Are you here because you’ve either thinking about putting a patch on your tire or done so already and are wondering whether the patch will be permanent or whether you’ll need to repatch or replace the tire?
It is a reasonable question to ask, especially if your tire is not new. Is it worth patching now only to have to patch again or buy a new tire sooner than you would want?
Generally, a proper tire patch plug combination will last the tire’s lifetime and is a permanent repair. However, a DIY repair at home may be done to a lesser standard than a tire shop, and caution should be taken.
Before we get into whether the patch is a long lasting tire repair, it’s important to remember these points.
There are only certain areas on the tire that can be patched. It’s a lot less than many people think. The tire’s shoulder and sidewall area cannot be patched under any circumstances, irrespective of the hole size. As seen below.
It’s all to do with the tire construction in the sidewall and shoulder area.
Unlike the tread, no steel belts add support to these areas, and any small damage here is irreparable as they are more prone to blowouts.
Apologies if this is teaching you basic stuff, but just to make it clear, a patch is always fitted on the inside, whereas a plug can be fitted on the outside. Sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably, which is wrong.
How long-lasting a tire patch is depends on how well it has adhered to the tire. There are quite a few steps to patch a tire correctly. If any of these are skipped or done badly, it can affect how long a patch will last.
Related Article: How Do Tire Shops Patch Tires? [GUIDE]
Some people have noticed that the patch leaks very soon after fitting, while others who have either done the repair correctly or gone to a tire shop have noted that the tire loses tread and becomes unroadworthy before a patch starts leaking air.
The best-case scenario is that the tire patch lasts for the tire’s lifetime. However, there are certain restrictions that car tire manufacturers place on patched tires.
Most manufacturers will stipulate that their tires if patched, lose their speed rating. What this means, in reality, is very little to the average driver.
For instance, a T rated tire is good for speeds up to 118 mph. If a T-rated tire is patched, it is no longer permitted to be driven at this speed. But it becomes an unrated tire that can go to a speed of 85 mph.
As speed limits in the US and most other countries are way below 85 mph, there is no real driving speed implication to patching your tire. You can still travel at the maximum speed limit, regardless of the patch.
This relates to tires that have been patched professionally with good quality patch plug combi repairs kits.
Patching your tire at home might not be done to the same high standards as a car shop that may have access to better quality tolls and patching kits.
If you are patching your tire at home, always pay close attention to the fitting instructions.
This will tell you the manufacturer’s position on their tire patches. Hardly any will tell you that their patches are a permanent repair.
The ones that say their kits are a permanent repair will include a paragraph stating as long as all the instructions and guidelines were followed to the letter.
Don’t be confused with the terms mushroom patches and mushroom plugs. Often used interchangeably, they do mean different things.
All patches can only be fitted from the inside, while plugs can be fitted from the inside or the outside of a tire.
A mushroom plug is never permanent, even though it does seal the inside of the tire from the outside using an applicator gun that usually comes with a kit.
On the other hand, Mushroom patches are always fitted from the inside and are often called the patch plug combination. These patches are more likely to repair the hole permanently and are the preferred choice of tire shops and manufacturers.
A quick search of online forums will bring up people who swear by patching their own tires and have always outlasted the tread’s lifespan.
Of course, this is more than possible; on many occasions, the patch will be permanent and long-lasting.
However, it only takes bad preparation in not buffing the hole area enough for using out-of-date sealant or cleaner or even patching a tire that is bigger than 6 mm to make the pet repair are faulty at best and dangerous at worst.
You can expect to pay $20 to $25 for this and at least drive away with the certainty that they have inspected your tire before patching and then patched it in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Buying kits from Amazon etc., and doing it from home is normally cheaper and more convenient but runs the risk of making an innocent error that means the tire may leak in the future or, at worst, go flat when you are in a vulnerable position.
As you need to be able to remove the wheels from the car and then remove the rim from the tire. This is too much hassle for many people, and they would rather go to a tire shop.
Few people want to bend their back to loosen in lug nuts, use the tire iron to separate the tire from the rim, and then have to inflate it once the patching has been done.
Also, it can be a two-person job holding the tire and patching, whereas tire shops have a piece of kit that clamps the tire in place.
It’s worth bearing in mind that although you might think the repair is permanent if it blows out and injure someone, the other party may sue you if you cause damage or injury to them.
You can guarantee that if a badly patched tire blows out, you’ll not be covered by your insurance policy as there will be terms and conditions that you should keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition to keep your insurance cover valid.
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We like this mushroom tire plug kit at Amazon. Even if you don’t need to repair a flat today, they are a must-have glove compartment accessory to stop you from ever being stranded with a flat in the future.
Sometimes a new tire is the better option if your tire is old or has been damaged before.
We recommend Priority Tire. They often have clearance sales that result in the cost of a new tire being little more than the cost of repairing the damaged one.
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A tire patch repair that has been done at a reputable car shop is considered to be permanent.
The only difference is the speed rating will no longer apply to the tire. This is of little concern as an unrated tire can still be driven at up to 85 mph.
A tire repair at home may be less long lasting or considered permanent because of the range of kits available and the differing standards of a repair.