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Plugged tire safe

I had a tire plugged by a repair shop while on the road a couple

years ago. I asked if I needed to replace the tire and they shook it

off like it wasn’t necessary. Fast forward to a recent car appointment

and I was told my tire was dangerous because the puncture was close to

the sidewall. However, this is advice from a place that sells tires. Should I follow the simple mantra of “better safe than sorry”? See link for picture of plugged tire http://yfr…errypicthj

That tire plug is not a safe repair as it’s not on the tread section of the tire. A tire plug is considered a temporary repair until the tire can be removed from the wheel so a tire patch can be installed. And where that tire plug is installed a tire patch cannot be used. So what they’re telling you about the location and the safety concern with the tire plug is correct.


Thanks Tester. Off to get a new tire today

That’s practically on the sidewall. Really chancy.

You’ve gotten 2 years out of this tire?
That’s like 3 clicks at Russian roulette if you drive on the highway.

You should declare victory, walk away with your winnings and buy another tire, used if money is tight.
Get a pair of new tires and put them on the back if money isn’t so tight.

If it has gone two years without problems, there is no need to panic now…

I’ve never heard of a plug suddenly leaving the tire and causing a sudden “blowout”. Even if the plug did fail, it would manifest itself as a slow leak, and as long as you monitor your tires (as you should anyway) there’s no safety issue here. And if it were while a have no statistical data to back my statement, I’d bet that if it were going to fail it would have long ago…it’s been there for two years already.

IMHO it’s perfectly safe.

But, realizing that my experience is an infantescimally (sp?) small sample, I’ll ask the others here: have you ever seen a plug dislodge itself from a tire and cause a sudden blowout? Enquiring minds want to know.

I agree wholeheartedly. I ride my motorcycles mostly, and things with higher wheelcounts only when I have to. I’ve ridden thousands of miles on probably at least a dozen plugged tires. Yes, they can leak. But they do it slowly.

I try to carry a plug kit and itty bitty compressor with me always. (I have a tendency to take “nice long motorcycle trips”; like Austin to Fairbanks or Newfoundland and back). When I get a nail I fix it right there on the side of the road. Next gas stop I check it. If the pressure is still the same, it’s ok and in my experience will be ok for the life of the tire.

If it’s low, I try to re-plug it (I’ve had to do this maybe twice? in far too many years of riding.) Then check again next gas stop. Most bikes won’t go more than 150-200 miles on a tank, so that’s not too long. If it’s still leaking, it’s new tire time but there’s no hurry; just pump it up and go. I’ve never had a leaky plug leak faster than 10-15 lbs. low after sitting overnight. Keep an eye on it and pump it up when it needs it, and worry about getting a new tire when you get where you’re going.

The one important thing is to ALWAYS do your ‘preflight’ checks. Tires, gas, oil, chain (not relevant to cages, I know) lights… It only takes a second and it just may save your life.

Ditto on the preflight checks. They’re every bit as important in a car as they are in an airplane. And much less intense.

i could not tell you how many tires i have seen fail because of a plug. i have over 40 years in the tire business. you my good man were very lucky that the tire did not blow out. do you know why we now have TPMS in cars and lt trucks? it is because too many people can not tell when a tire is going down. even with a sensor we see tires run flat [ no air in them ] daily. buy a new tire or 2 and be done with it. think ford explorer

I recently repaired a puncture with a mushroom plug that I thought was the best that could be done. The mushroom plug developed a leak. The interior lining of that particular tire was not smooth but had what might be described as a 3D chain or crosshatch pattern for what purpose I don’t know. I repaired the puncture again with a rope plug that is commonly available from WM or car part stores and it has held for a couple of thousand miles so far. I doubt that an interior patch would have done better and possibly worse.

The post describing making a new hole instead of following the puncture hole is right on. One way to help to do this right is to pay attention to the direction of the puncturing object as it is removed for when inserting the plug. An abrasion tool is included with the plug kit but I usually avoid using it.

I have used plugs for years going back to bias ply tire days and have had only one or two failures with rope plugs and one failure with a mushroom plug. The failures were not catastrophic but were simply a slow leak. A plug that develops a leak can be removed with a pliers and a new one installed.

After two years of plug success, you should be concerned enough to laugh at it. I would worry more about the tread wear.

“Perfectly safe?” Hardly! Plugged tires do not perform at the same level as unrepaired tires.

Plugs have been known to leak - my best estimate: about 10% of the time.

Plugs have been known to suddenly blowout. It’s rare, but it has been known to happen.

Plugs do not reinforce the damaged area. Well made patches do. (Note: There are patches that do not and those should be avoided.)

For this reason, plugs are considered temporary and the only recognized repair method for passenger car tires is a plug patch combination.

I told you the iissue never ends. This dialogue is exactly the same as in the story I related when a group of mechanics at one of my employers started talking about the pro/cons of plugging. Some thought it was the most negligant thing in the world that could possibly be done and others related stories of years of use with no issue. I will say the “years of use with no issue” people had many more examples of “no issue” usage that the “negligent” people had of catastrophic failure (which was none).

The same debate goes on on every car site you can find. NHTSA officially frowns on plugs, but yet the internet is full of authoritative sites that say plugs are fine. No data curves exist as to the integrity of plugs. The only things about plugs that are universally excepted is that they’re widely used and that they’re not a reliable repair in sidewalls.

Quotes from CapriRacer: "Plugs have been known to leak - my best estimate: about 10% of the time.

Plugs have been known to suddenly blowout. It’s rare, but it has been known to happen." Unquote.

I’d mostly agree with the leak percentage; possibly a little less. That has happened to tires that I have plugged so, as I said, remove the old plug and install another or install two plugs if the hole size permits.

Stating that plugs have been known to suddenly blow out is fearmongering. I have never heard of it but it may not be impossible if the puncture hole is much larger than a nail would make. Tires have been known to blow out too but you don’t stop using tires.

I agree.