Driving on an improperly repaired tire is dangerous. It can not only further damage the tire but can also allow its strength to deteriorate over time. An improperly repaired tire driven at high speeds may suddenly fail, causing loss of vehicle control. Continuing to drive on a tire with a slow leak may allow moisture to seep around the object and into the tire. This will reduce the probability that the tire can be repaired properly because the moisture will ultimately reach the internal steel and fabric cords used to reinforce the tire and possibly cause rust and loss of strength.
Many places that advertise free tire repairs or cheap tire repairs use what is commonly referred to as a “plug”. The plus is essentially a rubber cord soaked in rubber cement. Back in the bias tire days, this was the main way to fix tires because they not only had short life spans to begin with but there also wasn’t any metal in the tire. Modern radial tires (which do contain steel bands) should NOT be fixed this. Be aware that if the tire is fixed with a plug, it voids the manufacturer’s warranty and the tire is considered ruined. Many less reputable tire and repair shops still use this technique because its fast and cheap. Using plugs on road-going tires is actually becoming illegal in certain states. With this method, the tire doesn’t even need to be taken off the car to be plugged. This method is by no means proper, since damage often occurs inside the tire as well.
According to the RMA (Rubber Manufacturers Association), the following must be included in a proper tire repair:
◦ Repairs are limited to the tread area only
◦ Puncture injury cannot be greater than 1/4 inch (6mm) in diameter
◦ Repairs must be performed by removing the tire from the rim/wheel assembly to perform a complete inspection to assess all damage that may be present
◦ Repairs cannot overlap
◦ A rubber stem, or plug, must be applied to fill the puncture injury and a patch must be applied to seal the inner liner. A common repair unit is a one-piece unit with a stem and patch portion. A plug by itself is an unacceptable repair
At Vermont Tire, all of our tire repairs are done the proper way. This means the tire is taken off the car. It is then also taken off the wheel and inspected inside and out. The damaged area is cleaned and prepared and a two piece patch and plug is installed on the inside of the tire. The plug portion fills the puncture hole reducing the possibility of the tire’s steel cord rusting over time while the patch reinforces the injured area. This is the proper, legal way to repair a tire that won’t void the warranty, and will keep you and your family safe on the road for miles to come.