How Do You Know If a Tire Needs a Patch or Replacement?

Flat tires can be a big inconvenience, but what many drivers want to know is whether their tire needs to be replaced or if the puncture can be repaired. Tire repair is tricky business and few kinds of punctures can be repaired safely. While buying new tires may be more costly, it may be much safer than patches and plugs depending on the location and size of the puncture. This guide can help you determine if your tire needs a patch or a replacement.

In order for punctures to be safely patched or plugged, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Punctures must be within the tread area, not on the edge or side of the tire.

  • Punctures must be smaller than ¼ inch in diameter.

  • Punctures must be quickly identified, with no significant loss of air pressure.

If you aren’t sure whether your tire can be repaired, visit the specialists at V&F Auto Inc to have it professionally inspected. Returning a weakened tire to service can be very dangerous and lead to potential blowouts. If your tire has unfavorable signs of wear, it is probably safer to replace than to repair.

The following kinds of tire damage should be replaced, never repaired:

  • Punctures on the edge or side of tires.

  • Punctures larger than ¼ inch in diameter.

  • Tires with missing tread, cracks or other evidence of significant wear.

  • Tires with damage to the inner liner.

  • Long cuts or gashes.

  • Repeated damage. Do not repair the same puncture twice!

  • Punctures that have not been promptly addressed.

Some tire punctures may feasibly be repaired safely, but some simply cannot and the tire must be replaced for the vehicle and driver’s safety. It is especially important to catch punctures as soon as possible, since prolonged driving on tires with low air pressure can further damage them beyond repair. Some kinds of serious damage may only be visible from the inside of the tire, so be careful to check all parts of the tire after impact with nails, screws or other road debris. Tires that are already worn beyond ideal standards before punctures should not be considered for repair.

Written by Nicole Palange

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