2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Tire Patch Rewind
November 04, 2011
Let's back up a week or so in the life of our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT, when it suffered a flat tire at the hands of a sharp and pointy screw.
A couple of curious readers wanted to know how it was repaired. Plug? Patch? I said both.
It's a two-in-one plug-patch, a "platch" if you will, and the folks at Stokes Tire Pros let me have a look at one. A plug-patch such as this is what the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) wants everyone to use when repairing punctures.
They come in at least two sizes that I could see, 1/8" and 1/4", selected to approximate the diameter of the offending nail, bolt or screw.
After dismounting the tire and removing the object, they use a carbide drill bit of appropriate diameter to clean up the hole from the inside. Next they buff up the area and apply a coating of special rubber cement like they do with any other internal patch.
The backing is then peeled off before the pointy end is inserted into the hole. That protruding bit of metal helps guide it through and makes a good handle to pull on once it reaches the outside, but after that it's pulled free and discarded. The inner face of the patch is then "stitched" in place with one of those pointy wheel thingys (called a stiching tool) in the usual way.
That's the gist of it, anyway.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing