We are all looking for ways to save money, and repairing a tire rather than replacing it is a good way to save a few dollars. No doubt you’re reading this because you’re concerned about the safety of repaired tires and want to know what’s best.
There are two scenarios that we’ll look at below.
TheTire Is Already Plugged, and You Want To Patch A New Hole
This scenario is very problematic. A plug is only meant to be a temporary fix, so if you still have one in your tire and are looking to patch a different tire area, there are big safety concerns.
A plugged tire has probably been repaired without removing the tire from the rim. This means that no detailed inspection of the tire has been carried out.
The problem here is that there is often underlying damage on the tire’s inner lining that isn’t visible until it’s removed from the rim or wheel.
If you are now looking to patch a different area of the tire, you are adding to the tire’s potential issues.
For instance, if we just put the plug being temporary to one side and assume that the repair is sound and holding air, a second repair within 16 inches of the first is never recommended by tire manufacturers.
This adds additional stress to that area and can cause the steel belts to fail.
If the area of the plug is outside after the 16-inch area zone where it can’t be repaired, you can take your tire to the tire shop and ask them to patch the plugged repair and also patch the additional hole you now have.
The problem is that many tire shops will not want to touch a tire that someone at home has temporarily repaired.
They’ll worry about how the hole has been prepared before it was plugged, whether it has been reamed with a proper reaming tool and not a drill, plus a host of other issues they would not want to put their name to.
Sometimes a plugged tire has been repaired at home because the person repairing it realized that a tire shop would not repair it with a patch for them. This can be because the damage that has been plugged was on the sidewall or the shoulder of the tire.
These are big red flags, as no tire manufacturer recommends repairing a tire with damage to these areas. The sidewall and shoulder are not supported by steel belts.
Any damage here will likely cause a blowout and put the driver and other road users at risk of injury or death.
The Tire Is Plugged, and You Want To Now Patch It Instead
You are more likely to come across this scenario if you have plugged the tire yourself at home and they want to do a more permanent repair yourself.
As long as you plugged the tire and prepared the hole in line with the tire kits and the tire manufacturer’s instructions, you should be fine doing this.
It is always better to go to a tire shop and get them to patch the tire, as they will have a more impartial view of the extent of the damage.
We are more likely to let things slide if any damage is borderline unrepairable and repair it anyway to save on the cost of a new tire.
That being said, if you want to patch the tire at home, then make sure you buy a good quality patch kit. You are looking for a plug patch combination and need other tools to effect a quality permanent repair.
You will need to hand a jack, a lug nut wrench, a tire stitcher, tire cleaner and sealant tubes, and an air compressor, plus around 30 minutes of your own time.
Before you even start, it is worth inspecting the inside of the tire for other damage that wasn’t visible on the outside.
Check for any bulges and abrasions inside the tire, especially around the sidewall and the shoulder. If there are any signs of damage here and you need to buy a new tire, as the tire cannot be repaired.
Sometimes people get confused between patches and plugs because of a recent addition to the plugging family called a mushroom plug.
This is installed on the outside of the tire and doesn’t need the tire to be taken off the rim to do it.
It partly seals the inside of the tire by pushing through with a screwing tool before pulling it back, which seals the inside and uses the stem to seal the injury site.
The problem here again is that it has not been taken off the rim, and therefore it is not about but a plug repair.
Some people believe they have patched their tire because they’ve used a mushroom plug. Although these may be better than stitch or strip plugs and provide a better seal, they are not permanent and I still temporary.
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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.
Read our Priority Tire Review
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Average Cost Of A Tire Patch [Shop and at Home]
Can A Patched Tire Blowout? [Occasionally]
What To Do If A Patched Tire Is Still Leaking
It is possible to patch a plugged tire as long as it is done in line with the tire kits and the tire manufacturer’s instructions.
However, a plug is only meant to be a temporary fix, so if you have a plugged tire and are looking to patch a different tire area, it is best to get a professional opinion to ensure the safety of the repair.