Where do you buy your passenger car tire patch plugs?

I stopped by all the parts stores today (four of them) where all they had were the flat inside patches and "rope" outside patches. Same with the big box stores.
Looks like I have to get my patch plugs online, but I don't need a box of five hundred. Five would do me well for the next couple of years or so.
Where do you buy small quantities of patch plugs to repair passenger car tires?
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On 10/24/2017 8:23 AM, Blake Snyder wrote:

If I assume correctly that the plugs you mention must be inserted from inside the tubeless tire after breaking the bead and removing the tire from the wheel, I believe I have the answer to both your questions:
a) you can't find smaller quantities because the folks that use them (the most) are shops with the proper (read expensive) equipment. It's not generally a DIY thing.
b) which would tell me that if I wanted or could go through the hassle of removing the tire from the wheel and using these patches, I should probably go a local garage that does tire repairs and offer to buy a small quantity at a premium price. That's sometimes the cost of indulging one's fantasies. ;)
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:45:29 -0500, in < Unquestionably Confused wrote:

Yes. That's the only way to properly repair a tire at home or in the shop.

The equipment to lift the vehicle, remove the tire from the vehicle, break the bead from the rim, remove a tire from the wheel, patch it from the inside after marking locations, check the static balance, and then put it back is not expensive.
But I agree with you that many people don't have those tools, just as many people don't have a table saw, or a drill press, or even a router or a bench grinder, all of which are about the same cost for the tools.

You're dead wrong.
It's so easy to change a tire that it can be more of a hassle to bring it to the shop than it is to just change it at home, depending on how much hassle you consider it to be to waste your time at a shop for such things that can easily be done at home.
The only reason people don't change their own tires is simply that they don't want to - which is fine. If I had a baby in the house, I'd have someone else change the diapers too - but that's not because it's difficult to do.

I'd say your advice is extremely bad, since *none* of your assumptions are even close to correct save for the one which is that most people don't do it.
Just like most people don't paint their own houses, or that most people might not maintain their own lawns or pools, I understood that well *before* I asked the question, so your answer provided nothing new.
Who doesn't know what you seem to know, which is that most people don't patch their own tires. Everyone knows that. You added nothing.
While I can find sources on the net for five patchplugs at a time, I was asking for the best sources out there. I have been to the tire shops to ask and they just give me a handful gratis, but I don't want that.
I just want to know if any of you know of a good source on the net for a handful of patch plugs. If you don't know of a good source, there is no sense in replying and wasting everyone's time.
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On 10/24/2017 09:25 AM, Blake Snyder wrote:

(Amazon.com product link shortened)
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On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 11:25:13 AM UTC-4, Blake Snyder wrote:

I do a lot of repairs, but having the equipment to break a bead on a tire, storing it, screwing around with it, isn't on my list. If I need that, I just go to a tire shop, where it's done quickly and inexpensively.

I do all the above, except dismounting tires at home.

What makes a source the best? How many flats are you having? I've had about two in ten years. One resulted in the loss of the tire. The other one, I fixed with a string type plug, without taking it off the car. That was many years ago, it's been holding fine.
I have been to the tire shops to ask

You just said you have sources for five. How many is a handful?
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:06:05 -0700 (PDT), in < trader_4 wrote:

A lot of people have a lot of yard where having the lawn mower in the shed, storing it, screwing around with it, isn't on their list.
A lot of people have a driveway where having the equipment to maintain it, screwing around with the tarblack, isn't on their list.
A lot of people have a pool where having the equipment to test the chemistry, vacuum the crud, and skim the bugs isn't on their list.
We all know this. Those people should not respond if they don't know the answer.

And people with lawns hire landscapers to mow it. And people with driveways hire asphalt guys to tarblack it. And people with pools hire a pool company to maintain it.
Those people aren't ever going to know the answer to any related question. They can only guess.
I can guess too. I don't want to guess. I'd rather learn from someone who has purchased & used the patches.
For example, now that I've done perhaps 25 patches, I *know* which I like best, and it's the patchplugs - by far. I even know *why* I like them.
Do the others work. Yes.

