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Tire Safety Question

Hi there - I have a question for all of you people who know something about cars/tires!

The other day, I arrived at the store and noticed my passenger side rear tire was almost completely flat. No idea if the damage happened on the way, or if I set off with fairly low pressure. I had just been driving on the interstate (!) although I didn’t feel/hear anything strange while driving. I refilled the tire and the pressure gauge on my little pump read VERY low, <10 psi.

From everything I read online, I was certain the tire was destroyed and afraid for the rims. I took it to the tire shop, explained what had happened, and - to my very great shock - after inspection they said they could repair the puncture and I’d be good to go. Great! But I was halfway-watching them while they were working, and I never saw them remove the tire from the rim…which made me a bit paranoid that maybe they didn’t fully check for the sidewall damage I read about online…

So my concern: can I really be sure there’s no sidewall damage from driving on the almost-flat? Should I be worried, or drive along on my merry way?

Edited to add: to my knowledge, these are definitely NOT run-flat tires. Regular old Firestones on a RWD sedan.

Very few tire shops will repair a tire if they even suspect it is marginal . The liability is too great . I guess your vehicle does not have the tire pressure monitor system so it might be a good practice to just look at your tires and check the pressure more often . As for not removing the tire they can be plugged while still on rim .

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Yes, sounds like it was plugged. I’d prefer they also put in a patch. You might take it to a tire shop to have it dismounted, inspected, and patched.

How many miles on this tire? How old is it?

Thanks guys! Absolutely correct that my car has no tire pressure monitor system and that I should check them more often than I do. It’s a good wake-up call.

I would say the tire has around 25-30k miles on it and is under 2 years old. It wouldn’t kill me to replace it, but it’s definitely got some life in it yet - assuming the sidewall is safe, that is!

Also, I may just not have been watching closely enough, because I looked on the shop’s website (Discount Tire) and allegedly patching is always part of their repairs. If that’s the case, I take it the tire did come off the rim and they would have seen any damage?

The tire should have been removed from the wheel to repair it properly.


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To answer the original question, there is a small chance that the tire was damaged enough that it could fail at a later date. What you want to look for is a vibration that gradually gets worse over several hundred miles. If that happens, go directly to the tire shop and get it replaced. Don’t wait!!


Thanks everyone for your input and advice! I’ll definitely keep a lookout for any unusual vibration.