I’ve heard that it’s not very safe to drive on a plugged tire. Is that true? Why is repairing or replacing a damaged tire a better option than plugging a tire? What are the dangers of driving on a plugged tire?
We’ve all been there before. You wake up or walk to your car after work, only to look down and see a flat tire and a nail sticking out. You don’t have time to take your vehicle into an auto shop and need a quick fix. It’s a small nail, so you plug your tire and go on with your life.
You only meant for the plug to be a temporary solution until you could get the tire replaced. Then life happens, and it’s a few days before you can get a new tire. Those few days turn into months, which can quickly turn into a year. You may start to ask yourself if it’s really safe to drive on a plugged tire.
It turns out that installing a plug can have a serious impact on the life and integrity of your tire. That is if it’s safe to plug your tire at all. Here is what you need to know about plugged tires and how safe it really is to drive on one.
You Can Only Plug Your Tire in Certain Circumstances
The first thing you should consider when plugging a tire is if it’s safe to install a plug in the first place. There are specific cases when it’s safe to use a plug. Outside of these scenarios, driving on a plugged tire could be dangerous to you and other drivers.
Depending on the size of the puncture, the extent of the damage, and the tread of your tire, you may not be able to repair the tire with a plug. The size of the hole must be no larger than 0.25 inches and must be located on the tread of your tire. If the puncture is on the shoulder or sidewall, then you will need to replace the tire.
The angle of the puncture also makes a big difference in the effectiveness of a plug. Ideally, the nail or object that punctured your tire went straight in. This would make a repair fairly straightforward. However, if the tire was punctured at an angle, the plug will have a hard time completely sealing the punctured area. Take note of how the nail or screw looks and the angle that it entered the tire.
The age and quality of your tire is also an important factor in whether or not it can be plugged. If the tread on your tire has been worn below 2/32 of an inch, then your tread is too far gone to be plugged. If you’re wondering how you can measure this, 2/32 of an inch is the amount measured by the classic penny test. Make sure your tire passes the penny test before you even thinking of plugging it. If it doesn’t pass the test, then it’s probably time for a new set of tires anyway.
If you have to ask yourself whether or not your tire can be repaired, that may be a sign that it’s time to move on. A TIA-certified tire technician can inspect your tire and let you know for certain if it’s safe.
An Improper Repair May Void Your Tire Warranty
Another thing to think about when it comes to driving on a plugged tire is how your repair may impact the manufacturer’s warranty on your tire. Improper repair and maintenance is a surefire way to void your warranty. Think twice the next time you consider opting for a DIY approach on your next tire repair.
When it comes to the safety of your vehicle, it’s always best to leave things to the experts. By having your tire repaired by a certified professional, you can be confident your repair is performed properly, and your manufacturer warranty is still “good.”
A Plug May Do More Harm Than Good
The biggest problem with driving on a plugged tire is that you still have a hole in your tire! While it may be a temporary fix, it’s important to recognize that there is still a structural failure in your tire that needs to be addressed.
It only makes sense that a plugged tire cannot handle the same level of stress and strain as a tire in good condition. This is especially true when you start reaching higher speeds on the highway. The manufacturer won’t support a tire’s speed rating once it has been repaired. So, if you plan on racing, off-roading, or just want to go fast, a plugged tire isn’t going to work.
Over time, it’s possible for that small puncture to slowly get larger. This results in a greater loss of air while also increasing your chances of a blowout on a road. Furthermore, the plug itself may fail while you are driving, putting you back where you started.
You’re Better Off Replacing The Tire
In the event of a flat tire from a nail or screw, the best course of action is always to replace the tire. A plug or patch for your tire may help tide you over until you can have it replaced, but it’s important to remember that a plug is meant to be a temporary fix.
While it may be tempting to see how far you can get with a five-dollar repair, the consequences of a plugged tire failing will be much worse than if you had replaced the tire in the first place.
If you just purchased a tire or recently bought a set of expensive tires, it can be a frustrating experience. If this is the case and you hope the tire can be saved, it may be worth it to have it inspected by a professional.
The TIA-certified tire experts at Tread Connection know how to properly diagnose, inspect, and repair flat tires. When you work with Tread Connection for your flat repair, the tire will be removed from the wheel and carefully inspected inside and out. This helps us ensure whether or not it can be safely repaired.
If the tire can be repaired, our team will take care of it for you. In the event that your tire cannot be safely repaired, our team will recommend a replacement from our wide range of tires to find the right one for your needs, and your budget.
Contact Tread Connection for New Tires On Your Schedule
It’s never worth it to gamble when it comes to the safety of you and your vehicle. Don’t try to see how long you can drive on that plugged tire. Have your tire inspected and repaired the right way by the TIA-certified tire experts at Tread Connection.
We bring the tire shop to you and can repair your flat or replace your tire at your home and on your schedule. Schedule your tire service with Tread Connection today!