That's fine as I *know* most people don't dismount tires just like most people don't dig their own fencepost holes.
You don't have to *like* the task. I never said you did.
The only thing I'll say, since I've done plenty of tires, is that it's so easy that anyone who complains that it's difficult hasn't ever done it or is an idiot who can't figure out how it's done.
Likewise, anyone who complains that the tools cost too much is merely proving they can't do the simplest of math problems spanning the time period of the useful life of their tools.
The real reason people don't do it is that they don't like doing it, which is fine. Nobody is forcing anyone to like anything.
Just don't make stuff up about the job. Just tell the truth to yourself. And to others.
a. It's easy and convenient to fix flat tires whenever you feel like it. b. The tools are no more expensive than any others you have in the shop. c. It just takes a little knowledge (which many people may not ever have).

I can tell you the best source of pool chlorine in my area if you ask me, and it's not the big box hardware stores.
I can tell you the best brand of chainsaw to buy and you're not going to find that brand at Sears.
I can tell you the place in town to get whiteout, but it's not going to be at Staples or OfficeDepot.
How do I know such things? Because of two factors inherent with this thing called "experience": . I have bought the *wrong* stuff and suffered because of that . I have bought the *right* stuff and benefited from that.
Take for example the suggestion to path and plug. I've done it. Everyone has done it. It's so easy to do that it's the first thing you'll try.
But once I received a bona-fide patchplug gratis from a tire shop, I was instantly *sold* on the beauty of the thing. It's a work of art, really.
It just *feels* great to patch plug so professionally beautifully. How do I know this?
Because I have experience in all the methods of patching a tire.
I'm only asking for people's experience. I don't need or want guesses.
I can guess as well or better than most of you can guess. If this thread had zero bad answers, that would be a bonus.

I have the wife, and kids and grandkids and nearby friends, neighbors and relatives, where I fix their flats all the time for them, gratis.
I'd guess I'm fixing about 2 a year or so at this rate, but that's only an average as I just last week fixed two slow leaks on the same neighbor's car. So I can go though five patches in a year, but not more than that.
The problem is that I can't plan on how many patches I will need to do since they come in when they come in. I, myself, get about 1 flat a year only, and often I can go for three years without a flat, but then I can get three in a year. You can't plan these things.
A lot has to do, I think, with the fact I recycle, where you can't believe the stuff you have to drive over to dump a truckload of stuff. Another thing is that I help everyone in the neighborhood. And I pull over on shoulders at times, to help people who have flats.
All these places have "debris" on the macadem, which can lodge into the treads.
But to directly answer your question, about five patches should last me about a year or so where I don't want to store the sticky rubber longer than that.

Good for you! That means you don't have nearly the experience that I do. Lucky you!

That's a very *deep* and *emotional* topic for many. Ever wonder why Goodyear and Schwab and America's Tire do "free" tire flat repair?
Ka-ching!
All follow RMA recommendations, which will fail a tire if two patches are on the same line, if they're too close to the edge, if there is fluff inside, if the hole is angled at greater than about 45 degrees, if the shape isn't easily patched, if the tread is worn down to a single wear bar, if the rim isn't in perfect condition, etc.
I would *love* know what their failure rate is for the mom-and-pop who innocently brings their tire to be fixed for "free" and they're left holding a rim in one hand and a tire on the other because the shop will almost always *refuse* to put it back on the car.
Then I'd love to know how many people buy whatever tire is in inventory at the tire shop, because they just want to get the car back on the road (a lot depends on their willingness to use the spare but they still need the flat fixed at some point relatively soon so they cave in to the current hard sell at the shop because it's a PITA to bring a car to the shop for many people).

Surprisingly, they work just fine to hold the air in and to protect the treads from doing further damage inside the thickness.
But you don't get the same satisfaction from doing the job right.
It's the same difference as making your own salad dressing with first-press olive oil versus buying the slop in the grocery store made out of God knows what.
Both work fine as salad dressing - but one is done right. And that just feels right.

