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You’ll have to be pretty unlucky to have two nails in a tire that needs to be plugged. However, on occasions, especially if driving through construction site areas or industrial sites, it can happen.

The three occasions where a tire with a second nail hole shouldn’t be repaired are when it is within 16 inches of an existing repair of another nail hole, secondly, if the nail damage is to the sidewall or shoulder of the tire, and thirdly if the tire is in poor condition already.

Below we’ll examine each in more detail:

The 16-inch Gap Rule

It’s quite unusual to have two nails in the tire, but on occasions, a tire has been repaired that had nail damage, only for a second one to make an appearance on the tire tread.  

Generally, it is safe to repair a second nail hole. However, there is one big caveat that you should be aware of.

All tire manufacturers firstly recommend that a damaged tire should be patched and not plugged but secondly, they also state that the second repair should not be within 16 inches of the first repair.

This may seem like quite a large distance. However, repaired areas this closer together can cause too much weakness in the tire structure, especially if and when the tire hits a pothole or a curb. 

Sidewall/Shoulder

A big no-no is any damage to the sidewall or shoulder of a tire. Having a nail, let alone 2, in this location can significantly increase the chances of a blowout. No competent car shop or tire shop will repair a damaged sidewall. 

They know that there is no additional strengthening in these areas, unlike the Tread area with a belt and chords underneath the rubber.

 Rapid decompression can occur if these areas are repaired and lead to a blowout. 

Condition Of The Tire

Not all tire condition is equal.  

Depending on the tire’s condition can dictate whether you feel a repair with a plug or patch is worth the time and the effort.  

Dry rotted tires can make a nail hole repair uneconomical.

We’ve already established that a tire will be weakened whether it has been patched correctly or not; however, on old tires that exhibit signs of dry rot or fading to grey, it may not be a cost-effective solution to even contemplate repairing a second nail hole.

 Another consideration may be the amount of tread left on the tire.  As a general rule, anything less than 5/32-in left on a tire is hardly worth the effort of repairing a second time.  

It won’t be more than a few thousand miles until it is below the legal limit of 2/32-in and needs to be replaced anyway.

Previous Tire Repairs

The quality of a previous tire repair can have a big impact on whether or not plugging a second nail hole is a viable option. If the first tire repair was done properly, then it is possible to plug a second nail hole.

However, if the first tire repair was not done correctly, then plugging a second nail hole to repair the tire is not recommended. 

A tire plugged a few months ago

This is because the previous repair may have caused additional damage that has gone unnoticed, and plugging a second hole will only compound the problem.

This is especially true of plugging because the inside of the tire has not been examined using this tire repair method.  However, if the tire has previously been patched – not plugged- correctly at a tire shop, then there is a more likelihood that a plug repair for a second nail would be less risky.

In conclusion

 it is possible to plug a tire with the second nail in it, but you should definitely err on the side of caution. 

  •  If the second repair is within 16 inches of the first, do not repair it.
  •  If the nail damage is to the sidewall or shoulder section of the tire, it cannot be repaired.
  •  Look at the tire’s general condition and assess whether you feel it should be repaired for a second time or whether it is better to buy a brand new tire now.

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