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Can my tires be repaired instead of replaced?

Posted by Jarrett Ward on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 @ 09:51 AM


Are your tires looking a little rough around the edges, literally?  Is the tread looking low or even nonexistent?  How about punctures—do you have any nails in your tires?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to know whether you need to budget for new tires or if you can simply ask your automotive technician to repair them. 

The good news is that you’re in luck—if you have small punctures. 

Your mechanic will need to examine the tire to determine whether the punctures can be repaired.  After that, there are two methods for repairing the tire—either patching up the hole or plugging it:

  • Patching.  To patch a hole, first we must remove the tire from the rim.  Then we remove any objects that have punctured the tire.  Next, we scuff the inside of the tire, apply glue and a rubber patch, roll it to remove air bubbles, and glue it again to create an air-tight seal. 

  • Plugging.  This is a quick-fix, since it doesn’t require removing the tire, but it is not as reliable as patching.  First, we remove the object puncturing the tire.  Then we ream the hole and insert a plug.  In general, we recommend patching a tire instead of plugging it.  Patching will last longer and be much safer to take on the road.

When does a tire have to be replaced instead of repaired?

    • If your tread is low, your tires are ready to retire.  The guideline is 2/32 of an inch minimum of tread height on a tire.

      tire wear

  • If your tires are wearing unevenly, such as feathering or cupping, then they are in need of replacement.  Once tires are worn unevenly, even an alignment and rotation won’t be able to even them out.
  • If you have a puncture that is too large to be patched, then the tire is done.  Same goes if the puncture is located in the side wall of the tire—that is a part of the tire that can’t be patched or plugged. 

There is something that you can do to avoid having the problems listed above and that is to keep your tires inflated to the proper PSI.  We’ve discussed this before and it’s so important!  When you keep your tires properly inflated, they will wear more evenly, give you better gas mileage, handle better, and last longer.  We technicians say it a lot, but your tires are the only parts of your car making contact with the road, so you need to treat them well. 


If you ever need new tires, a tire rotation, or an alignment, be sure to bring your vehicle to Ward Automotive in Bel Air, Maryland.  We are a complete car care shop offering everything from routine maintenance to serious automotive repair,  engine work, and even autobody work through our sister company Bel Air Autobody.  We have proudly served our neighbors in Harford County for over 20 years.

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Topics: car repair Bel Air, Auto mechanic Bel Air Maryland, basic car maintenance, tire maintenance, tire rotation, tire pressure, tire safety tips, tire replacement, tire repair, tire tread, car problems, proper PSI, better gas mileage, improved tire wear, plugging tires, patching tires, tire psi guidelines