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You may have had a flat tire before, brought in into a repair shop to have it fixed and been told that it needed to be replaced. If you’ve ever wondered what makes a tire unrepairable. We’re here to help you figure out if your tire should be repaired, or if you should look for new tires for sale.

Puncture or cut damage

If you run over a nail or other road debris and it punctures your tire, there is a specific area of the tire where a repair is possible. This area is on the tread face of the tire, between the outermost circumferential grooves (grooves that wrap all the way around the tire). Or, on tires with tread patterns that don’t have circumferential grooves, no closer than 2 inches to where the shoulder meets the sidewall. Also, puncture repairs are limited to holes of 1/4″ or less in diameter. Cuts are not repairable if they are deep enough to have cut into one of the steel belts inside of your tire.

Sidewall puncture: If the puncture is in the sidewall of your tire, you need to replace it. If you were to repair it, you would run the risk of the tire repair failing. This is because the sidewall of a tire flexes so much as you drive. A tire plug or patch can work its way loose after so many repeated flexes. Also, the air in your tire is pressing out on its sidewalls under the weight of the vehicle when you drive. Any weak spot on the sidewall of the tire will be attacked by the extreme pressure, and there is a risk of blowout at the spot where the repair was done.

Shoulder puncture: If the puncture is on the shoulder area of the tire, it can’t be repaired. As you drive, the shoulder area of your tire is under the most pressure and flexes the most out of any part of your tire. Also, the curve of the shoulder of your tire makes it difficult for a patch or plug to stay in place there. if you perform a tire repair here, it will likely work its way loose and fail. You risk a blowout by repairing a tire with a shoulder puncture, but not as high a risk as repairing a sidewall puncture.

Cuts and gashes: If you have a cut in your tire, it is likely not repairable unless it is 1/4″ long or less. Cuts can sever the steel cords inside the rubber of your tire that give it its strength. A tire repair in this case would only keep the tire from losing air through the hole, not restore the strength of the tire. It’s also hard for a patch or plug, which is designed to repair a round hole, to effectively repair a cut or gash. If your tire has cuts or gashes, it’s time t look at new tires for sale.
Driven While Flat or Low Air Pressure

If you drive on a tire that has too low of air pressure, or is flat, you can damage the tire beyond repair. When a tire is driven on low enough air pressure that part of the sidewall makes contact with the road, the inner liner of the sidewall will wear away and weaken the sidewall of the tire. This damage runs around the entire side of the tire, and cannot be repaired. The initial loss of air pressure might have been caused by a puncture or some other issue that a tire repair shop could have fixed, but driving on a tire with low air pressure will destroy it. Make sure to maintain the correct air pressure in your tires at all times by checking them at least once per month with a tire pressure gauge.
Severe Tire Damage

A tire that has been severely damaged in a collision or other impact is not repairable. This includes bulges, tread separation, slipped or broken belts, large cuts or gashes, bead damage, and tires that were knocked off the rim by an impact. If you have a tire with any of these problems, you must replace it.

Borderline Tire Repair Situations

When dealing with a borderline tire repair, it’s better to play it safe by replacing the tire. If your tire is in a condition that is at the edge of the line between being repairable and not repairable, and you have an option between repair and replacement, replacement is the safer choice. Any risk of a tire blowout is not worth taking.

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