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Flat Tire>plugs Vs Patch


Old 12-07-2002, 12:05 PM
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Flat Tire>plugs Vs Patch

The other day I found a screw in my tire. It was about ¾” from the edge of the tire. I took it to 2 tire shops & they both said they could not patch it. They said a gas station would probably plug it for me. I have never liked plugs. What do you think of plugs? What are the advantages/disadvantages? Do I have to get a new tire?

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Old 12-07-2002, 12:28 PM
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I have worked in a tire shop for about 3 years and I've never had problems with plugs. I trust them as much as I trust a patch. A patch can come off about as easy as a plug can. And as far as them not fixing it, I'd agree with what they did. I myself wouldn't touch that tire if you brought it to me. You can repair holes in the sidewalls because of all the stress that gets put on them. This sounds a tad too close to the sidewall for comfort. So if they fix it and their repair fails and you get in an accident they're liable.
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Old 12-07-2002, 06:00 PM
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I got a flat on my L while in Florida and the shop where I brought it said that it's against the law to put a plug in a tire in Fl. Don't know if that's BS or not, but needless to say they patched it. The hole(nail) was in the middle of the tread. Have driven 1500 miles (back to NJ)so far and no problem. We'll see how it holds up.
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Old 12-07-2002, 07:22 PM
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I've gotten quite a few plugs in my 85's tires. its a construction truck so it picks nails up on a semi-regular basis. they've all held up fine. i've never had one fail.

back in june i noticed a nail in the tread of my HD. it was about 1/2 inch in from the sidewall. i didn't think they'd be able to plug it cuz it was a pretty big nail too, but he did, and its held up just fine with a trip down to SC and back (22 hours total drive there and back) and ever since then. i'd say just get a plug and it should be fine rather than getting a whole new tire. thats what i would do
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Old 12-08-2002, 03:04 AM
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I prefer plugs, but thats probably because i plug my own tires for me and my family. Unless i happen to be in town near Big O, the warrenty usually covers those things.
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Old 12-11-2002, 02:28 AM
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I posted this in another thread ... but just so I don't have to retype it , I'll copy & paste

ok guys , 16 years of making tire for Michelin including a year and a half at Michelin Retread , I might be able to give a little insight ...

Don't use a plug ... it can let moisture in and allow rust to form in the belts which can lead to tread sparation

although almost any tire can be patched it is not adviseable to patch high speed rated tires

a patch can be anywhere in the tire except the bead area as long as it is properly installed

their are size limits to a repairable area , but you and i would never consider repairing some of the repairs I've seen, but a trucker that has to pay up to $350 X 18 tires plus a spare , and expects to get 700,000 miles or more out of his tires has little choice to be cost effective and maintain a profit margin. ( steer axel tires on big rigs are NEVER patched)

most all passenger tire patches are a "patch/plug all in one combo" this is not the old type plugs of the past

make sure the shop is installing a "Raidal Reinforced Patch"

if you can , watch as they install ... they should ream out the nail hole with a high speed drill with a bit that makes a slightly bigger hole and removes all the frayed wires and any rust ... then they should use a low speed drill to buff an area on the inside of the tire around the hole that the patch will adhere to ... after the area is cleaned a black rubber/solvent will be brushed inside the hole ... then a glue/slovent will be applyed to the area around the hole ... 10 minute drying time ... then the backing on the patch will be peeled away without touching the backing ... the plug part of the plug/patch combo will be pushed or pulled through until the patch part meets the glue ... then a hand tool roller will be used to roll all parts of the patch down and remove all the air bubbles ... the tire should be mounted back on the rim and reinflated and put in a water bath to check for leaks ... if no leaks , the plug part sticking out of the tread will be trimed ... then mount and balance the tire ... good as new ... check around most large tire dealers will do this for FREE
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Old 12-11-2002, 02:54 PM
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cyberhiker, very nice post, and i dont mean any disrespect at all, and it would be nice if every shop fixed tires like you pointed out.

that being said.

i plugged tires when i had to since i have been driving (over 20 years). during this time frame i have also brought tires to shops to have them patched when convienient.

i have asked to have tires patched, and then watched as they plug the tire (without taking it off of the rim).

i have also never had a problem with a plug i have put in myself.

recently i purchased a product called 'safety seal' which is a real nice plugging kit. its built to last, and i have used it since the purchase. depending on where you are, and the time of the need, this plugging kit can come in real handy.

i think that in order for something to oxidize you would need 3 things, moisture, air, and a metal. i would hope that the belt inside a tire would be sealed enough to eliminate the 'air' factor (arent't the belts wrapped all nice inside the rubber?). again i have plugged tires before and have never had a follow up issue with the tire after doing so, and i can sleep easy with what i did.

