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Does It Work: Slime Tire Plug - DrivingScene

Categorized | Reviews

Does It Work: Slime Tire Plug

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Adam Kaslikowski

Getting a flat tire is never fun. The offending puncture brings your life to an immediate halt while you fit your spare or get towed. Either way, you’re stuck with a tire that you’ll likely have to pay to get patched. Given that we now live in the future, there are all sorts of products that promise to help us fix our own tires and get us back on the road and off our “donut” spares. One such product is Slime’s Tire Plug Kit, which promises to fix any puncture in your tire tread. Because I’m a man of science, I diligently drove around construction sites and junk yards until I picked up a screw right on the crown of my tire so I could test this product. Did Slime’s kit fix me up or did I have to take the tire into a tire shop? Keep reading to find out.

After swapping on my spare tire tire and getting back to my garage, I examined the offending screw and found that it had entered my tire at a 45 degree angle right between two of my tread lines. I wrenched out the screw and opened up the repair kit I bought for $9.61. The package comes with a rasp for expanding and cleaning up the puncture, rubber slugs for inserting into the tire, a tool for wedging the slugs into place, and rubber cement for sealing up the job.

The instructions on the back of the package were clear and concise and I dove into the job. Using the rasp to make the puncture more uniform was actually much more difficult than I anticipated. With no air pressure holding the tire walls up, every time I put force behind the tool the tire collapsed on itself. Compounding this problem was the fact that a lot of force was required because I was attempting to displace the steel belts that are laid under the rubber. With the force required to move this steel and the tire collapsing on itself, this part of the job quickly devolved into brute force and desperation. But rasping the hole was nothing compared to the difficulty of forcing the slug in there.

First, I took one of the five included slugs and carefully wedged it into the tuning-fork looking tool that is also included. Once the slug is centered inside the gap in the tool, I generously spread the included rubber cement all over the plug. Now I tried to force it into the hole I just finished rasping.

The rubber slugs are extremely malleable you must be careful not to twist the tool too much when trying to wedge it in. Once again, the tire kept collapsing and the tool plus the slug is MUCH bigger than the rasping tool, so it takes a fair amount of pushing and aggravation to put the slug 2/3 of the way into the tire. After I’d sweated, cursed, given up, and finally triumphed in placing the slug, I quickly and violently jerked up on the tool which is supposed to come out while leaving the slug behind. It took me a couple tries, but this finally happened according to plan.

I got slug in place and trimmed off any excess that was poking out above the tread, and because I’m into overkill I applied more rubber cement. My motto is “any job worth doing is worth overdoing.” The instructions on the package call for adding air immediately, but since it’s been below freezing where I live I didn’t feel comfortable letting the glue try to dry outside. Instead, I brought the tire into my house to stay warm overnight. Yes, there was a dirty tire propped up in my nice clean kitchen, no the ladyfriend wasn’t pleased.

The next morning, I pumped up the tire to the recommended 26psi and dabbed some soapy water over the patch site. Mercifully, no bubbles appeared so I removed the spare tire and threw the patched one back onto my car. It’s now been a few days and I’ve traveled on the tire around town and for hour-long excursions out of the city and the psi is holding just fine.

All told, overnight drying notwithstanding, the whole process took me 15-20 minutes to fix my tire. Does the Slime Tire Plug Kit work? Yes. Clearly this product isn’t for roadside repairs (unless you carry compressor…), but if your local tire shop charges more than $9 to patch a tire, I would go with the Slime Kit. Until my tire suffers a catastrophic blowout at the patch site, I’m going to recommend this to friends and the internet alike.

– Adam Kaslikowski