About a year ago or so, I went to a shop to ask them where to get the black goop they put on the *inside* of the tire, and they gave me an almost finished can of that, plus they dug their hand into their patchplug bin when I asked what size they use most for passenger car tire flats.
Out came five patchplugs, which I used up during the ensuing year. I don't want to ask for freebies again and they don't sell them.
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On 10/24/2017 12:48 PM, Blake Snyder wrote:

I'm truly impressed. You have a nice set of rules as to who can reply to you and you also have experience patching tires. Not may of us have your ability and yes, we are in awe of you.
I admit, I've never changed car tire. I just don't have your skills and ability so I won't go beyond fixing bicycle tires. Well, not the actual tire but the tube inside of it.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2017 13:15:40 -0400, in < Ed Pawlowski wrote: > I'm truly impressed. You have a nice set of rules as to who can reply

Hi Ed, The point was that there's no chance that someone who hasn't done it, will know the answer.
Take, for example, sex with a woman.
Two people are in a bar (which Usenet approximates), one of whom has had sex about two dozen times, while the other has *never* had sex even once.
One guy asks what's the best way to get the woman off, and the other offers what value on the topic? Doesn't he have to guess?
Now, maybe his guess is good and maybe it's not - but it's just a guess. It would be better to find someone with experience to ask the question of.
Do you see my point?
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On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 12:48:48 PM UTC-4, Blake Snyder wrote:

The difference of course is that a hole digger is about the size of a shovel, sits easily in the corner, and doesn't have to be mounted to the garage floor. Tire changing eqpt is large, bulky and does have to be floor mounted. And if I had the need to dig a bunch of holes, I'd rent a power tool.

It's not the cost, it's the size, bulkiness, they need to be mounted to the garage floor. And then that you need to BALANCE the tires after they are mounted. What's the point to having the eqpt to mount tires, when that's only half of the process?

I didn't make up anything.

The simple question was what makes a source for your patch plugs a good one. You said you've gotten handfuls from local shops for free, you said you know where to buy them 5 at a time online. So, what's the problem? Without knowing what criteria are required, it can't be answered.

It's not my first thing. My first thing for a simple nail is a rope type plug, without taking the tire off the car. Been there, done it, it works.

If you're so experienced, why don't you know where to source the patch plugs?
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On 10/24/2017 1:20 PM, trader_4 wrote:

Last time I had a tire plugged/patched is about 5 years ago. In 56 years and 25 cars of driving I'd not paid out enough for tire repairs to justify buying any equipment. I do have a tire pressure gauge though.
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On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 1:35:38 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Similar experience here. I've had about 3 tire problems in maybe 15 years. One was when I drove over a short piece of nipple type pipe on the road, it instantly deflated it. That was the end of that tire. The other two were simple nails in the middle of the tread. Fixed both of those with the rope type plugs and they held up fine.
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2017 10:44:02 -0700 (PDT), in < trader_4 wrote:

There's nothing wrong with your words above, so my response is only related to the fact that an outside repair is something any professional will *laugh* at because it's not a *safe* repair in the eyes of the tire professionals.
To you and me, I agree with you that *it works*. I won't disagree since I've done it many times myself. And I'm not dead yet.
But you have to admit that no tire professional will do the job from the *outside*. You do know that, right? It's just wrong. And it feels wrong.
It works though. So I'm not saying that it doesn't work. But if my daughter needed a tire repair, I would not do it from the outside. For myself, I might.
But not my kid or wife or friend. For them, I'd do it right.
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On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 11:46:05 PM UTC-4, Blake Snyder wrote:

There are opinions all over the place about what the issue with just using a rope plug really is. The one that I think makes the most sense is people claim that the tire could be damaged on the inside by whatever punctured it and the only way to know for sure is to remove the tire and look. I can see that being a liability issue and tire repair shops want to make sure they protect themselves. It also depends on things that the shop doesn't know of has to rely on the customer for, eg was it driven with little air for a long distance, how far was it driven with something actually in it, if at all, etc. The repairs I've done with a rope plug were simple, small nails, that were still in the tire. If it was anything more than that, where I had reason to suspect the tire could be damaged, then I'd take it to a shop where it could be dismounted and checked. On the other hand, I've driven many thousands of miles on rope plugs, nothing happened. Nor do I know of any actual cases where anyone I know or read about had anything bad happen.
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On Wed, 25 Oct 2017 07:11:39 -0700 (PDT), in < trader_4 wrote:

As you know, everyone has an opinion, so yours is as good as anyone's, but I don't think you'll find any professional RMA document backing up any opinion that says you can safely do an external repair without *inspecting* the inside of the carcass.
It's like declaring a desk is solid oak just because it has a thin veneer.

