Flat tires are never convenient. Whether you discover a flat tire when you’re on your way to work in the morning or have a tire go flat while you’re driving, you’re looking at doing some work to get it fixed, no matter what you do.
When it comes to a damaged tire there are usually two options: repair, or replacement.
In some cases, you might not have the option of repairing your tires. If the sidewall is damaged at all, no matter how small the damage is, your tire can’t be repaired.
But tears of up to ¼ inch anywhere but the sidewall can usually be legally repaired.
That said, just because your tires can be legally repaired doesn’t mean that that’s the best option.
Are Tire Repairs Worth It?
In some cases, a tire repair is probably a reasonable option. For very small tears that are smooth and easy to plug, a typical repair is going to be a lot more effective and safer.
However, small but ragged tears can still be legally repaired, even though the repair is likely to be less stable than a clean tear repair would be.
That’s one reason some tire shops recommend replacing tires that have had a screw through them, even if the hole is small enough it’s still repairable. Screws usually create more of a ragged tear compared with nails that usually create a smoother hole.
Even though repairs are almost always the cheaper option, it’s often a good idea to consult with the mechanic or repair technician to see whether they think the repair is will be a good idea.
When Replacing Your Tire Is A Better Idea
Even if a tire repair is likely to be stable, repairs usually reduce the life of your tire.
That means that in some cases, tire repairs aren’t a great idea and it’s better to replace your tires.
The most common reason to replace your tire instead of repairing it is if your tire is getting close to the end of its life anyway. If the tread is starting to wear thin, or the tires are already several years old, you might be better off replacing the tires instead.
That’s because old rubber and thin tread are both problems that are likely to make the repair less stable.
You might also want to skip the repair and replace instead if you’re about to go on a long road trip or spend a lot of time on the road. Repairs are great for average commutes and normal use, but if you’re going to be traveling hundreds of miles on your next trip you probably want new tires so you aren’t risking the repair blowing.
Should You Risk Home Repairs?
There are plenty of home repair and patching kits for tires, but we don’t typically recommend them. Those patching kits are less reliable than a professional repair and can cause serious problems if the patch isn’t applied properly.
Instead of risking a repair that might blow out as soon as you stress the tire, take your damaged tire in to be professionally evaluated and repaired.
Looking For A Mechanic?
Need a consultation on a flat tire, or someone to help take care of your vehicle? Schedule an appointment with Ethan’s Honest Auto, today.