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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So during my road trip I got my first flat in Monroe Louisiana where all of the swamp people live. It was a 4" piece of nail. Everything was closed.

Totally unprepared and it could have went smoother but I was stupid. I got a sucky plug kit from a gas station and was able to plug it. If you've never plugged a tire before I suggest you practice. I gave up twice and called the only useless towing guy that was open. "We can only fix tires if you have a spare." I figured I had no choice so I tried again and got the plug in on the third shot. By the end of it I was bleeding...I then used the repair kit to inflate the tire. I didn't want to use the sealant but because of the way it was designed I had to use it to get the tire inflated.

Made it from Louisiana to Memphis. I will not be replacing this tire until it goes bald. I don't care what anyone says about plugs being a temp fix....Too much blood and sweat went into fixing it.

Lessons learned: It is better to be overprepared than underprepared for a flat. Get a jack, big hammer, tire wrench, and good plug kit in the car. Maybe look at buying a real spare tire. Get AAA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also I will prob get my own air compressor. I have a crappy dollar store air compressor that seems to work better than the one Toyota supplied. It filled it up to 30psi and seemed to struggle getting to 35psi. I got impatient and used the gas station's air compressor to get the proper psi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
And the jack and tire wrench would be to take the tire off to make getting the plug in easier. It was brutal laying on my back while trying to drive it in with a limited amount of space.

Edited: Also need wire cutters to pull the object out and a blade to trim the plug if needed. Maybe also a 1/8" drill to make the hole a little bigger? I don't think making the hole bigger is a good idea though. There are many ways to skin a cat I guess.
 

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Also I will prob get my own air compressor. I have a crappy dollar store air compressor that seems to work better than the one Toyota supplied. It filled it up to 30psi and seemed to struggle getting to 35psi. I got impatient and used the gas station's air compressor to get the proper psi.
I carry a little cordless Ryobi one that works with one of the many batteries I have. Also good for pumping up bike tires, and has a digital gauge.
 

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Also I will prob get my own air compressor. I have a crappy dollar store air compressor that seems to work better than the one Toyota supplied. It filled it up to 30psi and seemed to struggle getting to 35psi. I got impatient and used the gas station's air compressor to get the proper psi.
I got Home Depot's Husky 12 V air compressor. It seems higher quality and faster than the Harbor Freight 12 V compressor I had previously. Husky 12-Volt Inflator HD12A - The Home Depot
 

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Addendum. I have a slow leak in my driver rear tire (which has had a nail for months). My TPMS light just came on. I timed the Husky 12 V compressor for you. With the van running on my 3rd gen Sienna, it took just 55 seconds to fill the tire from 28 to 35 psi. Not bad at all for a portable air compressor! It doesn't sound like it's struggling at all. And I've used it to fill my bicycle tires to 85 psi previously with no issues.

And the jack and tire wrench would be to take the tire off to make getting the plug in easier. It was brutal laying on my back while trying to drive it in with a limited amount of space.

Edited: Also need wire cutters to pull the object out and a blade to trim the plug if needed. Maybe also a 1/8" drill to make the hole a little bigger? I don't think making the hole bigger is a good idea though. There are many ways to skin a cat I guess.
Does you kit have a reamer? Those are designed to make the hole larger for the plug. My intention is to get the Stop and Go 1085 mushroom plug kit. From what I've read, mushroom plugs are the most reliable plugs you can get. The only thing more reliable is demounting the tire to have the inside patched. Relating to which I should mention that Discount Tire/America's Tire will patch your tire, from the inside with an actual patch, for free, including spin balancing, even if you didn't buy the tire from them. There's really no reason I should be driving around with two different tires having nails in them except they don't leak much if at all, so I've just been too lazy to go to Discount Tire, especially because I'm going to be getting a set of replacement tires in about a month.

The Stop and Go kit comes with a small blade for trimming the plug. Add a pliers (not wire cutters) to pull the object out. You'll also need a pliers to pull the plug after inserted to make sure it's seated properly. Again I haven't use it, but from the videos I've seen it appears way easier to use than the sticky rope plug kit. I tried (a cheap) one years ago, and the tire still leaked, so I never used it again.

Not all tires can be patched, if you have sidewall damage don't try to plug that, and no shop will patch that. Too dangerous. I once got a wheel weight embedded in my tire, which was too big to have the tire patched. Cases like these are ones where only a spare tire will work.

Lessons learned: It is better to be overprepared than underprepared for a flat. Get a jack, big hammer, tire wrench, and good plug kit in the car. Maybe look at buying a real spare tire. Get AAA.
I like a breaker bar over any tire wrench I've seen. Pair an 18-24" 1/2" drove breaker bar with the appropriate size deep socket. I prefer 6 point sockets, but 12 point sockets are fine too. Some lug nuts require 12 point sockets. You will greatly appreciate how easy it makes to loosen the lug nuts.