I think you have too narrow an idea of what can go wrong with a tire.
For example, I hope Clare, who I think said he replaced tires, can tell you that you can literally grab handfuls of rubber "fluff" from the inside of a tire which was driven low for just one mile.

There are *lots* of things that can be visually seen once you remove the carcass. For example, maybe there are patches in the same line of the tread that you can't possibly see from the outside?
As I said, I think you are simply cherry picking one example to try to prove a point that you're the only one trying to prove.
I will repeat the facts that nobody here has disputed: 1. Professionals agree that you have to *inspect* the carcass 2. All of us have had 'successful' outside repairs
But because we got away with it, doesn't mean I'd do it for my daughter. For myself, I might cut corners. But not for my kids. Or neighbors. Or relatives.
It all depends on your tolerance for risk.

I have to tell you something you don't seem to know which is that driving with a tire just low on air can damage it in one mile. If you're repairing the tires of your neighbor, your kids, your relatives, are you sure they never drove on it with the air pressure low?
How did they even know they had a leak?
Generally they find it flat in the morning or it screams around turns, or the car feels like it's on ice in the summer, etc., but they're not experts and often they don't know how long they've had the slow leak.
Anyway, you're trying to defend a practice that nobody else is defending the way you're taking it.
I will repeat that *all* of us have reported we've successfully fixed a tire from the outside, just like we've all likely bought desks that were oak veneers.
But solid oak is better just as inspecting the tire and repairing from the inside is better.
For you to say this is just an *opinion* that the repair from the outside is as good as one from the inside is fine, but it's not going to hold water except in the most cherry-picked narrowest of circumstances which you concoct but which don't often happen in the real world to a tire that you're seeing for the first time.

Yup. Every one of us has had that experience. I've mostly seen screws for some reason; however the effect is the same for a screw as for a nail.
I've even seen a pebble wedge in a tread and finally penetrate the carcass, as I have seen glass do, and a bit of bent steel.
Most have been driven on for tens, hundreds, thousands of miles (who knows), before they actually penetrate to the inside and cause the leak that is finally noticed.

Nobody disagreed with you that *all* of us have successfully used the rope plugs just as most of us have bought oak veneer desks.
Solid oak is better.
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On Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 1:31:46 PM UTC-4, Blake Snyder wrote:

Not really. I've never seen a simple nail that goes straight in the tire near the middle of the tread cause damage that's beyond the simple hole. Have you?

You're unbelievable. Even when I agree with what you just said, you come back with more BS.

Where did I ever suggest otherwise? I even cited as examples that the shop doesn't know what a customer did with the tire. Personally, I know what I did with the tire in question and that would not include driving it for a mile with little air in it so it gets destroyed.

Again, I know if I've ever patched the tire before, it's my tire, I'm not a repair shop where idiots that drive tires flat for a mile or otherwise abuse them bring them in and I don't know what they did to it.

I haven't cherry picked a damn thing.

Keep repeating yourself if it makes you feel good.

You do as you please. I'll bet those same "professionals" would say that you should not be doing tire patching and plugging at home because you're not a "professional", aren't trained, don't know WTF you're doing. It's irresponsible and unsafe for you to be doing this as a service for neighbors. Your going to KILL someone!

Define "low".
If you're repairing

If you're repairing the tires of your neighbors, relatives, are you properly trained? Are you a professional? Do you have insurance? You're gonna kill someone! That's what your professional tire experts would tell you.

I see, so now you speak for everyone. You said you have plugged tires and it's OK. I plug a tire and I'm bad. Go figure. I can give you lots of cites from all kinds of people on the internet saying they have plugged tires using the rope plugs, driven them for years, never had a problem. So, obviously there are people defending it. And if it's so damned bad, why are YOU doing it? Why don't you go start a campaign to stop stores from selling those rope plug kits?

