Tire plugs done incorrectly - had to get new tires early

I bought new Falken tires from a shop in Los Angeles, guaranteed for 50K miles. A tire needed a patch about 15K miles later from a nail. I had it plugged at a shop near my home in Orange County. I have the paperwork from both of these incidents, with dates, mileage, etc.

On a roadtrip this month, the tire that had the plug was showing low pressure, so I took it to Discount tires in Flagstaff, AZ. The guys there said the plug had been done incorrectly - 1. that they put the wrong plug in for the kind of tires I have, & 2. they did not place a patch over the plug! The official language said “Tire not repairable- Non RMA repair was used.” So, I had to get a new tire, and of course 2 new tires as is always suggested. Basically my old tires that were guaranteed for 50K miles only had 25K miles on them when I had to replace them. I kept both old tires, and have the paperwork from Discount tires.

I feel I should be pro-rated the amount on the old tires, and refunded the improper patch job. What do you suggest?

We just discussed tire plugs not too long ago.

Some feel that a plug is never proper without a patch inside the tire also.
The manufactures agree with this also, but as pointed out…it could be more for liability.

Others like myself have plugged many tires (Dozens of my own) and only once was there a plug that failed, but that was too large a hole for the plug to fill. Many others feel plugs without an internal patch are fine.

I’ve never heard of a wrong plug, as far as I know they are all the same. Maybe someone can enlighten us, but I’ve only used the braided cord type of plug. I’ve seen rubber ones but have never dealt with them.

personally I get the feeling from your story that the AZ shop took advantage of the fact that you were traveling so far from home and insisted on selling you new tires.

I would have driven to the next little "Non Chain) repair shop for a second opinion. I presume they would have been glad to remove the tire from the rim plugged the hole and put an internal patch on it.

FYI; plugs can fail they are not 99.999999% fail proof.


When you purchased the tires, did you also purchase the road hazard warranty?


The official language said "Tire not repairable- Non RMA repair was used."

Well, this is a can of worms. It used to be, a rope plug was considered an acceptable repair. In today’s lititgious society, the “Rubber Manufacturer’s Association” (i.e. an org that sells new tires) recommends against them, and plenty of shops (like the one you stopped at in Flagstaff) are loath to deviate from these recommendations.

Plenty of folks, however, think there’s an inherent conflict-of-interest in allowing the guys who will sell you a new tire IF you old tire can’t be repaired, decide the criteria for when/how to repair a tire. (Full disclosure: I use rope plugs.)

What you did was the safest alternative…but I wouldn’t fault the first shop for trying to save you some $$. Heck, if they were local to me, I’d probably be inclined to do business with 'em!

Thanks @meanjoe75fan .

You explained it better than I did.


These days any shop the does just a plug without a patch is making a mistake. Sure it costs more, but a shop that can remove a tire should, and then plug and patch it.

FWIW, and if it’s true this should give you some leverage over the shop that plugged the tire.

About 5 years ago I took my MILS’ Civic to a tire store in Apple Valley, Ca. & asked them to plug a slow leak. I was informed that the state no longer allows shops to plug tires. I paid the extra few bucks to have the tire dismounted & patched.

I’ve never cared enough to research this, but if you find the above is true, getting a refund for the incorrectly plugged tire should be easy enough.

"a shop that can remove a tire should, and then plug and patch it. "

The only type of repair that I will allow on my tires is a plug/patch combination.

In a nutshell, various laws aside, here’s my take:

No tire manufacturer or tire industry organization approves of a rope plug only as a proper permanent tire repair.

There’s no way anyone can ever consider a plug a proper and permanent repair and guarantee it because without dismounting and inspecting the inside of the tire there’s no way to determine if there’s any damage to the inside of the tire, caused by either the object or by driving on a low tire.

I’ve plugged countless tires in my career, but only straight in punctures by round smooth objects more than an inch away from the edge of the tire.

Some people balk at the $25 it costs to patch a tire and simply want a plug put in “to get them home.” and will go to the place down the street to get it done.

You just can’t please everyone.

Just to give you an example of how a similar situation went for me;

Had a nail in the tire of my Mazda CX-9; the tires had 54K miles on it. They screwed up the repair (by their own admission) and it was still leaking. They offered a free replacement of the same tire brand/model. I had to pay for the second one as it had 54K miles on it and I wasn’t going to drive with mismatching tires on one axle. Now I wasn’t happy to need a new tire and also not being able to wait and change all 4 together (this is the 1st car I have done rotations on regularly!!), but then I know stuff happens, they botched the repair but at least they didn’t try and come up with some bogus excuse and blame it on me.

Rubber Manufactures Association protocol;

NEVER repair a tire that has an existing, improper repair (non-RMA repair); the tire must be scrapped.

If you take the old tire to the shop that plugged it asking for reimbursement they will probably tell you “tire plugs are great, we always use them”.

Rope plugs have been considered an improper repair for more than twenty years.

Thank you, these responses & info help a lot :slight_smile:

If the poor repair hadn’t been an adequate reason to demand replacement the shop might have compared speed ratings and aspect ratio size ratings to get them over the top. For far too many shops it’s a game of “gotcha” and they intend to win. That means the public loses.

Well, I’m a bad boy, I suppose

I’ve dismounted tires, removed leaking rope plugs, and installed a proper patch instead

Many times, in fact

If somebody wants to lecture me and pat himself on the back, fine.

But not one of those tires has come back to haunt me

And some of those tires have been in use for years, since my proper repair


"a shop that can remove a tire should, and then plug and patch it. "