What you need to know about tire repair
Only a trained tire service professional should make any repairs to your tire. If you’re confronted by the sudden appearance of a tire puncture, make sure to take your vehicle in for service. The reality is that there are certain times when it can be fixed and other times when it can’t. It all depends on the severity and location of the puncture, and you need your trained tire service professional to make this decision.
Trust the professionals
Proper tire repair should be done by trained tire service professionals who use USTMA and manufacturer-approved procedures. They will be able to accurately assess the state of your tire and its damage. A tire must always be removed from the wheel for a complete internal inspection. Remember the following when having your tire repaired by a tire service professional:
- A proper tire repair must include both a plug and a patch.
- Never perform a tire repair on-the-wheel.
- Never use only a plug or stem.
- Never use only a patch.
- Never use an inner tube as a substitute for a proper repair.
Improperly repaired tires can fail while in service (tread/belt separation), leading to an accident and serious personal injury or even death.
For more info on proper tire repair, see Service Bulletin 108: Puncture Repair Procedures for Passenger and Light Truck Tires and Service Bulletin 80: Hazards of Fixing Tires Filled with Aerosol Inflators.
The quarter-inch rule
This is very simple: never repair a tire with a puncture greater than a quarter inch or 6 mm in diameter. Also, never repair any punctures found on the tire sidewall. Puncture repair is limited to the tread area and only between the outside shoulder grooves. You should never repair a tire in the sidewall, shoulder area or outer tread area.
Unfortunately, you have to purchase a new tire if something damages your sidewall or is outside of the repairable area outlined in the image above. We can’t stress this enough: only a trained tire service professional should diagnose and make any repairs to a damaged tire.