It’s tempting to try and repair a tire to avoid the expense of buying a new one, and in many cases, tire repair is a good choice. However, good tires are essential for your safety, so you need to ensure that any repairs done will be effective. Knowing whether or not your tire can be repaired can not only save you money but also help to keep you and your family safe.
Tires With Damaged Sidewalls
If you drove for even a short distance on a flat tire, it’s possible it won’t be repairable. This is because the sidewall of most tires cannot support the weight of a vehicle. Driving on a flat for more than just a few yards can damage the sidewall beyond repair. Likewise, a sidewall puncture cannot be repaired.
Also, bubbles and bulges sometimes develop on the sidewall of a tire. This is relatively common on travel trailer tires. Once this happens, you’ll need a new tire.
Your tire might have sidewall damage unrelated to your flat, such as the fine cracks related to sun damage. If this is bad enough, a tire shop might refuse to patch it up to keep you safe.
Tires With Punctures Beyond the Repair Zone
Punctures in the middle of the tire’s tread can usually be repaired. However, if the puncture is close to either the inner or outer sidewalls, it likely won’t be repairable, even if it is still on the tread. Only the center 80% of the driving surface of a tire is within the repair zone.
Even if the damage is within the repair zone, if it is too large, it won’t be repairable. Likewise, multiple punctures less than 1” apart will render your tire beyond repair. Finally, if the new puncture is too close to a previous repair, it can’t be fixed.
Tires With Other Issues
If your tire is old and has little tread left, it’s likely a reputable tire shop will refuse to repair it. If any of the steel belts are showing, your tire is definitely beyond repair. To put it simply, if your tire was old and unsafe before you ran over a nail, tire shops will refuse to repair it. This is for safety reasons, not because they simply want to sell you new tires.
Aside from these problems, punctured tires can often be fixed up at a tire repair shop. They’ll take a look at your tires and decide if the damage is small enough to be fixed, in a fixable area, and far enough away from other damage to preserve the integrity of the tire. Tire repair should be done by a professional to ensure that it is done correctly.
The good news is, most tire punctures can be repaired. But, if your tire cannot be repaired, a new tire can get you back on the road safely. It’s important that you know when to repair your tire and when to replace it. While new tires can be expensive, they will ultimately be cheaper than an accident caused by a tire failure.