Walking up to your car and realizing you’ve got a flat tire can be a stressful scenario. The good news is, depending on where the damage has occurred, this may be something that can be taken care of quickly and easily.
It is definitely recommended to get the tire to a shop that is experienced in tire repair to ensure that the problem is solved effectively and safely.
In this guide, we’ve broken down what you need to know about getting a tire repaired, including how it’s done and what you should keep in mind.
Common Methods Used To Repair A Tire:
Not all tire punctures or lacerations are the same. Some will be able to be repaired, while others may not. In any good tire shop, repairs will meet the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s (RMA) guidelines for safe and effective tire repairs. These guidelines define how optimum tire repairs must be done.
Tires that can be repaired will usually be repaired using one of the two most effective methods, with a plug or a patch.
A tire plug is a piece of pliable rubber that is inserted into the tire puncture from the outside. The piece will expand and trap air from getting out of the tire. Tire plugs are an inexpensive repair that can be completed in a matter of minutes, without removing the tire from the wheel. Many technicians swear by tire plugs for how long they can last, while others prefer a radial patch.
A radial tire patch is a thin, flat piece of rubber that is used to repair a damaged tire from the inside. “Radial” refers to radial type tires that are on almost all of the vehicles on the road today. To install these patches, the tire must be removed from the vehicle and the wheel itself. Then, the patch is applied over the puncture or tear on the inside of the tire. As the tire is reinflated, the patch will expand and meld to the tire rubber. This process takes slightly longer than a repair with a tire plug.
A Combination Of Both
Depending on the damage or laceration, sometimes the technician may use a combination of both a patch and tire plug to effectively repair the tire. This will ensure that the integrity of the tire’s rubber in that area will hold safely and the tire will stay inflated.
Guidelines For Safe & Effective Tire Repair
As we mentioned above, not all tires can or should be repaired due to safety issues that can occur while you’re on the road. When it comes to ensuring safe and effective tire repair, there are some guidelines that top-quality shops will always follow that you should be aware of as well:
It Depends On Location
Tire repairs will/should only be limited to the tread area. If a puncture or laceration is outside of the tread area and along the edge or on the sidewall, the tire should be replaced. Attempting to repair in these areas can jeopardize the safety of the tire. So, a reputable tire service shop will not agree to perform an unsafe repair outside of the tire’s tread area.
Some Punctures Are Too Big For Repair
When it comes to punctures in tires, size is important. If the hole is bigger than 1/4″ in diameter, it is not safe to perform a repair and the tire should be replaced. This is because a plug or patch cannot sufficiently hold together the rubber’s integrity in a damaged area bigger than 1/4″.
The Tire’s Current Condition Is Important
If the tire shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with, there’s no sense in repairing it. So, the tire’s current tread depth and condition should be evaluated. If the tread is less than 1/16 inch deep, the tire isn’t safe for road use and should be replaced. Also, if the tire’s condition has been compromised by things like dry rot or missing chunks of rubber, it should be replaced versus repaired.
Repairs Should Not Be Overlapped
Tire repairs should never be overlapped in the same area. So, if a new puncture or laceration is in the same place as a previous repair, then the tire needs to be replaced with a new one. Do not let someone try to repair it.
There may be other limitations on repairs, depending on the type of tire you have. So, be sure to always take your damaged tire to a professional auto shop for repair or replacement. The experienced technicians will be able to look at your tire and determine if a safe and effective repair can be made or not.
Common Services A Good Tire Shop Will Offer
Top-quality tire shops will not only be able to expertly handle tire repairs, but they should also be a one-stop shop for all tire and wheel-related services (as well as other auto services, too). The technicians at these shops will be able to assist you in maintaining and extending the life of your tires, perform repairs when needed, and serve as your local tire store when you need new tires.
Some of the most common tire and wheel services you’ll find at these shops will usually include:
One way to extend the life of your tires is to make sure they are properly balanced on the wheel. If they are not balanced correctly, the tread will wear down unevenly very fast. An out-of-balance tire also usually causes a noticeable vibration in the steering wheel.
Your tires should be regularly rotated on the vehicle to ensure even wear and help extend their life. Consistent rotations also allow the technician the opportunity to inspect your tires for any issues and minimize further damage.
It is also recommended to have your vehicle’s tire alignment checked regularly. This will ensure the tires are lined up properly and spinning optimally, helping to minimize uneven tire wear and maintain your tires’ and vehicle’s performance. If you’ve recently hit a large object or notice increased tread wear along the outer edges of your tires, bring your vehicle in to have the alignment checked ASAP.
Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) Repair
This built-in system constantly measures both the tires’ air pressure and rotational speed to monitor whether each one has the correct amount of air pressure. That is why it is so important to ensure this system is always working properly. If one of the tires has low pressure or if there is an issue within the monitoring system, a dashboard warning light will alert you.
Your Local Tire Experts For All Your Vehicle’s Needs
By understanding tire repairs and keeping the things we covered above in mind, you’ll be confident in knowing you’ve had a safe and effective tire repair done when you need it. So, when you need tire services, make sure you go to a professional tire shop that you can trust for all your tire maintenance and repair needs.
Since 1969, the team at Ramona Tire & Service Centers has been committed to meeting the auto service needs of Southern California drivers. Whether you need a tire repair or a whole new set of tires, you can count on our ASE-certified technicians for all your vehicle’s needs. Plus, if you do need new tires, we regularly offer tire deals to help you save even more money.