Losing mobility due to a puncture is never good, especially if you were not aware of the damage. While almost any sharp object left on the road can cause a puncture, most are caused by small nails and screws. Even though damage may be small, the steel belts now exposed to outside elements can be compromised if not addressed promptly. Repairing larger punctures and punctures to the tire's shoulder and sidewall area are not recommended.
Evaluating the damage the object caused to the tire, reestablishing an airtight seal of the tire's inner liner and completely filling the path the object took through the tire are the three main considerations when conducting a repair. Of the many repair solutions available, a mushroom shaped patch and plug combination repair is considered to be the best method of repairing a punctured steel belted radial. Shown below are examples of incorrectly performed repairs and the proper plug-and-patch method.
Repairs attempted without removing the tire from the wheel is improper. Without inspecting the inside of the tire for hidden damage comes the risk of returning a weakened tire to service. Punctures in the tread area that look repairable may reveal upon further investigation that the object that punctured the tire is long enough to cut the tire's sidewall from the inside. Without dismounting the tire, the hidden damage would have been missed. Also, repairs that don't completely fill the object's path through the tire is incomplete.
Be aware if your local installer says they can repair a tire in 10 minutes for under $10 dollars without removing it from the wheel, they aren't following the Rubber Manufacturer's Association procedures. A flat repair properly done follows the multi-step repair procedures and will take approximately 30 minutes. An improperly repaired tire driven at high speeds may suddenly fail, causing loss of vehicle control. Additionally, the use of an inner tube as a substitute for a proper repair generates additional heat and should not be considered.
To view installers in your area that can assist with your repair, view our Recommended Installers list.