Again, speaking for everyone? Who exactly is "all"?

Coming from the guy who says he has done the same thing. Go figure.

Maybe you should move or stop driving wherever you pick up so much stuff. I've had about two, maybe three flats in 15 years.

Speaking for the whole world again?
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On Wed, 25 Oct 2017 10:53:07 -0700 (PDT), in < trader_4 wrote:

This is true that you may know your car's tires since you put them on and you were the only one who drove your car, but, I have kids who drive my car, so I can't tell what they did with my tires.
If you're the *only* one to ever drive the car, then you know a *lot* more about each of those tires than anyone else does.
You can *still* have internal damage which is only visible from the inside, without knowing it from the outside; but the risk is much less for you.

If you're the only driver of the car, and you're the only one who had the tires patched, and if you've had the tires since they were born, then yes, you know a *lot* more than most people do about their tires.
Me? I just look inside since it's part of the repair process.
It's the same when the wife calls me saying she *smells gas* when the hotwater heater turns on. I go downstairs into the basement and I *look*.
Looking is a tried and true method of evaluating a problem set. It's the reason pilots walk around their airplane, isn't it?
You're *skipping* the *look* step, and that's fine. Remember, we've *all* done it.
It's not the "proper" method; but we've all done it.

I agree with you that the pros always tell you not to open your breaker panel, and not to touch the furnace, and not to do your own brakes, and not to climb on the roof, and not to risk cutting down a branch, and not to risk replacing your torsion springs, etc. when all of that can be done at home with safety in mind.
I don't know if you can find a reference stating that homeowners shouldn't mount their own tires though.
Do you know of a single reference on the entire Internet that warns people not to change their tires at home?

What are your facts on that assumption?

To all your questions, the proof is that you can ask me anything and I already know the answer.
Q: Am I trained. A: Yes. Of course. I know everything that can be found on the net, including everything that the professionals put out there (e.g., the RMA is a great resource). And I also know that almost zero tires are mounted correctly at the tire shops (for reasons that relate to business, not training).
Q: Are you a professional? A: See answer above.
Q: Do you have insurance? A: Of course. I have homeowner and liability and umbrella insurance, just like everyone does who owns a home with an attractive nuisance (a pond).
Q: You're gonna kill someone! A: I will tell you that I've watched many tire repairs and tire mounting and balancing and I've *never* seen one done by the book. Not one. I can list their mistakes off the top of my head, and you'd have to agree with me on them because they all make sense since they save the tire shop time, and time is what they care about greatly.
Q: That's what pro tire experts would tell you. A: Maybe. If they asked me questions and watched a repair, they might not.

You missed what I said. I said we all have done jobs the wrong way.
For example, do you wear goggles *every* time you use the bench grinder? Do you wear them every time you hammer in a cement nail? Do you always clamp down your work when you're using a chisel?
Now let me ask you a question ...
If you were showing your own daughter how to do that stuff, wouldn't you be more cautious about how *she* does those same jobs?

Nobody ever said rope plugs don't work in emergency situations. In fact, rope plugs are *perfect* under certain situations.

Let's take the point of selling rope plugs in stores. How do they sell them? As an *emergency* tactic, right?
You're on the road, in the middle of nowhere, and you have a flat, but the spare is flat, and you need to get going. What do you do?
Rope plugs are *perfect* for that situation, aren't they?
There's no way you can do a proper job on the side of the road; but you need to get going. So rope plugs are perfect for that task. Hence they should be sold in stores and kept in the trunk.
I have some in my own trunk. The fact that people use rope plugs in emergencies is a good use of them.