For hammer, I've found something that works way better than a hammer, but it requires a spare tire. Works well with a doughnut spare, full size may be tricky. Loosen the lug nuts a couple turns but don't remove. Stand with your back to the vehicle, right next to the tire that won't come off, legs spread apart slightly. Grab the spare tire, and hold perpendicular to the vehicle. Line up with the side of the tire on the car. Raise it in front of you with arms outstretched, then swing it downwards between your legs nice and fast. It hits the side of the tire and if you got enough speed loosens the stickiest wheels I've had to remove. The rubber tire on the spare is like a giant soft blow hammer, so you can't damage the wheel.
 

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From the context, you don't have the OEM spare. Here are two of the threads where the Gen 4 drivers discuss installing the conversion kit. The kit comes with the OEM jack. I installed this kit and it was not very complicated or expensive to do so ($800.00 with the OEM donut).


I am a worrier, so I carry TWO tire inflators of the battery type, and I am contemplating adding a third, manual pump for longer trips. Also I have two wrench kits with sockets, one of them with the torque setting, on board at all times. Because this kind of accidents tends to happen at night and in bad weather, a collection of flashlights/camping lights and a thick blanket are always on board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Addendum. I have a slow leak in my driver rear tire (which has had a nail for months). My TPMS light just came on. I timed the Husky 12 V compressor for you. With the van running on my 3rd gen Sienna, it took just 55 seconds to fill the tire from 28 to 35 psi. Not bad at all for a portable air compressor! It doesn't sound like it's struggling at all. And I've used it to fill my bicycle tires to 85 psi previously with no issues.


Does you kit have a reamer? Those are designed to make the hole larger for the plug. My intention is to get the Stop and Go 1085 mushroom plug kit. From what I've read, mushroom plugs are the most reliable plugs you can get. The only thing more reliable is demounting the tire to have the inside patched. Relating to which I should mention that Discount Tire/America's Tire will patch your tire, from the inside with an actual patch, for free, including spin balancing, even if you didn't buy the tire from them. There's really no reason I should be driving around with two different tires having nails in them except they don't leak much if at all, so I've just been too lazy to go to Discount Tire, especially because I'm going to be getting a set of replacement tires in about a month.

The Stop and Go kit comes with a small blade for trimming the plug. Add a pliers (not wire cutters) to pull the object out. You'll also need a pliers to pull the plug after inserted to make sure it's seated properly. Again I haven't use it, but from the videos I've seen it appears way easier to use than the sticky rope plug kit. I tried (a cheap) one years ago, and the tire still leaked, so I never used it again.

Not all tires can be patched, if you have sidewall damage don't try to plug that, and no shop will patch that. Too dangerous. I once got a wheel weight embedded in my tire, which was too big to have the tire patched. Cases like these are ones where only a spare tire will work.


I like a breaker bar over any tire wrench I've seen. Pair an 18-24" 1/2" drove breaker bar with the appropriate size deep socket. I prefer 6 point sockets, but 12 point sockets are fine too. Some lug nuts require 12 point sockets. You will greatly appreciate how easy it makes to loosen the lug nuts.

For hammer, I've found something that works way better than a hammer, but it requires a spare tire. Works well with a doughnut spare, full size may be tricky. Loosen the lug nuts a couple turns but don't remove. Stand with your back to the vehicle, right next to the tire that won't come off, legs spread apart slightly. Grab the spare tire, and hold perpendicular to the vehicle. Line up with the side of the tire on the car. Raise it in front of you with arms outstretched, then swing it downwards between your legs nice and fast. It hits the side of the tire and if you got enough speed loosens the stickiest wheels I've had to remove. The rubber tire on the spare is like a giant soft blow hammer, so you can't damage the wheel.
I figure the hammer also to drive the plug tool in or take the wheels off if it is rusted to the hub. Steels wheels tend to do this. In hindsight I should have just turned the rear left wheel so that the hole was pointing towards the rear bumper instead of under doors. That way I can kick the tool in with my feet. Again I was caught in my emotions and did some stupid stuff. Should have worn some gloves or something. I'm decently mechanically inclined...I did my own clutch work on my project car.
 

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I figure the hammer also to drive the plug tool in or take the wheels off if it is rusted to the hub.
Yeah I figured it was for the wheels. I'm not sure I'd try to drive a plug in with a hammer. If it doesn't go in, you probably need to ream the hole out more first. Also check out that mushroom tool. It compresses a rubber plug in a tool that's smaller than the plug itself, so it should be easy to insert. Or at least a lot easier than the sticky rope plugs.

Pics or it didn't happen.
Okay, I'll bite. 😂

Front and rear tires, respectively, as of tonight. The front I noticed the nail maybe two months ago. It leaks absolutely no detectable amount of air, the pressure always matches the two tires that don't have nails. Rear tire leaks very slowly. Noticed it while putting the hitch on my van, after driving on wet roads and heard it hissing. It's been in there since early May, at least. Probably even longer than that.
Eye Wood Automotive tire Pest Insect

Automotive tire Handwriting Tread Wood Rim
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unrelated but I also drove it for the first time through the mountains. It was a scenic route called the Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee... definitely a nice drive.

