We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›
Flat tires can be extremely frustrating; one little hole can immobilize your vehicle and cost money you weren’t planning on spending. Even if you bought a protection plan when you purchased your tires, you still have to get your car or truck to the shop. Fortunately, tire repair kits can get you back on the road relatively painlessly.
I’d bet most people on the road today can’t change a tire, and even fewer can repair a flat. That’s too bad because both jobs are easy and tire repair kits are very affordable (most of our picks cost less than $50). Tubeless tires are surprisingly easy to repair with basic tools and know-how. And next time you find a nail in your tire, you won’t panic.
The simplest tire repair kits only take minutes so you can get to the shop. If you have more time and can separate the damaged tire from its wheel, you can make a longer-lasting repair. We found the best tire repair kits spanning everything from a one-can solution to comprehensive kits ready for the most remote off-road adventures.
- Best Overall: Rhino USA 86-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- Best Budget: Slime Tire Repair
- Best for Frequent Repairs: Western Weld 65-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- Best Compact: Boulder Tools Tire Repair Kit
- Best Permanent Fix: Tech Tire Repair Products
How I Chose the Best Tire Repair Kits
To find the best tire repair kits out there, I started by focusing on products for tubeless tires. That covers cars, trucks, SUVS, trailers, ATVs, UTVs, and the vast majority of street-going motorcycles.
Since not everyone has the time or tools to do extensive tire repair, I included canned tire sealant that anyone can use without tools or experience. The majority of tire repair kits use some kind of rope-style plug, so I sought out some of the best ranging from small to large. Finally, I identified the kind of commercial-grade tire repair products that many professionals use so you can install a patch with the potential to last the life of your tire.
Finally, I put all my picks to use on a full-size automotive tire so you can not only see how they’re installed but also understand how they work inside the tire.
While these kits can get you back on the road, you should find a repair shop and get a permanent fix when you have the opportunity. Having a DIY-repaired tire on your lawn mower or UTV probably isn’t a big deal but your daily driver deserves professional attention.
Best Tire Repair Kits: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Rhino USA 86-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- Heavy-duty tools
- Valve repair components included
- Organized, hard-shell carrying case
- Comprehensive kit
- Excellent price for everything that’s included
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Fewer plugs than some kits
- Somewhat bulky
If there’s anything worse than getting a flat tire, it’s opening your repair kit to find out that you don’t have everything you need to fix it, after all. The Rhino USA tire repair kit covers all the bases with the essentials and all the accessory tools you need to get the job done.
Like most tire repair kits, this one uses sticky rope-style plugs. After using the kit’s pliers to remove whatever caused the flat, bore the hole out with the included rasp. This step is essential and it can take quite a bit of force. The included lubricant and T-handle make the job easier. Once the plug is inserted, use the included blade to cut it flush. All you need at that point is air, which you can monitor with the included air pressure gauge.
This kit also comes with tools and components to fix a faulty valve stem. If the core of a tire’s air valve goes bad, replacement is the only option and this kit has everything you need to do the job yourself.
The only thing I recommend that isn’t in this kit is a set of gloves. Tire repair is messy; do yourself a favor and throw in a pair of Mechanix gloves. You’ll end up with all the gear you need to keep your car, truck, or off-road vehicle rolling—all in a well-organized hard case.
Best Budget: Slime Tire Repair
- Flows through your tire’s valve stem
- Self-contained; just attach it and let it work
- Extremely compact and portable
- No tools required
- Aerosolized for easy application
- Easiest tire repair kit out there
- Requires compressed air
- Tire must quickly be reinflated and driven to seal
Slime is popular because it’s convenient, easy, and doesn’t require any tools (see how it works in Slime’s product demonstration video). Past versions needed to be applied through your valve stem after the core had been removed but this new formula passes through the valve so it’s as easy to use as possible.
