When to Repair Tire vs. Replace It
Flat tires! Always an inconvenience, whatever the situation. And, depending on the type of tire, can cost a significant amount of money. So when it does happen it’s important to know if you can simply have it repaired or if it’s necessary to shell out for a complete tire replacement.
Repair or replace?
The first thing to understand about a tire repair over a replacement is that it can only be done in certain situations. Sure—repairs are cheaper. But this shouldn’t be your first consideration. And that’s because:
Your tires are the ONLY thing between your car and the road.
Faulty tires cause car wrecks, so safety should always be the ultimate priority.
Tire damage that CAN be repaired
The following situations can usually be repaired by a professional tire service:
- A puncture caused by a sharp object (such as a nail), as long as the damage is less than ¼” in diameter and is located in the tread area of the tire
- Multiple such punctures, as long as they’re a minimum of 16” apart
For those who like to get their hands dirty, it’s possible to carry out small puncture repairs yourself by using a plug. Larger repairs that require a patch are best carried out by the professionals, as it’ll be necessary to remove the tire from the rim. Home-made patches often fail to create a strong seal and will be prone to leaking air (or worse, a blowout)
However, a DIY tire plug should only be considered a short term solution. It doesn’t provide a permanent seal so it’s important to get the repair checked out by a tire shop or garage as soon as possible.
Tire damage that warrants a replacement
Safety is always paramount when it comes to tire damage. The following situations will always warrant a new tire:
- Any damage to the shoulder or sidewall of the tire
- Large holes anywhere in the tire of more than ¼” in diameter
- Evidence of any serious damage, such as tread separation or large gashes
Short term fixes
As well as using a tire plug for a puncture, another short term solution is a tire sealant or emergency inflator. Many new cars now don’t come with a spare tire. Instead, manufacturers provide one of these as a way to carry on driving so you can get to a garage for assistance.
It’s essential to understand that these are just for use in an emergency. You certainly can’t drive extended miles with them. Sealants are sensitive to temperature change and are also not friendly to a car’s tire pressure system.
The most important thing with any tire damage is to get it checked out by a specialist. Jiffy Lube is a household name and specializes in everything to do with tire health. Their friendly and professional staff will advise whether a guaranteed Jiffy Lube tire repair can be carried out or if a replacement is needed. And thankfully, because they’re located throughout the US, it’s easy to locate your closest Jiffy Lube and get your damaged tire back to full health as quickly as possible.