Can this tire be repaired?

@philderbill If you mean, leave the nail in and just drive on it, bad idea. That nail could come out unexpectedly, leading to a rapid flat. And that nail moving around every turn could damage the tire cords. Find a shop that’ll fix it, or he should fix it himself.

Nevada_545 posted what the industry uses as a standard for repair now, if a shop were to deviate from that, they then assume liability in the event of a failure. Personally I would say its too close to the sidewall to repair, the old standard used to be anything within a inch of the sidewall was not repairable. , If it was mine I would replace it.

t'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."

Well, for all the talk about the “appropriateness” of a plug repair, “vulcanized rubber plug repair” >> “nail plug non-repair.” The two basic problems with a rope plug repair are: 1) does the (DIY) person doing the repair have the skills to do it well, and 2) was any internal damage done from driving on a flat/soft tire? As for 1)…keep a close eye on it for the first 100 mi or so. As for 2)…if the owner is the one doing the repair, he will know if the tire ever got very low. If not, there’s as little likelihood of internal damage as any other in-use tire.

@SteveC76 : How did a “tire-sellers’ guide to repairing tires” EVER get legally recognized as the Bible of tire repair??? I mean, the conflicts of interest are facially obvious…

I feel sure that the standards for repairing a tire are regional and model specific and possibly only apply in months ending in ‘r’. Or was it ‘y’?

And the single worst customer problem that I ever had was with a doctor. For someone with such a grand ego and sumptuous home a $200 repair on his car seemed to have caused him to send his children to school barefooted and hungry. People working for minimum wage were never such pricks.

@meanjoe75fan it’s been that way for years now. I don’t always agree with all the regulations in the industry now, but if you deviate from what has been accepted as a industry standard you assume liability. I have plugged hundreds of tires without issue over the years without issue, but now I only use the patch plugs. Times change and what was onece accepted is no more.

The tire repair supply service reps. have been teaching proper tire repair procedure for at least ten years here. Perhaps there are some places that don’t follow the standard or are unaware.

Well, what are accepted “temporary” repairs to a tire? I mean, new car MFRs have included cans of “fix a flat” as a temporary repair–and I would feel a lot better on a rope plug than a tire full o goo. This seems to argue that glop is an approved temporary repair.

Of course, you could always refer tire work to smaller, independent shops with less to lose…as much as this society skews towards rich folks, us poor fellas get the singular joy of effectively “opting out” of today’s litigious society (as I expressed recently, to the consternation of a few members!)

In all my years I’ve never seen a properly installed plug repair fail in a nail or screw hole. I should add that if one should fail, it would create a slow leak and not a catastrophic failure (blowout).

I recognize that the tire industry does not consider a plug acceptable. But if this nail were in my tire, I’d plug it and monitor it. If I then developed a slow leak, I’d replace the tire (since it is in a high-flex area). My bet is that it’d probably plug successfully and permanently.

I also don’t understand why the worst-case scenario (blowout) is considered tantamount to Spontaneous Human Combustion. I’ve suffered blowouts a handful of times in my life, including on a heavily loaded 24’ box truck (yes steer wheel), and the result was a BANG!, followed by a deceleration to a stop on the shoudler.

Granted, there’s the opportunity to panic and do something stupid–like yank the wheel/stomp on brakes–and die, but is rather controllable by any driver with sufficient discipline.

The only blowouts I can remember were from a screw having worked its way out on the highway and two from granite curbs.

The screw I had just discovered, but had not yet removed and plugged. My bad. I discovered it when leaving the office to attend a business function. I got to the function late and with wheel & lug nut dirt all over my hands.

The first granite curb blowout was because I was parking my truck and simply wasn’t paying enough attention and rubbed the sidewall against the curb joint, the second was on a “dark and rainy night” traversing a very poorly and totally unlit back alley, the two ends of which were not lined up. If one follows the first 3/4 of the alley, and keeps going straight, one drives up the sidewalk of the last 1/4 and then down off the granite curb. The two parts of the alley are not aligned. But it’s impossible to see in the dark in the rain.

The first, the lost nail, is what I would expect if the OP’s’ tire of he/she continues driving it with the nail in it.

