No one likes to deal with a flat tire, but it’s almost inevitable at some point. Tire repair can save your tire to save money over replacement. Understanding how tires are repaired and when a tire can be repaired can help you understand why your mechanic suggests an alternative and why you should spend the money.
Tires can only be repaired under certain circumstances:
Tire repairs should be made by a tire professional who can inspect the tire for defects. Something that appears to be a simple fix from the outside may have more internal damage than can be immediately seen. Tires have to be completely removed from the rim to be repaired. The technician needs to check the inside and outside of the tire. Nails can cause significant damage to the interior sidewall.
Once a tire is determined to be reparable, the punctured area is stabilized and cleaned. A rubber stem is applied through the puncture to seal the inside of the tire. A special glue is applied to ensure the tire can hold pressure. A patch is applied to the inner liner over the puncture repair. Then, the tire is remounted and inflated to the right pressure. The technician checks for leaks. It can take 60 to 90 minutes to repair a tire.
Not every tire can be repaired. If the puncture is outside of the middle of the tire, it cannot be repaired. A puncture over a one-quarter inch in diameter is too big to be repaired. Bulges or bubbles in the sidewall are irreparable. When a tire doesn’t meet repair guidelines, it should be taken out of service and replaced.
Although technicians do use something that resembles a plug to repair tires, a tire plug kit that you can buy at your local supercenter isn’t a good option. It might be a quick fix to let you get to your mechanic a few miles down the road. Tire plugs do fail over time. Contact Spiteri’s Auto Service in Belmont, California, for tire service and repair.