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You’ve either been thinking about inserting a plug in your tire or have already done so and are wondering how long a tire plug lasts.

It’s a valid worry, and many worried about the tire plugs’ long-term reliability ask this question a lot.

Before discussing how long tire plugs last in tires, it’s essential to know when and when not it’s okay to plug tires. So bear with me.

The tire cannot be plugged if it has damage in the sidewall or shoulder (the curved inch or two of tread that slopes away towards the side wall).

Plugging a tire
A basic strip plug kit

This area is not in the reinforced steel tire section beneath the tire’s main tread. Doing so would be risky to plug.

Tire plugs may last from a single day to several months and thousands of kilometers. Much depends on the quality of the repair and the kit used.

Another topic altogether is whether they should be considered long-term solutions.

You’ll find a disclaimer in the instructions for every tire plug kit. It’s there for a reason. Tire plug makers don’t want to be sued by stating tire plug kits are a long term solution, especially when tire manufacturers and their trade bodies say they aren’t.

Most experts agree that a tire plug is only effective for 100 miles at speeds under 50 mph before requiring a complete repair or replacement.

Online, many individuals claim that their tire plugs have held up for years. But is it worth the risk of something as crucial as road safety when the tire plug manufacturers themselves say otherwise?

Suppose someone is hurt by a car with a tire blowout because a tire wasn’t fixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions or at an acceptable level.

In that case, litigation attorneys would gladly take on negligence lawsuits.

How Good Is The Tire Plug Repair

Like anything else, putting in the time and effort to do something right usually pays off in the long term. The plugging of a tire is the same.

If you are determined to plug the tire and not get a more permanent repair, your tire plug will last longer if you carefully follow the instructions.

What, then, are the proper procedures for plugging a tire?

Invest in a good quality tire plugging kit rather than a cheaper alternative. That’s the first thing.

Mushroom plugs are superior to plug strips and last better, although they are more pricey.

Although you don’t have to remove the tire to fit mushroom plugs, unlike patching, they function more like fasteners in that they hold the plug in from the inside. 

So they are better than conventional plugs without the hassle of having to take the tire off the rim.

Common Symptoms A Tire Plug Is Failing

An air leak is the most common symptom. It will usually happen within a week of the repair. Sometimes you’ll go to bed after repairing a tire with a plug, only to wake up in the morning to find it flat again. 

It’s quite rare for it to happen this quickly. Usually, air will leak slowly, giving you plenty of time to look at your options.

Some people are happy to fill up the tire with air weekly than to go through trying to plug the same tire a second time or taking it to a tire shop to be patched.

tire plug slow leaking

A tire plug leak will only become worse once it begins. Knowing that it is somewhat leaking is preferable to discovering one morning that it is flat and could have been prevented.

It may not be the tire plug that is leaking. To make sure, spray soapy water on the plug and look for bubbles. 

No bubbles = no leak, and a slow drop in tire pressure may be coming from somewhere else, like a second hole, a bad valve, or a bent rim.

Old tire plugs will start to wear as the tire tread wears. 

Conventional strip plugs often have rubber encasing leather, and as leather is not as durable as rubber and is not as resistant to chemicals or the elements, it will break down. 

This can happen many months later when the plug is exposed to chemicals or road salt.

In Conclusion

A patch and a plug should be used to fix a flat tire.

A tire plug can last anywhere from a day to many thousands of miles. It depends on how good the tire plug kit is and how well you prepared the area before plugging it.

Tire plug kits always warn that the plugs are only intended for use at speeds up to 50 mph and up to 100 miles.

Many people claim they have driven much further, but only you can decide whether you are prepared to take the risk.

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