I've only fixed them from the outside when I didn't have the tools to fix them from the inside, but now that I have the tools, the only times I'm gonna fix a tire from the outside is when I'm stuck on the road and the spare isn't working for whatever reason.
Once you've done it right, you just feel better about it. It's the difference between a half-assed job and a great job.
You've felt that difference *many* times for *many* jobs, I'm sure, haven't you?
Let's get to the meat of this conversation. 1. You don't like changing tires and you fix yours from the outside. 2. I *love* the thrill of being able to change my own tires. And I fix them from the inside.
Why do you argue against that?
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I've had 2 flats on the road in 49 years - one of them in the Black hills of North Dakota at about -40 - (as well as 3 tire valves failing within a few days while on holliday)and have had a few go flat in the drivewy -or develop "slow leaks" - none of which were an "emergency". The one in North Dakota was on a tire that really should not have been fixed - it was pretty well worn - but it got me to Banff Alberta and back home to Ontario after having it repaired (JUST made it to a shop that could fix it before it got too low to drive on --- was looking for air to get me to the next city and I found the manager of the local Co-Op pulling into his driveway in his pickup truck at 7pm on Sunday night and he insisted on opening the shop and fixing the tire for me. Good western hospitality.)
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2017 21:59:51 -0400, in < wrote:

Almost everyone, including you, has replaced a tire, I'm sure, using the manual method, whether that be a car tire or a motorcycle tire or a bicycle tire.
The arguments are the same for all of them.
The only way to know if the patch is safe is to patch it from the inside.
Even so, the tools do more than fix tires. The tools replace tires too.
I'll guess that you've *replaced* tires a lot!
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On Wed, 25 Oct 2017 09:44:36 -0400, in < wrote:

You're the only one who posted, it seems, who knows what he's talking about because you have *done* the job (albeit using professional tools and not the homeowner tools - which are markedly different in every way).
The "time is money" argument can be said about *anything* you do around the house, from cleaning the toilet bowl to pruning the trees to mowing the lawn to fixing the hotwater heater.
Every time the time-is-money argument shows up, it's *always* really just another way of saying "I don't like the job".
That's fine. But you need to be true to yourself, since the time-is-money argument works for repairing the kids' sneakers and for replacing a broken window pane and for cleaning the gutters, etc.
The time-is-money argument works for *every* home repair, so it has *nothing* to do with this, the most basic of all car repairs, which is changing and repairing tires (which is about as basic as doing an oil change or replacing your brakes).
As for "who is responsible", that's another "odd" argument. If you wound your own garage door springs, who would be responsible? If you vacuumed your own pool, who would be responsible? If you chainsawed a tree branch, who would be responsible? If you replaced your brakes, who would be responsible? If you fixed a leak in the kitchen sink who would be responsible?
My point is that both the "time is money" and "who is responsible" arguments are non-specific ways of saying "you don't like the job".
And that's ok. Just don't lie to yourself. Be true to yourself.
It's OK that you don't like the job, but it's not ok to throw up imaginary hurdles which can be applied equally well to *any* job you ever did at home or on the car.
We get it. You don't like the job. That's OK.
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2017 13:35:32 -0400, in < Ed Pawlowski wrote: > Last time I had a tire plugged/patched is about 5 years ago. In 56

I can understand your argument that the equipment costs money while a proper and safe repair can be free if you go to the right place.
But you missed entirely the fact that the tools are used for *more* than just fixing flats. The tools are also used for changing worn out tires and for mounting different tires at different times of the year (if that's your shtick - but a lot of people just buy and store four additional rims).
The fact you missed that *obvious* point means (most likely) that you're not being honest with yourself, since you make the *same decision* about *all* your tools.
It's the same argument you can make for owning a leaf blower or not. It's the same argument you can make for owning a chain saw or not. It's the same argument you can make for owning a floor jack or not.
The leaf blower blows more than just the leaves out of your patio. The chain saw cuts more than just one branch a year that falls down. The floor jack lifts more than just your Ford - it also lifts Chevys.
The fact that you entirely missed that the tools are really bought to change tires, where fixing flats is just gravy, means simply that you don't like changing tires at home (which is just fine).
But don't falsely say the tools cost too much because, like all tools, they cost a lot less by orders of magnitude than it costs to pay someone else to do the job for you.
Name one tool that you own that cost *more* to own and operate than it would cost to have someone else do the job, if it's a job that you do about 10 times a year for your entire life.
I agree if tires were, like LED light bulbs, essentially permanently installed, then you'd never need to change them out. But you *do* need to change tires out every few years on *each* car you own just as a chain saw is useful for *every* tree that you want to trim and a floor jack works on every car you want to lift and a leaf blower works in any situation you want to blow air.
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