The hybrid drivetrain did great but it does makes some interesting noises when engine braking going down steep grades. I'm guessing it shuts the engine off and the traction motor spins at 100% to discharge the batteries. Reminds me of the snowpiercer movie. I guess the energy has to go somewhere...
 

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The hybrid drivetrain did great but it does makes some interesting noises when engine braking going down steep grades. I'm guessing it shuts the engine off and the traction motor spins at 100% to discharge the batteries. Reminds me of the snowpiercer movie. I guess the energy has to go somewhere...
Yes, the energy does have to go somewhere. When going down hills, it'll use regenerative breaking to charge the batteries. But once the battery is full, you can't use the motors to slow the vehicle anymore. Well, you could, but you'd need a giant resistor bank to burn up the energy. This would be really large, and add cost, and it's unneeded, because you can use engine braking. This is why the engine gets so loud. Once the batteries are full, it stops using the motors to slow the van, and instead starts spinning the engine with the fuel supply to the engine cut off. This is why the engine gets so loud. It's the same idea as downshifting in a normal ICE car when going down a hill to reduce the amount of brakes you need to use. In both cases, you're using the engine to slow the car to take the load off the brakes to reduce brake wear, and more importantly, avoid brake fade and the inability to brake caused by overheated brakes. This is why on mountain roads you'll see signs telling you to downshift, because overheated brakes on a very long downhill are definitely a hazard.

 

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Just last year I finally got into plugging my own tires. I had an old kit that the plug insert tool did not have a space at the bottom (it was on the side) to release the plug. I modified it and cut the bottom of the needle off. I have done 4 plugs so far and none have leaked. I do take the tires off to plug them as it is much easier. I also have a Ryobi 18V air compressor in the car. I almost never got nails in my tires in the past, but the last few years it has really picked up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just last year I finally got into plugging my own tires. I had an old kit that the plug insert tool did not have a space at the bottom (it was on the side) to release the plug.
Pretty much what it was doing with the kit I used. It was a pain to stick in the hole and it kept on pulling out the plug...So I awled the crap out of it with the tool to widen the hole...Not as easy as it seems. I had to hold the plug in with the awl tool while pulling the plug tool out. My Dad says he just pushes the tool all the way in and pull it back out and cuts it.

Supposedly the increase in road construction is giving people a lot of flats....My body still hurts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Also, the good thing about the plug kit was that I was able to drive at a normal speed 1000 miles all the way home. If I only had a donut or the Toyota fixaflat system I would have had to spend a night at a hotel and wait for the tire shop to open. Some people don't think it is a permanent repair but I was fine. I kept an eye on the tpms readings which was very handy tbh. I had a tire "fixed" at the tire shop one time and they did the same thing. They did not patch it from the inside like I thought they would do.

I usually carry a plug kit but I've been complacent. I figure Toyota knows what they are doing with spare tire kits. Lol. I think you are fine if you are near the city but if you take road trips through the country you need to be prepared.
 

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That’s why I want to buy the Stop and Go mushroom plug kit. Plugging, if possible, will be my primary solution. The donut is a backup of the tire cannot be patched to allow me to limp home or to a tire shop if I’m on a trip and cannot drive that far on the donut.
 

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That’s why I want to buy the Stop and Go mushroom plug kit. Plugging, if possible, will be my primary solution. The donut is a backup of the tire cannot be patched to allow me to limp home or to a tire shop if I’m on a trip and cannot drive that far on the donut.
If your trips don't require you to pack every single inch inside, here's my take on spare.


I got my first flat on Sienna a month back. It was Saturday 6:30 PM. We were out of cellphone area (lake Moomaw, SW VA). With this, I was able to continue our trip and drive 250 miles back home next day, instead of looking for a tire shop. (We had 2 other vans in our group so we weren't really stranded per say. My friends were a big help in inflating my spare and putting it on too.)

FWIW, $110 buys me a full size tire+rim in my neighborhood. My friend who has an older sienna got one for him too last week.
 

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If your trips don't require you to pack every single inch inside, here's my take on spare.


I got my first flat on Sienna a month back. It was Saturday 6:30 PM. We were out of cellphone area (lake Moomaw, SW VA). With this, I was able to continue our trip and drive 250 miles back home next day, instead of looking for a tire shop. (We had 2 other vans in our group so we weren't really stranded per say. My friends were a big help in inflating my spare and putting it on too.)

FWIW, $110 buys me a full size tire+rim in my neighborhood. My friend who has an older sienna got one for him too last week.
They pretty much will, as I am in the planning stages of a campervan conversion. Carrying a spare of any sort in the vehicle will reduce space space which will be at a premium for other things. I have a FWD 3rd gen, so my doughnut spare hangs under the van under the passenger 2nd row seats, taking up zero room inside the van. If the spare mount could fit a full-sized spare, I'd replace it for a full size spare, but I'm unwilling to trade interior space simply to carry a full sized spare when my under-van doughnut and a tire patch kit will cover most tire incidents.

If I eventually go on a trip where I decide it's remote enough on rough enough roads to justify a full sized spare, then I'll probably throw a spare on a hitch mounted rack.
 
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