Leaky Tire – Repair or Replace?

flat tireDear Tracy,
I recently noticed that one of my tires is continually losing air, so I need to either repair the tire or replace it. I know that some places repair tires, but I have heard that the only safe option is to replace a damaged tire. I like the idea of repair because my tires are fairly new, however safety is my primary concern, so I am ready to buy a new tire if necessary. Is it okay to repair a leaking tire or should I just get a new one?
–Jacob B.

Dear Jacob,
If your tire is in good condition, with plenty of tread left, repairing the tire is definitely a wise option. There are two different ways to approach tire repair, depending on the nature of the damage.

A plug can quickly fix a tire, and can be installed without even having to remove the tire from the rim. Unfortunately, not all types of tire damage can be fixed with a plug. For example,  in the case of a puncture near the side wall, a tire plug is not a reliable option. If the angle of the penetrating object is relatively straight, and located between the treads, a plug should work just fine.

For other types of damage, a patch plug may offer a more reliable repair. A patch plug is more labor intensive, since it has to be installed from the inside of the tire. If you want a more dependable repair, with a high degree of  safety, a patch plug is a good option.

Tire repair is a great alternative to the expense of replacement. Just make sure you have your tire repaired by a tire expert you can trust. It is important that tire repair be done properly to make sure you are safe on the road. Also, don’t put off that repair too much longer. Tire damage that is unaddressed will only worsen, and eventually ruin the tire.