Once you’ve got the Slime inside your tire, you’ll need to inflate it right away and drive a quarter mile. This will give the Slime a chance to spread evenly and seal your leak. If you don’t have access to compressed air, don’t start the process because you’ll be wasting your can of sealant.
Slime’s convenience comes at a cost: It’s a very short-term fix (Slime recommends this particular product for emergency use only). The liquid sealant isn’t as robust as a rope plug or mushroom patch. According to my local tire techs, it’s also water-based which means it turns to slush and sluffs off the tire’s inner wall in cold climates.
Slime has its place and it can get you out of a bind (many new cars come with it instead of a spare tire) but your first stop after using it should be a tire repair shop that can provide you with a long-term solution.
Best for Frequent Repairs: Western Weld 65-Piece Tire Repair Kit
- Can repair 60 punctures
- Self-vulcanizing plugs create a strong seal
- Full-size, heavy-duty tools
- Most plugs of any kit here
- Solid construction
- Hard case
- No valve repair components
Western Weld is another name that you’ll find all over automotive repair and off-roading blogs and forums. This American-made kit isn’t quite as comprehensive as the one from Rhino USA but it has the competition beat in the number of plugs it includes (60, and they’re self-vulcanizing for a solid connection to your tire’s rubber).
The tools in this kit are basic but they get the job done. Its full-size T-handles are a must. You’ll have to provide your own pliers and blade, and it doesn’t come with any parts to repair a broken valve stem.
The Western Weld rasp was the easiest of the bunch to use because it’s a little smaller in diameter. That might limit this particular tool if you have a larger puncture, but anything much wider might not be reparable anyway. The inserting tool is a bit smaller, too, so it really doesn’t make much of a difference and this kit requires less physical force than most.
A more extensive kit is nice on the road, but this is a perfect repair set to keep around the house. When you have access to all your tools, what you really need are the plugs themselves and this kit has them in spades. If you have a tractor, lawn mower, or UTV that’s particularly good at locating loose nails, this is the kit for you.
Best Compact: Boulder Tools Tire Repair Kit
- Everything you need for a plug-style repair
- Quality metal tools provided
- MOLLE pouch for convenient storage
- Fits on your motorcycle, ATV, UTV, or lawn tractor
- Includes pliers, a blade, and an air pressure gauge
- Repairs broken valves
- Small tools offer less leverage
- Needs to be unpacked to access everything
The Boulder Tools tire repair kit made is the best compact tire repair kit because it includes everything you need in a small package that you can easily pack in your trunk, glove box, or motorcycle panniers.
The soft case is about half the size of the next-smallest kit, making it the most portable plug-style repair kit we tested. It’s not that much bigger than a can of Slime and I’d much rather rely on this style of repair off-road.
The MOLLE pouch easily fits everything and attaches to compatible storage panels or roadside repair bags nicely. If you’re into overlanding or tactical gear, this is a perfect addition to your loadout.
In addition to 15 plugs, the necessary rasp and insert tool, and a jar of lubricant, this kit comes with pliers, a razor blade, four valve-stem repair sets, and a tire pressure gauge. Kudos to Boulder Tools for including full-size tools in this compact tire repair kit. Wrestling with a flat tire can be challenging and I wouldn’t want to attempt it with flimsy, undersized tools.
Best Permanent Fix: Tech Tire Repair Products
- Chemically bonds to your tire’s rubber
- Seals the hole inside and out
- Comes with 14 units to repair punctures up to 1/4-inch in diameter
- Longest-lasting tire repair
- Can provide a professional-grade fix
- Affordable and longer-lasting than other tire repair methods
- Tire must be separated from the wheel
- More complicated process
Rope plugs and Slime can save you in a pinch, but you’ll need something more secure for a long-lasting flat tire repair. Tech mushroom-style repair units are possibly the closest you can get to a professional repair at home.
This is a job for the garage or workshop rather than the side of the road because you have to separate the tire from the wheel to use this product. Once you clear the puncture and open it with a rasp (not included), thoroughly clean the inside of the tire, apply a coat of vulcanizing fluid to the repair unit, install it, and apply security coat over the patch for an air-tight seal inside the tire. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to mount it on the wheel.
