Many people resort to plugging tires that have gone flat since it is a cheap and quick solution and does not drastically disrupt their daily routines.
But is plugging a tire safe, and can it serve as a permanent fix? I’ve done the research about this, and here is everything I’ve found out!
Is Plugging a Tire Safe?
Driving on a plugged tire is safe, however, a plugged tire is considered an unreliable and temporary fix. It is not recommended for holes above 0.25 inches in diameter, especially if on or close to the sidewalls. In this case, customers should install a spare tire immediately. Plugging a tire incorrectly may also void its warranty.
If you want to learn more about how long you can travel with a plugged tire, when it can void your warranty, and much more, keep on reading!
How Long Can You Drive With A Plugged Tire?
Depending on the size of the hole and the quality of the plugging, you may be able to drive with a plugged tire for as little as a few miles and as much as several thousand miles.
However, keep in mind that the plugged tire is at risk of breaking down at any time while you’re on the road.
Because of this, it is best to replace your tires as soon as possible to avoid serious road accidents or blowouts.
Is Plugging A Tire A Permanent Fix?
Even if the plugged tire lasts for years, it is not a permanent and recommended fix since a plug only seals the hole enough to prevent any water or air from entering the tire.
It does not deal with small foreign objects that can sometimes get stuck in the interior of your tire, damaging it from the inside without any signs of weakness visible on the outside.
Gradually, this results in faster wear out of your tires, drastically reducing their lifespan.
In such cases, a permanent fix is made by demounting the tire from its rim, inspecting the interior, removing the foreign object, filling the hole with rubber, and sealing the inner line.
If you want to eliminate the risk of unforeseen road accidents due to a damaged tire, you should consider going for a permanent fix instead of plugging the tire.
Does Plugging A Tire Void The Warranty?
Plugging a tire the wrong way, such as concealing the hole from the outside only instead of doing it inside out, is very likely to void the warranty.
Because of this, any DIY approach to fixing tires is risky and it is better to seek professional help so that you can still claim the warranty even after plugging a tire as a quick fix.
How Many Times Can You Plug A Tire?
The number of times you can plug a tire largely depends on the puncture and condition of the tire. As a rule of thumb, a tire must not be plugged more than two times.
Additionally, if the damage is within 16 inches of the previous hole, then you should definitely consider replacing the tire with a new one.
When Should You Not Plug A Tire?
There are several situations in which you should not plug a hole in your tire and instead go for a replacement.
For instance, you should not plug a tire if its tread is worn below 2/32 inches or 1.6mm, which is the legal minimum limit for the tread depth.
You can use the Penny test to check if the tread depth is above this limit. Simply place a penny in your tire’s groove with Lincoln’s head facing upside down.
If you can see the top of the head, the tread depth is too shallow and you should replace your tires instead of going for a plug fix.
Additionally, you should also not plug a tire if the hole is on the sidewall or shoulder area since these holes rapidly damage the strength of the tire.
Other than that, another situation in which you should not plug a tire is when the hole is more than 0.25 inches in diameter.
Holes larger than this size should be fixed permanently from the inside to prevent the tire from breaking down in the middle of the road.
How Fast Can You Go On A Plugged Tire?
The safe speed at which you can drive your vehicle with a plugged tire depends largely on the quality of the plugging.
If the tire is plugged properly, you can drive at 80 miles per hour (128 kilometers per hour), but beyond that, the tire is likely to burst.
As a general rule, you should stay well below that limit to avoid any unforeseen accidents.
How Much Does A Tire Plug Cost?
Most workshops will charge anywhere between $15 to $30 for a tire plug.
However, note that the warranty period often covers small repairs such as plugging, so you should check with the seller to see if you can claim the warranty and get a free plug fix.
To know more, you can also read our posts on what are tires studs, sidewall tire damage, and how do nails get in tires.
Plugging a tire is not a safe solution for the long term and may leave you at risk of ending up with a flat tire in the middle of the road.
Keep in mind that plugging will not work if the hole is on the sidewalls or is greater than 0.25 inches in diameter.
Plugging may cost you about $20 at most workshops, but you can also get it done for free if your warranty covers it. In some cases, plugging a hole incorrectly may even result in your warranty becoming void.