

Pros

  • Extensive, comprehensive kit
  • Compact carrying and storage case
  • Includes plugs, lubricant, and tools
  • Solidly built components

Cons

  • Only for tubeless tires

When it comes to tough tires and dependable repairs, the Rhino USA Tire Repair Kit is your top choice. This kit is versatile and highly capable, providing repairs for tire punctures of all kinds. It’s comprehensive, providing you with durable, heavy-duty plugs as well as well-built tools that’ll make repairs a little easier. Featuring 86 pieces packaged in a convenient and compact storage kit, you’ll have everything you need to quickly plug up tire problems, seal them, and get back on the road without waiting for a tow. The entire process is simple enough that it takes just 15 minutes to get you driving safely once again. And it’s a suitable fix for everything from your car tires to your RV tires to bike, lawnmower, and off-road vehicle tires.

However, it’s important to remember that this kit is only meant to be used on tubeless tires.

Specs

  • Repair type: Patch
  • Suitable for: All radial tires
  • Number of pieces: 60

Pros

  • Fixes both flats and tears
  • Patches in multiple shapes and sizes
  • Includes patch glue and metal scuffers
  • Repairs in minutes

Cons

  • Performs best on smaller tires

With a budget-friendly price and an incredibly easy application method, the Pittsburgh Automotive Radial Tire Patch Kit is a great value pick. In this affordable kit, you’ll get a selection of 56 rubber patches in sizes from 1 inch to more than 4 inches and in various shapes. Plus, this kit also includes two tubes of rubber cement for a strong, secure patch seal and two small metal scuffers to ensure your patches can properly adhere to the tire. With a little roughing up and the strongly adhesive rubber cement, these patches should cover tears and punctures fast. And best of all, there are enough to cover many kinds of tires. These patches work on any radial tire, but they’re also a quick fix for bike tires, inflatables, rafts, and more.

The only drawback is that these patches tend to work best on smaller tires. While they’re technically suitable for use on all radial tires, the best performance isn’t found on heavy-duty tires or tougher, thicker off-road tires.

Specs

  • Repair type: Patch and plug
  • Suitable for: Car tires
  • Number of pieces: 18

Pros

  • Includes tire plugs and patches
  • Comes with rubber cement, tire rasp, and insertion tools
  • Compact for on-the-go storage
  • Works for punctures, cuts, and tears

Cons

  • Plugs are difficult to insert and seal up
  • Requires a lot of strength

The Husky T-Handle Tire Repair Kit is a great all-in-one kit that’ll have you covered no matter what you happen to roll over on the road. With tools and sealing solutions that work for both punctures and tears, this comprehensive option includes plugs and patches for every kind of seal. It’s got both tire plugs and tire patches, plus a tube of rubber cement for sealing, a tire rasp, a tube scuff pad, and insertion tools so you have everything you need in one compact kit that stashes in your glove compartment. These assorted tools are made for roadside use, and their design cues, like a pistol grip design on the tools and handheld scuff pad, are comfortable though small.

Unfortunately, the tools require quite a lot of strength to use properly, and getting plugs and patches in place can be a challenge for some users. It’s also somewhat tough to get a secure enough seal to prevent slow leaks, so you’ll only want to rely on this repair kit for a quick fix to get to the shop.

Specs

  • Repair type: Patch
  • Suitable for: Tires on ATVs, lawnmowers, bikes, and wheelbarrows
  • Number of pieces: 60

Pros

  • Works for an array of problems and sizes
  • Includes 56 patches
  • Rubber cement included
  • Repairs puncture-style problem

Cons

  • Requires wait time
  • Does not work on car or truck tires

When it comes to small vehicles and smaller tires, a set of Slime Patches with Rubber Cement is a handy tool to keep nearby. This tire repair kit includes 56 patches, with a selection of rounded rectangle, round, square, and rectangular patches in sizes from 21 mm to 75 mm. Plus, those patches come with a pair of tire scuffers to rough up the rubber for better adhesion and two tubes of strong rubber cement. Made specifically for puncture-related flats on the tires of ATVs, lawnmowers, bikes, and similar vehicles, you can apply your tires easily and get a longer lifespan out of them, and this kit includes plenty of patches for multiple repairs over time.

This kit is not meant for use on car or truck tires. It’s designed for smaller vehicles such as ATVs, UTVs, lawnmowers, and bikes. Additionally, because the patches and rubber cement need to sit and set for a while, you shouldn’t expect to be able to slap a patch on and get back to work.

Specs

  • Repair type: Patch
  • Suitable for: Off-road tires
  • Number of pieces: 11

Pros

  • Suits a variety of off-road vehicle tires
  • Dries and bonds quickly
  • No special tools required
  • Works for tire tread and sidewalls

Cons

  • Not a very extensive kit

If you need a tougher solution for off-road tires, the GlueTread External Patch Kit might be your best bet. Made specifically for repairs on off-road tires, this kit is able to stop leaks, cover punctures, and fix tears. You can use these rubber compound patches on all types of off-road tires, whether you’re driving a car, crossover, or ATV. Meant to be extra easy to apply, these patches come with durable GlueTread adhesive, which dries and bonds in just minutes. Plus, they’re so easy to apply that you don’t need any special tools (aside from the included sandpaper), and you don’t have to remove your tires or wheels. As an added bonus, there’s so little down time that you can repair your tire and get back to normal use the very same day.

