Can this tire be repaired?

This is the rear passenger side tire on a friend’s 1999 Mazda Miata. He checked the pressure Saturday, and noticed that it was down to 18 while all the others are 32. We then discovered the nail in the picture.

He wanted to have it repaired but his mechanic is on vacation so we went to a Mavis and the guy said it can’t be repaired, then immediately tried to sell us a tire. My friend is an MD and I jokingly told him to get a “second opinion.”

This was a new tire last summer, and within a week was flat, having been driven over another nail. That was dead center so the repair was quick and easy. This one looks close to the edge but I’m not sure.

Thanks in advance.

It is on the borderline as it is rather close to the sidewall. My rule on a tire like this is “When in doubt, throw it out”.

Ii agree that the nail looks to be right in he shoulder, between the belt and the sidewall, and that makes a repair iffy. That area flexes more than most. Personally, I’d try repairing it. If it begins to leak again, it’ll be a slow leak and not a catastrophic failure, and you can get a new tire at that time. For me, based on my own experience, a simple plug is worth trying. I recognize that many say a plug alone won’t work, but I’ve plugged an occasional tire since 1967 and never had one fail.

There is nothing shown in the picture that would indicate that the tire cannot be repaired in my opinion. The tire should be removed from the wheel and inspected internally and if the inner liner is not damaged a proper patch, properly installed would be in order.

The puncture is in the tread.

So yes, the tire can be easily patched.


Thanks all. My issue with these chain tire places is that their goal is to sell you something. I agree with everything I’m reading here, including the fact that “when in doubt throw it out” isn’t such a bad idea. The regular mechanic, a great guy and an honest one, returns tomorrow. So we’ll get it over there bright and early and have him take a look at it.

Honestly, we wanted to make sure it wasn’t a danger factor. Slow leak, not so bad, big blow-out, not so good.

While I bet it could be repaired, I also bet that most tire shops won’t because it close enough to the sidewall to raise the question.

If the wheel/tire were removed from the car and dropped off at most tire dealers by a middle aged man wearing cover-alls driving a pickup I doubt thare would be any hesitation in repairing the tire quickly and without much discussion.

You will find that most tire shops go by the Rubber Manufacture Association standards so that tire is not repairable.

I have patched my own tires where ever the puncture may be but I don’t have the liberty to do so on a customers tire.

That picture is exactly why most shops won’t fix the tire. If the shop did, and the tire failed for any reason, exhibit one for the lawsuit would be that diagram, with a big “X” showing the nail’s location outside of the ‘Puncture Repair Area’. If I had a shop, I wouldn’t fix it. Not worth the risk.

I appreciate all the help. I definitely considered the litigation factor. We’ll see what his mechanic says about it.

What if you keep driving on it and you just keep putting air in it?

Sooner or later the tire will leave the driver stranded.

And can I speculate as to whose best interest the RMA is considering with that diagram? Litigation lawyers? High overhead tire dealers? The 60% of Americans who live pay check to pay check struggling to get by?

I’d go by the car parts store and get a ‘do it yourself’ tire plugging kit. Worth a try.

I don’t see a problem at all. I use a radial tire plug and have it patched inside at our local tire store and have done this many times with great success.

I have repaired nail damage like this more than once with no ill effects to my cars or the passengers.

If you do repair this tire, shift it to a front wheel. If the tire does suddenly lose air,you will have better control.

“What if you keep driving on it and you just keep putting air in it?”

If somebody was truly impoverished, I might think that your idea is an acceptable approach for the short-term, albeit not a wise one. However, since your friend is an MD…Do you really think that he needs to pinch pennies in that manner, especially when this situation could leave him stranded, or endanger his safety and the safety of others?

What if you keep driving on it and you just keep putting air in it?

Most people will get sick of that quickly. I’d plug that hole without hesitation.

It’s not a monetary issue. He’s one of these very chill people who will say something like “ahhh, I’ll just put air in it, not a big deal.” Believe me I agree to either fix it or have it replaced.

Regarding a kit, what does that cost and what’s involved? I mean, for $15 at the mechanic, I’m not sure I can see spending 7 bucks on a kit and jacking up cars.

I assume he has the money to replace the tire. Just replace the tire, liken it to an annurism, could be ok, could go out at any time. Is $140 or so a reasonable bet to insure no issues?