For about a year, as a new addition was being put on our college, I got what must have been three or four slow leaks from construction nails and screws. Happened to me again when I had my house re-roofed. All were plugged, none had a subsequent problem. Made me wonder if a Geiger counter (oops!) metal detector would be worth buying to make finding the nails & screws easier.

There are opinions and actual experiences posted so far. I will include my actual experience. I had a tire with a nail puncture in the outer tread band plugged with a non-mushroom type plug. The tire person said no problem; it will be ok in response to my expressed doubts just to hear his response. The tire was ok for several thousand miles until it began to slow leak so that it needed air added every two or three weeks. I got tired of that as was mentioned by another poster and since the set was about 7/8 worn out, I replaced all four after replugging the tire myself as a final effort to salvage it. The TPMS system helped to keep in touch with the tire pressures. Good tires make your driving experience more pleasureable.

Allow me to explain the technical basis behind the Rubber Manufacturers Association tire repair limitations. Disclosure: I have sat in on the committee meetings where this has been discussed.

First, the sidewall area is not repairable because the movement of the sidewall is so complex, a repair is not likely to hold up.

The tread area is OK, except for the outer ribs. That’s where the belt edges are and the belt edges are the most highly stressed area of the tire. Damage in that area increases the risk of a failure.

It is recognized that tire repairs are going to increase the rate tires fail - because those tires are likely to have operated underinflated. Tire manufacturers would like to eliminate tire repairs altogether to minimize their legal risk. It is recognized that they can’t eliminate that risk, even if repairs are banned by the RMA.

  • BUT -

It is also recognized the tires are going to be repaired regardless of what the tire manufacturers say, so their best tactic is to encourage those doing the repairs to avoid the obvious problem areas: The sidewall and the outer tread ribs.

And lastly, plugs are considered temporary repairs as they have a higher failure rate than patch/plug combinations. Plugs don’t always seal - and while their failure rate is fairly low, it is orders of magnitude greater that the tires by themselves, hence the recommendation not to use plugs on a permanent basis.

I’d just plug it and I wouldn’t even take the tire off to do it.

Get a plug kit, park near an air supply with the nail head facing in a direction that allows you to get to it, let most of the air out. plug it, refill with air and you’re on your way. You can check that the plug took, if you bring a little contained of soapy water to dab on and if it doesn’t foam up, the leak is gone.

I’ve done dozens through the years with positive results with every one of them.


Let them eat cake.

“even if repairs are banned by the RMA.” - Capriracer

Unfortunately, far too many recommendations by good and well-meaning organizations such as the one you are a member of find their way into mandatory statutes or company policies. This is not the fault of the organizations themselves, and the companies certainly cannot be faulted for doing everything possible to eliminate liability opportunities, but it’s a reality that costs many consumers money and frustration. When I was younger, before everybody started suing everybody for everything, these recommendations would guide shops, now they become policy.

The only answer is total tort system reform… and who’s going to do that; legislators? They’re all lawyers!

Odds are the tire can be repaired and it will be fine for the rest of its life. However, any tire store that refuses should not get any blame for doing so.

The issue is the litigation one and the blame can be laid on the backs of the general public if a tire store refuses to patch that tire.

There was the lawsuit not many years ago in which a 100 million dollar judgement came down against a tire store and Goodyear I think it was over a tire patch.

The disgusting part in this is that there was no proof at all that patch had anything to do with the rollover and ensuing fatalities.
Given the accident happened a year after the patch was done and involved what could be an overloaded van crossing the desert in summertime I tend to think that underinflation due to not checking tires had more to do with it than the patch.

I understand that China has very few lawyers…we could borrow them a few thousand.
That should destroy their economy in short order…and without us firing a shot.
Maybe Iran and N korea could use some too.


This is going to go down as one of the all time classics.

I just got back from the mechanic. The nail in the picture, still there when I arrived at his shop, was, in actuality, a thumb tack.

Why were we losing air? The NAIL driven through the CENTER TREAD of the tire. In the dead center, where that chart says it’s OK to fix it. That nail was not visible, so that illusion of a nail/tack was drawing all the attention.

$16.29 later and we’re done.

Well, I definitely learned a lot, but now I feel like a moron.

I could have sworn it was a roofing nail.


@Yosemite Me too. Just a flattened tack head, hardly making a prick in the tire. There was a big nail driven into the center.