Last edited by billycouldride; 12-11-2002 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 12-15-2002, 11:45 PM
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Location: Poplar Bluff, MO
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I work in a tire shop and the best thing to do is to have it patched. We use what is called a minicombo which is a plug style patch. What we do is drill out the hole so that it is round. This keeps the hole from tearing or spreading further and cleans the metal belts out of the way. The plug part fills the hole to keep water from getting inside the steel belts and rusting them which causes belt (tire) separation and the patch covers the hole. This is the best way to fix a tire. I have never had a tire come back bad from this repair. But if a tire store is closed, use a string plug for temporary use.
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Old 12-16-2002, 07:33 PM
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cyberhiker states:
>>"Don't use a plug ... it can let moisture in and allow rust to form in the belts which can lead to tread sparation"<<

OK, I don't understand. If a standard patch is on the inside of a tire, how can it prevent moisture from coming in through the hole and getting to the belts?

If moisture can penetrate a plug inserted from the outside of the tire, what keeps it from penetrating a patch/plug combo inserted from the inside?

Believe me, no disrespect is intended toward cyberhiker, it just doesn't make sense to me and maybe I'm just missing something.

BTW for what its worth, I've used Wal Mart rope type plugs on my vehicles for years and have never had a failure or leak. They cost about 25C and 5 minutes compared to $10 and a couple of hours or longer for a patch. (unless you have your own tire machine)

I've patched and plugged hundreds of tires in previous jobs including Texaco, Ford, and Wal Mart, and like everyone else here said, we never repaired holes off the tread. There's just too much flex in the sidewall, and repairs there just won't hold. Only way to salvage a tire like that is is a boot and inner tube
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Old 12-16-2002, 09:24 PM
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I would like to thank everyone for the replies. That’s what makes this site so great. Everyone’s opinion counts>>>>>>>>>> I plugged the tire & have a new one on deck for an emergency. I will keep a close watch on the tire & leave it on the rear.

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Old 12-16-2002, 10:35 PM
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I agree with Cyberhiker, that is the best way to do it. My wife had a flat on her Windstar a couple of years ago. It was late so I took it to Wally World's tire & lube shop to get it fixed. The tire was nearly flat again by the time I got home, less than 3 miles. I took it back and watched them try to fix it again (at one point the tire was on fire!) and again it was flat when I got home. I went back and ripped the guy at the shop a new one and have not been back since. I took it to the local tire shop the next day and the guy patched it just like Cyberhiker said and it was fine for the rest of the time we owned the vehicle. He said Wally World really made a mess of it. FYI when I asked the guy who fixed it (not the owner of the shop) how much I owed him he said $8 and he put it in his pocket, later I found out that they usually do it for free.
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Old 12-19-2002, 10:46 AM
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in regards to the confussion ... the rubber plug you get from wally world is simply a rope rubber that you shove through the nail hole which would have at least a few broken wires because the wires are spaced about a millimeter apart ... those broken wires will start to fray and allow air and moisture in . You may recall another Firestone recall about 15 years ago ... the Firestone 721... anyway the 721 refered to the wires , 7 wires wrapped by 2 wires wrapped by 1 wire ... this 1 wire tended to unravel or become loosely wrapped before being incased between 2 sheets of rubber ... then as the sheets of wire and rubber were cut into belts the ends would fray , allowing air and moisture in ....

anyway ... the difference in the patch/plug combo is that the hole is cleaned out and treated with a chemical concoction that allows the plug part of the combo to bond with the rubber...

now having said all that .... it is true that a regular plug may work perfectly well and may out last the life of the tire itself ... but consider this ... at 70 - 80 miles an hour the contact patch on each of your tires is about the size of your hand ... tires are the most abused piece of equipment on your truck and also the most critical safety equipment !
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