My tire is punctured by a small screw. I bought a tire plug repair kit, but
it seems like I have to first make the puncture hole *bigger* before I stick
in the plug.
Of the hundreds type of sealant/adhesive sold in home stores, is there one
that I can inject into the puncture (this won't make the hole bigger) and
would cure to the consistency of tire rubber?
I don't think you want to mess with what works. Tire plugs have been
refined and perfected since the introduction of tubeless tires.
That said, a "proper" repair usually involves dismounting the tire and
*both* plugging and installing a patch on the inside of the tire casing...
The guy at the last place where I had a flat fixed emphasized that the
plugs are hit or miss because they fail for various reasons including
being cut by the wires in the tire and they moved from using them and
apply patches as you described. They used a patch that had an integral
plug with a wire that they pulled through with a pair of pliers and cut
off because it was a large hole from a chunk of glass. With the
equipment they have it is a quick operation to pop off the tire, patch,
remount and balance it. And the guy wasn't trying to sell me on
anything. It wasn't big box but a local family owned tire place with a
half dozen locations and when I asked how much it was to fix the flat
the even though I wasn't sold any sort of extra insurance the guy said
"those are our tires that we sold you so the flat fix is no charge".
I am 58 years old and during that time I have had my fair share of tires
"plugged" in the exact manner you describe. this includes steel belted
HOWEVER, the last puncture I experienced was with a Michelin tire purchased
from Sam's Club. They would not plug it. They insisted on removing it from
the rim and Appling a large patch on the inside of the tire.
I really don't know if the standards have changed or they are just ultra
conservative in their approach.
At any rate if you are plugging, you have to make the hole larger to do it.
Been that way forever. Side note: that always bothered me also. Never was
a problem. I don't recall a single one of them ever failing.
re: I really don't know if the standards have changed or they are just
ultra conservative in their approach.
I think you will find that the vast majority of repair shops will now
patch as opposed to plug.
I've been told that although plugs rarely fail, patches never do.
They'd rather do the extra work, for really not that much more money,
as "insurance" that the repair won't fail.
In this jurisdiction (a Canadian province) it is our understanding
that plugging is at best a temporary fix. Maybe to help limp along at
reduced speed to a location where tyre can be completely replaced or a
'proper' repair made. Also plugging a radial tyre is not a 'legal'
Any 'reputable' repair shop/service station will insist on removing
tyre, patching (possibly hot patching, the inside of the tyre) with a
patch several times the size of the hole. That also means reinstalling
and rebalancing the tyre/wheel.
Don't risk plugging it for the sake of a few dollars!
And don't go out and drive at 60 mph on a plugged tyre! If something
happened and the plug was found, following say, an accident, it could
affect insurance and be considered reason for legal liability!
e.g. Wot happened? "Oh there was this driver and he had a plugged tyre
and ........ Nasty accident but only two of em were killed. Etc.
Of course it won't happen to one of us. Always the 'other' driver!
My experience of 42 years in the tire business: 22% of the flats we
repaired were because of leaking plugs. Generally because the plug was
inserted at 90 degrees to the tread and most of the time the object
that penetrated the tire went in at some other angle. In effect, the
"repairer" created a second hole. This style of "repair" was a MAJOR
cause of ply separations.
Method of patching aside, you want to remove the tire and inspect the
inside. Maybe the nail that punctured the tread also chewed up the
sidewall when the tire went down. You plug the hole, air it up and
head down the road. That is when the weak spot on the sidewall gives
So if you have the tire dismounted for inspection, why not use the
recommended procedure which is to plug the puncture to exclude
moisture from the steel cords and place a patch over the plug to seal
the air chamber?
No outside plug repair is considered permanent; even by the
manufacturer. Most tire manufacturers will not warranty a tire
separation caused by an improper repair unless you have bought one of
their warranty certificates; which, like all insurance, is prepaid
I've been retired now for two years. That is enough time for the most
reputable manufacturer to go down the tubes.
A rock solid model of a tire could be ruined by changing manufacturing
plants. A new model introduced by a good company could be a dud.
I don't want this to sound like black magic but you get a feel for the
rubber of a tire. You can tell if it will (or won't) be long wearing
if it holds together.
Tread designs are another area that effect the life of a tire. Some
are more prone to irregular wear patterns. The same pattern may wear
well on the front but not on the rear...or the other way around. If
you don't need mud and snow rated tires, try to find a "highway" tread
or at least a pattern with an unbroken outer rib. No blocks.
Generally, in passenger tires, I would look at Goodyear, Michelin and
Dunlop. For light truck, it would be Bridgestone and Goodyear. Add
Michelin IF your driving is all on paved roads. Michelins have thin
sidewalls that are easily damaged by rocks and curbs. They do ride
good...for the same reason.
Medium duty trucks, Bridgestone and Goodyear. Again, Michelin if the
operating environment is clear of hazards. A surprise (for me) was the
Chinese tire Wanli. They seem to be holding up very well.
Motorhomes are somewhere between light and medium duty trucks. If the
driver can stay off curbs, Michelin is a good choice. Goodyear also
makes an RV tire.
Unless it is a safety issue, I hesitate to get in these "what's best"
discussions. If it works for you, stay with it. But you can't
realistically argue that it is right for everyone.
I'm sure I had heard that steel-belted radials (which I suppose is what
all tires are these days) were not to be (in fact perhaps not even
*allowed* to be) plugged, so I was surprised that a tire repair place
was planning to plug a punctured tire. They insisted that plugging was
the standard method, and the tire did in fact last another 50K miles or
so before the whole set was replaced.
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