Related (but more general): What steps should I follow to patch a tube?

I have done this more than a hundred times, but am still not sure what are the correct steps.

Here they show to put glue on the tube, peel the aluminum cover of the patch, patch the tube, wait for the glue to set, remove the transparent cover, ready.

I have had success with not waiting at all - remove tube, patch, put back in, let the pressure push the patch against the tire.

I have had success patching without removing the transparent peel.

I have had also tried putting glue only on the tube or both on the tube and the patch. Waiting a couple of minutes after applying the glue and before sticking the patch or not waiting.

So, what are the precise steps to apply a patch kit, from the moment the tire is in one's hands and the hole is located, to the moment the pumping up?

enter image description here

  • @DWGKNZ, yea, I linked to it as well. That question is focused on the whole process, and doesn't go into details as to how to apply the patch correctly. As you can see, even very reputable sources can contradict one another. So I reckon this precise topic deserves a question on it's own.
    – Vorac
    Aug 28, 2013 at 8:53
  • Sorry, reading of an iPhone and missed that!
    – DWGKNZ
    Aug 28, 2013 at 9:25
  • the transparent peel is there to avoid having all the patches sticking together, which will lead to damage if you try to separate them again Aug 28, 2013 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


From the experts at Park Tools:

Patching an Inner Tube Using a Vulcanizing Patch Kit

Glue type patches require the application of a thin layer of self-vulcanizing glue on the tube before the patch is applied.

To fix a flat, first locate the hole in the inner tube. If possible, re-inflate inner tube to at least twice the normal width. Inspect for air leaks by holding tube close to the sensitive skin of lips or by holding tube near your ear to hear leaks. Move the tube around its circumference. If you find one hole, keep looking for more. Inspect inside the tire for sharp objects or glass. Also inspect the rim strip in the rim. It should not have any holes around the spoke holes and should fully cover the holes

If you plan to repair the inner tube, use a marking pen to mark hole. Make four marks, one to each side of hole. Do not mark close to hole, as the mark may be sanded off.

1.Locate hole marked during inspection, as described above.

2.Using fine emery cloth or sandpaper, lightly abrade area around hole. Abrade an area larger than patch size.

3.When possible, clean area with alcohol and allow it to dry completely.

4.Open glue tube and puncture seal. Apply thin coat of glue and spread evenly around hole area. Spread area of glue larger than patch size. Use a clean finger or back of patch to spread glue evenly in a thin layer. Do not apply too much glue. Glue layer should not appear "glopped" on.

5.Allow glue to dry. This may take several minutes. Test by touching only perimeter area of glue, not where patch will contact.

6.Peel patch from patch backing. Handle patch only by edges.

7.Center patch to hole and lay patch on tube.

8.Apply pressure to patch, especially at edges.

9.If possible, maintain pressure for several minutes.

10.Leave clear plastic cover on patch, do not peel up.

11.Mount tube inside tire and inflate.

Also Sheldon Brown has a how to guide.

  • Hmm, Sheldon doesn't comment on the transparent front cover. Also, he does not advice to wait and apply pressure after patching, in contrast to Park Tools. And Park Tool's advice about the front cover directly contradicts the video in my post. What is the ultimate algorithm?
    – Vorac
    Aug 28, 2013 at 8:40
  • We prefer answers on this site to be self contained. Please consider summing up the information that you linked to. That way, if the links die, the answer will still be valuable.
    – jimchristie
    Aug 28, 2013 at 14:15

I generally leave the transparent plastic on, to help prevent the patch from sticking to the inside of the tire. However, sometimes it just "wants" to come off, so I peel it off. (I often use talc or roadside dust on the patched area to help prevent sticking, if the plastic won't do it, and I don't want to wait several more minutes for the glue to set.)

Re the glue set time, I've found it best to not wait for it to be completely dry before applying the patch. (And it's only necessary to put glue on the tube, not the patch. Though I have put it on the patch in a few odd circumstances I can't fully recall just now.) If the glue is dry enough when the patch is installed, and if you're reasonably gentle, you can test-inflate and re-install the tube without additional waiting.


  1. Locate hole
  2. Important: Note carefully where it is. If you have a pencil or pen, put 4 marks about an inch away from the hole in 4 directions, so you'll know where the hole is. (Don't mark directly where the patch will be, as this may interfere with adhesion, and try to stay outside the glue area, as the glue may obliterate the marks.)
  3. Apply a THIN layer of glue over and around the hole, spreading it out to at least 1/2" beyond the size of the patch. (If using a "used" glue tube, it's generally best to "waste" a few drops of glue on the ground before using, as the stuff in the end of the tube will be lumpy.)
  4. Wait until MOST of the glue turns from glossy to dull. This should only take a minute or two if you've not applied too much glue. I've found that if I wait too long (5-10 minutes) adhesion is not as good.
  5. Remove the foil backer and apply the patch, centered carefully over the hole.
  6. Press the patch into the tube. Lay the tube on a flat surface and work back and forth (and up and down) on the patch with your fingernail or the end of a tire iron. Be thorough and press fairly hard.
  7. Test-inflate slightly, just enough that the tube begins to expand. Examine the patch to be sure there are no loose edges (though a tiny loose spot or two along the edge is fairly common and not a problem). Make sure there aren't any more holes.
  8. Deflate the tube just enough that it will easily fit back in the tire. (A tube is easier to install correctly if partly inflated.)
  9. Reinstall in the tire, starting with the stem. Take care that the tube is not twisted or bunched up anywhere, and be gentle with the new patch (which will take 30 minutes or so to fully "cure").
  10. Reseat the tire bead and reinflate.
  • 1
    +1 for point number 4 for which I've always ignored the instructions, for reasons of impatience normally, but it does work well. Aug 28, 2013 at 13:41
  • Both you and @DWGKNZ advise to install the tube roughly immediately after the patch is installed. I have always ignored this advice (instead clamping in a vice for 24 hours) and always gotten bad results due to the tube expanding when inflated; the patch - not.
    – Vorac
    Sep 4, 2020 at 10:21

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