Unlike the other kits on this list, you’ll have to assemble this one yourself. Each component is sold separately and you’ll be responsible for coming up with a good storage solution. In addition to the repair units, vulcanizing fluid, and security coat, you’ll need pliers to remove whatever punctured your tire and a rasp to prep the hole. Some gloves and eye protection are a good idea, too, since you’ll be dealing with liquid chemicals.
The biggest risk with this style of repair is user error. Cleaning the tire’s inner surface so the product can properly seal to the rubber is an essential step. Be careful not to pull too hard anytime you use a mushroom-style repair; if you separate the patch from the stem, you’ll compromise its effectiveness. Carefully follow Tech’s instructions for installation and chemical cure times.
Do it right and you’ve got a quality repair on your hands. Do it wrong and you could find yourself repeating the process in short order.
How to Choose the Best Tire Repair Kit
Know Your Limits
Some tire repair kits do a better job than others but a stronger repair requires a lot more work. If you’re handy and have time (and tools) to remove the tire from the wheel, you might be able to permanently repair a flat tire. If you’re on the go and need to stop a slow leak, a can of Slime might be sufficient.
Get The Right Kind of Repair Kit
Not all tires are the same. If you see a repair kit that’s super inexpensive and compact, it’s probably a set of patches for inner tubes. That can fix a tire on your bicycle but your car has tubeless tires that require a different kind of repair.
Know What Tools You Need
Most of the best tire repair kits come with all the tools you need to fix a flat tire. In some cases, you might need to order individual chemicals or tools separately. Make sure you have everything you need before you hit the road.
Don’t Forget the Air
Tire repair kits can stop a leak but they can’t inflate your tire. If you make the repair at home, you can drive on a spare to the nearest gas station and use their air pump. If you plan on using your kit for roadside repairs, remember to get a small air compressor.
Practice Makes Perfect
Repairing a tire takes skill, and the time to learn is not when you’re broken down in the middle of nowhere in the dark. Experiment on an old tire so you can work the kinks out in a low-stress environment. Pick a kit with plenty of plugs or patches so you’ll have enough to practice.
Q: Do tire repair kits really work?
Yes, tire repair kits work when you use them correctly. Get the right kind (use a tubeless tire repair kit for a car or truck) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a quality repair. If you’re repairing a tire on your primary vehicle, it’s a good idea to get it looked at by a professional at the earliest opportunity.
Punctures greater than 1/4-inch in diameter and damage to the sidewall or shoulder of the tire can’t be patched safely. Unfortunately, if that’s where your problem is you’ll need a new tire.
Q: Which is better, a tire repair kit or a spare tire?
A full-size spare is preferable to a patched tire as long as it’s not more than six years old, in poor condition, or a different size from your other tires. If your car has a donut-style spare or your full-size spare isn’t in good shape, patching your damaged tire might be a better alternative.
Q: Is a tire plug kit a permanent fix?
Tire plugs can last quite a while but a professional repair will offer the best long-term solution. Plugs will eventually allow water and road salt into the puncture. Since your tire’s inner belts are made of steel, that’s a recipe for trouble.
Q: How long can you drive with a patched tire?
A properly-applied patch can last as long as your tire’s normal serviceable life. Plug-style repairs are a temporary fix meant to get you back on the road so you can find a professional tire repair shop. Your experience will depend on factors including the quality of the repair and external environmental factors.
Final Thoughts on the Best Tire Repair Kits
There’s an old saying: Two is one and one is none. Even if you have a spare tire, it’s possible to get multiple flats and you can find yourself stranded and in serious trouble if you’re not prepared. Many vehicles have a donut-style spare tire that can’t be used on the highway or handle a heavy load. One of the best tire repair kits can also save you money. A proper DIY repair can mean the difference between a few minutes of work and a few hundred dollars for a new tire.