The only disadvantage of this tire repair kit is it doesn’t include a lot of patches. With just two of each patch size, you won’t be able to make more than four total repairs; you may need to purchase a second if you’re prone to punctured or torn tires.

Specs

  • Repair type: Plug and patch
  • Suitable for: All car tires, including off-road tires
  • Number of pieces: Not specified

Pros

  • Works for cars, trucks, trailers, or off-road vehicles
  • Includes 30 self-vulcanizing plugs
  • Comes with all necessary tools
  • Lightweight aluminum tool construction

Cons

  • Tire patches are for interior of tire
  • Punctures can be tricky to repair and seal

The Smittybilt Tire Repair Kit has it all. Whether you’re in need of a set of plugs to stop puncture leaks or want to patch up your tire from the inside to fix damage, this set includes everything you need. And there’s no rubber cement required to get the job done. Featuring an array of tools that includes lubricant, a folding knife, needle nose pliers, and a tire pressure gauge, you’ll get both interior tire batches and a set of self-vulcanizing plugs that bond with your tire’s rubber compound. This kit’s items are tough enough for car and truck use, but they’ll also work well for trailers and off-road vehicles. The entire kit is compact and lightweight, with tools made from aluminum so it’s easy to carry anywhere.

As with many other plug and puncture repair kits, this tire set comes with some challenges. Its tools and its plugs can be difficult to securely seal up. You’ll need hand strength and force to get the job done.

Our Verdict

The Rhino USA Tire Repair Kit is your best bet for fixing tire punctures on the road, with a set of highly versatile repair items and tools that can withstand wear once applied. However, if you’re looking for an affordable price and super speedy fixes, the Pittsburgh Automotive Radial Tire Patch Kit is another great value-rich pick that includes patches alone. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Tire Repair Kits

Before you grab any set of tire patches, know what qualities and components make for a quality tire repair kit. Here’s what to think about as you’re equipping your vehicle with a kit that’ll help you perform quick tire fixes. 

Types of Tire Repair Kits

Tire Patch Kits

Tire patches are simple; they’re pieces of rubber with adhesive backing. When your tire gets punctured or torn, you can stick a patch over the problem area to reseal the rubber. Patches can provide a strong, lasting seal, but they do have limitations. They require a bit more work to get in place, and they can’t be used for sidewall holes, big holes and punctures, or other not-straight, oddly located problem spots. 

Tire Plug Kits

Tire plugs are made for punctures and holes rather than tears, rips, or similar tire issues. Slim strips made out of leather and rubber compounds, tire plugs are inserted into a hole with a handy tool (which is usually included in the kit) to create a seal on the inside of the tire. Plugs are ideal if you’ve rolled over a nail, screw, or similarly sized item, as they can fix small holes. However, they can be tough to use correctly, and like patches, they have limitations when it comes to sidewall holes, flat tires, and bubbled areas of rubber.

All-in-One Kits

An all-in-one tire repair kit is exactly what it sounds like: A single solution that includes everything you need to both patch and plug your tires. These more expansive kits include tire plug strips and tools, plus tire patches. They can also include additional accessories meant to make roadside repairs easier and quicker. These are a great item to keep in your emergency kit. 

Pricing 

Tire repair kits are usually affordable. If you’re looking for patches that’ll repair smaller tires, such as tubeless bike tires, lawnmower tires, or even ATV and UTV tires, you can get a set of two to 10 patches for $2 to $15. Typically, these patches cost less than $10. For car tires, you’ll spend a little more; patches alone can run between $5 and $20. And if you want comprehensive tire repair, you can find all-in-one kits that include both patches and plugs, plus any tools you need to stop leaks or fix punctures, for $20 to $35. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Do tire repair kits ruin the tire?

A: As long as they’re used correctly and you follow the instructions, tire repair kits shouldn’t ruin your tire. Most of these products are meant to be a temporary fix for damaged tires, so you’re going to ultimately need to replace your tire in the long run. 

Q: Is a tire plug as good as a patch?

A: While tire plugs might seem more secure than a rubber patch you stick on, patches are actually considered the most durable repair option. Sure, plugs are a reliable fix, but tire repair patches last longer and tend to stay securely in place better.

Q: Can I drive a long distance with a plugged or patched tire?

A: Quick tire fixes aren’t meant to be used for long-distance driving. Whether you’ve applied a tire plug or tire patch, it’s best to only rely on these repairs for a few miles.

Q: How big of a hole can you patch in a tire?

A: Patches can safely cover holes up to a quarter-inch long in your tire. Anything bigger, and a quick patch fix likely won’t be as secure or hold in air as well.

stripe
stripe