Product Review:
Safety Seal Offroad Tire Repair Kit

Http:// Short Cuts
Author: Joe Micciche August, 2000

The Safety Seal Offroad Tire Repair Kit is a complete tire puncture repair kit in a neat little package.

At some point, we're all likely to puncture a tire - and obviously traveling offroad increases the chances exponentially. To be prepared, every 4-wheeler should always carry a full-size inflated spare tire, a stock vehicle jack, and a Hi-Lift for that time a tire has to be changed in the backcountry. For those equipped with an onboard air system, a tire repair kit can turn a blown-out tire into a repair which can be completed in minutes without removing the tire from the vehicle. And for every 4-wheeler's convenience, North Shore Laboratories wraps a complete kit into a tidy package called the Safety Seal Offroad Tire Repair Kit.

The Safety Seal kit includes everything needed for puncture repair: two heavy-duty needles for dealing with the thick carcasses of mud-terrain tires; a probe for cleaning up the hole; lubricant for the needle so it can be driven through the tire more easily; 3 dozen plugs; and two razor blades. The kit also includes an allen wrench and extra set screw for the needle and probe tool. All of the components are top-quality pieces manufactured for durability when working on the rugged tires found on four wheel drive vehicles.

Note: Both North Shore Labs and 4x4Wire do not recommend that Safety Seal nor any other product be used for permanent repairs on punctured sidewalls due to the stress and heat placed on sidewalls during driving. Additionally, the North Shore Labs instructions included with the kit do not recommend using the repairs on punctures over 1/4". Also, keep in mind that the Rubber Manufacturers Association of America recommends that: "No tubeless tire ... be considered permanently repaired unless it has been dismounted, inspected, and repaired from the inside/out by a trained professional".

While the needle and tools are heavy-duty, what makes the Safety Seal kit unique in the market are the self-vulcanizing plugs. These plugs are engineered to be permanent repairs to tires, not just patches to get off the trail or to get home, and they do not require any glue or cement to set. Once inserted into the hole and allowed to cure, the plugs chemically bond with the surrounding rubber compound to form a permanent seal, all without damaging any steel belts in the tires: the plugs are made from the same compound used in the tires.

Using the kit is as easy as any other tire plug. I had the opportunity to repair a pinhole puncture in a mud-terrain tire - so the first step is to locate the actual hole, and remove whatever caused the puncture, then run the lubed probe in to "find" the contour of the hole.

After probing the hole, insert a plug into the needle and lube the needle tip. Drive it into the tire until the needle handle is flush against the sleeve.

Next, insert a plug into the needle, and lube the needle tip from the container provided in the kit. Drive the plug all of the way into the tire. Hold the sleeve firmly against the tire, and pull the needle straight out. This sets the plug.

Prior to reinflating the tire, trim away excess plug material.

Once the plug is set, trim away excess material from the tire surface and reinflate the tire. It is then ready for continued use.

While the Safety Seal kit may cost a bit more than the standard auto-parts store kits, the completeness of the kit, the quality of the tools and particularly the plugs makes it worthwhile. Knowing that the repairs are permanent and the plug won't wick, along with having spare parts for a tire repair kit, makes this product another indispensable item for backcountry exploring.



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