Most auto manufacturers now fit their new car models with a run-flat tire instead of a spare tire for drivers to continue driving when they get a puncture or blowout.
When driving on run-flat tires, you need to know whether they can be repaired or need to be replaced. But are you allowed to plug run-flat tires? Let’s explore this in detail.
Can You Plug Run Flat Tires?
Some run-flat tires can be plugged and patched. However, this depends on the tire manufacturer. Some don’t recommend repairs for these tires, while others offer warranties for tire replacement under specified conditions. Therefore, you need to read your warranty first to know whether you are allowed to repair the run-flat tire or not.
To learn more about how run-flat tires work and whether you can plug them to repair, keep on reading!
Manufacturers’ recommendations on repairing run-flat tires differ. While some companies don’t recommend any repairs, others specify what sort of damage can be repaired and offer a warranty for that.
But can you plug run-flat tires? This is one of the concerns for drivers who have these fitted on their vehicles.
Typically, a tire plug is a strip of leather that’s covered in a rubber compound, which gets inserted into the puncture hole to seal the inside of the tire.
Some run-flat tires can be plugged, which is done by putting a patch over the tire. However, this depends on the extent of the damage, the manufacturer’s policy, and the size of the hole or rupture.
Before plugging your tires, read your warranty carefully because some manufacturers advise drivers to replace run-flats with splits or change the entire tire.
Therefore, if you repair the tire, you void your warranty, and you might have to buy new tires and incur more costs if the speed rating is lost or the tire doesn’t perform as it should.
Additionally, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) provides safety standards when it comes to tire repairs. Therefore, before attempting to plug or repair the run-flat tire yourself, it’s better to consult a tire professional or your manufacturer.
Is It Better To Plug Or Patch A Run Flat Tire?
Once you get the puncture on the run-flat, you might be wondering whether you should plug or patch the tire.
Both of these methods serve as minor repairs after your tire gets punctured. However, they work differently.
With a tire plug, you simply insert a strip of leather to cover the hole. This method is faster and cheaper to administer because they are typically used after a tiny puncture from treading on a nail or screw.
On the other hand, a tire patch is when a piece of rubber with an adhesive back is stuck onto the inside of the tire. Although they are typically stronger than plugs, they require more work. You have to remove the tire from the rim and push the patch from the inside.
While both methods work for standard tires, you’ll have to consult your owner’s manual to confirm whether you can use either of these options on your run-flat tires.
Can Goodyear Run-Flat Tires Be Plugged?
Goodyear run-flat tires are only fitted to vehicles with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) so that the driver is alerted when there’s pressure loss to minimize the journey distance and find a place for tire repairs.
According to the manufacturer, their run-flat tires can be repaired but only by a qualified tire professional after a thorough inspection and analysis.
However, the company doesn’t repair tires if the sidewall area is damaged inside or outside, if there’s inner liner damage, tires have been driven at a low or zero pressure for a long distance, and if there’s any damage that would make a standard tire unrepairable.
If your run-flat tire is fixable, the company repairs it in accordance with the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) guidelines by either plugging or patching any punctures from the inside.
Can Bridgestone Run Flat Tires Be Plugged?
Since run-flat tires can become unusable due to a puncture, Bridgestone tire professionals inspect the tires first to determine whether they can be plugged or patched.
These repairs can be done depending on the amount of inﬂation pressure loss, location and extent of the puncture, and ambient temperature. However, they still recommend that you consult your vehicle’s manual before driving a car with a repaired tire.
Can Michelin Run Flat Tires Be Plugged?
According to the company, run-flat tires can be repaired the same way as standard tires. Therefore, if the tire is fixable, they can plug it for you.
However, the tire can’t be repaired if the sidewall is ruptured; therefore, you should consult a professional before doing any DIY repairs.
Are Run Flat Tires Repairable?
In most cases, run-flat tires are not repairable because they lose their structural strength, making them unsuitable for puncture repair.
If you choose to patch them up, they’ll likely puncture again down the line due to loss of rigidity and uneven wear.
For tires that have been driven in zero pressure or severely underinflated conditions, most manufacturers recommend replacement instead of repairs because the tire’s internal structure cannot be confirmed.
Additionally, most professionals who specialize in balancing and mounting tires find the construction of run-flats a bit hard to deal with.
Therefore, you might have difficulty finding a mechanic to repair run-flats because most auto manufacturers don’t stock them.
Most tire shops avoid repairing run-flat; therefore, you might have to wait for a few days if you need to replace a tire.
Because of such factors, tire manufacturers advise customers to reference the tire manual before plugging a run-flat-tire. The owner’s manual should act as a guide; otherwise, you’ll just incur unnecessary expenses.
To know more about flat tires, you can also read our posts on how long do run-flat tires last, if you can replace run-flat tires with regular tires, and how common are flat tires.
Run-flat tires have become very common in the latest car models; therefore, you need to know how to treat them when you get a puncture.
Before taking your run-flat tires for plugging, you need to read the vehicle’s manual, which recommends the proper guidelines.
While some auto manufacturers allow repairs on run-flats under specific conditions, some don’t recommend any form of plugging or patching.
Therefore, to avoid losing your warranty or jeopardizing your car safety, consult the auto manual first.
Additionally, most tire shops don’t stock run-flats; hence, you’ll need to wait for some time before getting a replacement.