To Repair or Not to Repair

Dear Tracy,
One of my tires has been losing air and the last time I added air to it, I noticed what looks like a large piece of metal embedded in between the treads. A guy at work said a tire place should be able to pull that out and plug the tire, and it will be fine. My neighbor said that in order to be safe the tire should be replaced. Since my tires are not that old, I’d rather repair the damaged tire, but being safe is more important to me than saving money. Can you guys tell me which is better – repair or replacement?
–Debbie R.

Dear Debbie,
Crazy things can end up in your tires! We’ve seen it all here at our shop.  If your tires are not that old, the first thing you should do is check to see if you have a tire road hazard warranty. If you do, make sure you go to an approved location for your service, and bring all of your paperwork.

As to the question of repair or replacement, if your tire is in good condition, with plenty of tread left, there is no reason why a repair should not solve your problem. The plug your co-worker suggested should work fine, but there are some things to consider:

• Angle of the penetrating object – the straighter the angle, the better the plug will work

• Location of the puncture – plugging is most successful when the puncture is between the treads

A plug can be a fast fix, performed without even having to remove the tire from the rim. But there are some types of damage that cannot be fixed with a plug, such as a puncture near the side wall. In these cases, a patch plug can be used.

A patch plug is more labor intensive, because it has to be installed from the inside of the tire. If you want a sound repair, with an added level of safety, go with the patch plug.