A patched tire is entirely safe to drive on if it has been repaired in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
If you have had the tire patched and you know you took it to a reputable tire shop, you have nothing to worry about. The tire will be safe to drive on.
However, if you have patched the tire, you may have questions about whether you have done this well enough to make it safe.
In another scenario, you have bought a car and noticed that it has a patched tire and are curious as to whether it is safe.
Firstly to clear up confusion, a patch can only be fitted from the inside, so the tire must be removed from the rim.
A plug can be fitted from the outside and is always only temporary and shouldn’t be driven on long term.
Where Is The Tire Patched?
If your tire has been patched on the shoulder section of the tread or sidewall, it is unsafe to drive under any circumstances.
These areas are prone to blowouts when they are weakened by being holed.
All but one tire manufacturer states that a hole in these areas is unsafe and should not be patched.
The only exception is Michelin, who state that a hole in the sidewall can be repaired professionally as long as it is 3 mm or less in diameter on T-rated tires only.
T-rated tires are common on popular cars and have a speed rating of 118 mph. It’s unclear whether other tire manufacturers have the same guidance in place.Michelin Sidewall Patch Guidance
From the research I have done, it appears only to be Michelin.
Patch Within 16 Inches of Another Repair
The tire is safe to drive on as long as the patch was fitted professionally and isn’t within 16 inches of another repair.
This 16-inch distance usually means that only two patches can be on a car tire at any time.
More than two generally means that the patches would have to be within 16 inches of each other, and a car shop wouldn’t have repaired the tire.
Nothing stops someone from repairing a tire in this situation at home, though.
If you see this, it isn’t safe, and you shouldn’t drive on it. it
How Long Can You Drive on A Patched Tire?
A tire patch repair completed at a reputable tire shop will be good until the tire reaches the end of its natural life.
It is all down to how well the repair has been done. All tire shops use a plug and patch mushroom combination to completely seal the hole from the inside and the length of the hole itself.
Older style patches just concentrated on sealing the inner lining and left the hole open. The problem with these patches was they were unsafe for long-term use.
All tires have at least one steel belt beneath the tread, and as the hole itself wasn’t sealed with these repairs, moisture was able to get in the tire and, over time, rust or, at the very least, weaken the belts.
These basic patch repairs sometimes lead to broken tire belts or tread separation. Both are very dangerous at high speeds.
Any recent tire shop repair will almost definitely use the newer plug patch repair and take the correct steps in preparing the hole, fitting the plug and patch, and sealing the patch afterward.
If you have patched your tire yourself and are wondering whether you have completed the repair safely, here is a very good video to let you know.
Tire Speed Rating Changes After Being Patched
Not all tire manufacturers are the same, and neither are there rules on patched tires, speed, and safety.
Most manufacturers will remove the speed rating of a patched tire, citing that they cannot guarantee the roadworthiness of every patched tire’s safety or the standard of the repair.
Instead, they state the tire is non-speed rated, which generally allows it to be driven at up to 85 mph, still more than most countries’ speed limits anyway.
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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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It is perfectly safe to drive on a properly patched tire.
Depending on your tire manufacturer, you may find that your tire, once repaired, is no longer guaranteed for the speed rating it was before it was damaged.
As most speed limits are below 85 mph and an unrated tire can drive up to that speed, this is of little concern to most people.
If you have recently bought a car that has a patched tire, it would be prudent to take it to a tire shop to be inspected to make sure the repair was of a good standard, that way ensuring it is safe to drive on.