If you have been driving for any length of time, you have probably experienced tire failure of some kind along the way. Flat tires, blown tires, shredded tires, anything is possible on the open road. Tire repair comes in many shapes and forms and is all dependent on the actual damage to the tire. With most simple damages, a tire can be repaired with either a plug or a patch. But which is the better option?
The Tire Plug vs The Radial Patch
What is a tire plug?
A tire plug is a long piece of malleable rubber that when inserted into a puncture on the outside of the tire, will expand and trap air from getting out. Tire plugs take very little time to install and can be done without removing the tire from the wheel, and in some cases, while the tire is still attached to the vehicle. A tire plug is very expensive and the repair can be completed within minutes. Many swear by tire plugs and say they can outlast time. But there are conflicting opinions on this tire repair process.
What is a radial patch?
A radial patch is a flat piece of rubber that is placed on the inside of a tire to repair the damage. The “radial” refers to radial type tires which make up almost all of the tires on the road today. Radial patches require the tire to be removed from the vehicle and the wheel. Once off, the patch is applied on the inside of the tire over the puncture or tear. As the air pressure is put back into the tire, the patch expands and melds to the tire rubber forming one solid piece. This process takes a bit longer than a tire plug repair.
So which tire repair is better?
With so much conflicting opinion and information regarding tire plugs and tire patches, the choice is yours. Both will fix and maintain a nail puncture or tear in the tread of most tires. Sidewall damage can sometimes be repaired by a radial patch but sidewall damage usually means replacing the tire entirely.
The most important thing to remember is that any tire damage should be repaired immediately. Even if your tire is still holding air but has a small leak, you should take it in to be inspected. Small damages can lead to disastrous ones and cause harmful accidents that you want to avoid. Your tires need to be checked and maintained on a regular basis for damage, wear and tear, and lifespan.
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