A flat tire is one of the best ways to ruin your day. Not only do you have to jack up the car, take the flat tire off, and put the spare on (or call a service like AAA), you have to suffer the inconvenience of having the puncture repaired. But how does a tire repair work, is it effective and when is a tire considered to be irreparable? 1. Tire Repair There are basically three approaches to repairing a tire: - Plugs are used to repair holes in the tread of the tire, normally in the size and shape of the puncture. This should seal leaks from the outside of the tire but may be ineffective at sealing the inside or inner lining of the tire. This is the preferred method as it is quick, easy and inexpensive. - Seals are used on the inside of the tire. This means the tire needs to be dismounted, which is a time consuming task. However, seals are often more effective than plugs. On the other hand, they do not repair the tread or outside of the tire, which may allow water to leak in or even corrupt the seal. Seals are often more effective and long-lasting than plugs. - Plug and seal options are a combination of the top two methods. The tire is removed from the wheel and a plug with a seal attached is pushed through the tread, from the inside out. A sealant is then used to keep the rubber plug and seal on the inside in place. This is the most durable and effective tire repair solution of all. Always make sure the repairman removes the tire from the wheel so that the damage can be assessed both inside and outside, no matter which type of repair is being used. 2. How Does A Repair Affect The Tire? Once a tire has been damaged, it's no longer considered to be have the same high speed capability as set by the manufacturer. This doesn't mean the tire is now unsafe but rather it may cause problems at high speeds. Repairs that have not been performed properly could also result in a number of different issues. A tire could continue to leak air, water can damage the inside of the tire and rust the wheel, or in extreme cases the tire could become unsafe. To ensure the ongoing safety of a tire, it's best to have repairs performed by a specialist in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. Always ensure the tire is taken off the wheel and inspected both inside and outside. It's best to take the advice of an expert tire repairman if they deem a tire unsuitable for repair. You can rely on and trust our trained technicians here at Elite Auto Repair with your vehicles tire safety. 3. When Can A Tire Not Be Repaired? Tires that have damage to the sides or outer rims of the tread cannot be repaired. A good rule to follow is any damage within 1/4 inch from the edge of the tread is irreparable. The 1/4 inch rule can also be applied to the size of a puncture. Any hole larger than this cannot effectively be repaired. Belted radial or steel tires that aren't repaired soon after a puncture may deteriorate to the point they become irreparable. If the tread on the tire is too thin, a replacement tire would be more suitable than a repair. Retreads in the case where a puncture has occurred in a tire with low tread, is not recommended. Having a tire repaired quickly and effectively is optimal for the ongoing safety of the tire on the road. We're always here when you need us for all your tire-related issues!