Sometimes when you blow a tire it can be a real hassle. Replace or repair? What is the best option? Can I fix it quickly? Or will that cause another blowout? Well, today it is very easy and simple to fix a flat tire. But what is the safe and right way to fix one? Is it safe to drive with a plugged tire?
Yes, it is safe to drive with a plugged tire. Repair shops will even warranty a plugged tire. Though the warranties would be limited. A plugged tire is not designed to be a permanent fix. It is designed to get you to a shop to replace the damaged tire. A tire patch or replacement is a safer and long term solution for a blown tire.
But what do people normally do? A plugged tire is usually used for thousands of miles after the repair. If the repair is done right it can give a tire new life that lasts for months or even years.
If you can, replacing the tire is the best and safest move. A new tire always performs better and safer than a plugged tire. Especially a tire that has been plugged more than once. Day to day driving will not demand a lot and you can get away with a plugged tire for a more long term solution, though this should be done at your discretion and it will not be covered under any type of warranty.
Is A Tire Plug Permanent?
No. A tire plug is designed to fix an inflatable tire that will last long enough to get you somewhere to replace the entire tire. A tire plug can be permanent though it will not function 100%. That said, it is designed as a temporary fix. Though, most people use this fix until they replace their tires.
If the plug is on the tread one inch or more away from the sidewall, most auto shops will warranty the fix. The warranty could be good enough where it will last until the tires need to be replaced.
If the tire plug is put on a brand new tire you may need to replace the damaged prematurely or replace the tire plug within months or years. I always recommend replacing a plugged tire as soon as you can.
Can Tire Plugs Go Bad?
The process of plugging a tire is crude. You rip out the nail or whatever punctured your tire. Then you rough up the hole with a sharpened tool. Then you insert a very goopy and sticky piece of rubber-like substance that sticks to everything it touches. This goopy mess does a great job sticking to the tire and closing the hole.
Though many factors can cause the tire plug to go bad. The tire or plug can dry out. IT can get damaged further. The hole can open more. A piece of metal may be stuck inside the tire and cause havoc. The sticky gooey plug can attract other things that can stab your tire. Again. Any number of things can cause issues and cause the tire plug to go bad.
Again, this is a temporary fix that can cause more issues to occur in the future. Mostly these things never happen. But when they do, they happen at the very worst times.
When Should You Not Plug A Tire?
You should not plug a tire that has damage on the sidewall or on the tread that is within one inch of the sidewall. No repair or tire shop will repair a tire with this type of damage. Some people view this as a scam to get you to just pay for a new tire.
But try taking the damaged tire to a place that doesn’t sell tires and see what they tell you. They will not do the repair simply because the liability they are taking on is much greater than the cost of the repair. It is simply not worth it because failures from this type of repair happen too often.
I have purchased used tires in the past with this type of damage. But they always warned me that they can’t warranty it and it may cause a blowout on the freeway that could cause an accident.
Luckily, that has never happened to me but that doesn’t mean it won’t. It does happen to many people every day. Accidents from a damaged tire could be fatal or financially ruin the party at fault.
Can I Drive Long-Distance With A Plugged Tire?
Yes, you can drive long-distance with a plugged tire. It is for the most part safe to do, though please do it as a last resort. You may drive on a plugged tire for thousands of miles with no issues. Or you may blow out your tire while exiting the repair shop.
A plugged tire is a temporary fix that may cause more issues in the future, though some people choose to drive on a plugged tire for many miles. It is always recommended to replace the tire or patch it as a more legitimate long term fix. But people drive with plugged tires daily with few to no issues. Please choose safety over short term comfort and cost savings.
The long term benefits may be highly diminished by the short term gains of driving long distance with a plugged tire. You could cause more damage by driving long distances and even have to replace more parts on your car or truck.
Can You Plug A Tire Twice?
Sure, you can plug a tire twice. But is it safe? A tire plug is a temporary fix. If you already have one plug in the same tire a second will only increase the likelihood of further damage.
Some repair shops will not do a second repair if the two plugs are within a certain distance. Repair shops look at this as a temporary repair and if you arrive with an older plug they may not want to attempt another repair as they will be liable for BOTH tire plugs at this point. They may offer a replacement tire if it is covered under the warranty. Check your warranty and see what it covers.
Can I Plug Tire Without Taking It Off?
Yes, you can plug a tire without taking it off your car. As long as you can push and pull on the tire head-on you can repair it. You have to remove the nail or shard that punctured your tire so make sure you can rotate the tire into a position you have enough leverage to do this.
Then you will have to run a reem in and out of the hole in a provocative manner and this can require some elbow grip. I prefer to rotate a tire so the puncture is facing the end of the vehicle. If it is on the rear you will want to angle the puncture towards the trunk and in the front, angle the tire towards the front bumper.
That way you can fix the tire without having to put your body under a major portion of the vehicle or your arms inside the wheel well. This is the safest way you can plug a tire without taking it off. You will have enough leverage to remove the puncture and insert the tire plug.
Pro Tip: Keep a simple repair kit in your trunk. Don’t forget gloves, reflective triangles, and wet wipes. They come in handy for many uses.
Where Can I Get My Tire Patched For Free?
There are a few places where you can get your tire patched for free. The most obvious place would be to take your tire to the place where you bought it. They should warranty small repairs or damages. A plugged tire should be covered for a period of time after purchase.
Below are some other places you may try to get your tire patched for free. Just call ahead to make sure they offer this service and are available for walk-ins:
- Pep Boys
- Discount Tire
- Evans Tire
- Express Tire
Many people drive with a plugged tire. It happens to many people every day. A plugged car tire is an easy and simple repair. Anyone can purchase a kit and keep it in their truck and easily do the repair on the side of the road. It can even be done without having to take the wheel off.
Though it is a simple and easy fix, driving with a plugged tire should only be a temporary solution. If you want to drive long-distance with a plugged tire it should only be done as a last resort as a plugged tire may cause more damage. There are other better and safer long term solutions to repair a tire.
All in all a plugged tire is a fast and easy repair. It happens to the best of us. But with a tiny bit of information, you can keep it a small problem before it turns into a big one.
Thanks for reading and stay dirty.