I have a chevy HHR that is less than a year old. One of the tires has picked up a screw in the tread and the tire dealers say it is too close to the side wall to be plugged. They say I have to get a new tire. One tire store told me he could patch it from the inside. I put some tire sealer in it and it is holding air now. We will be taking a long trip this summer and I am afraid we may have a problem. What do you advise.

I would replace the tire with the same brand that came on your vehicle. I encountered the same problem on my Chevrolet Uplander–picked up a screw in the tread and it was too close to the sidewall to be repaired.

Don’t use that patched tire on your long summer trip. You really do need a new tire for that kind of driving. Your car will be loaded down and you could be on a hot Interstate in Texas or California when the tire gives up the ghost!

For the peace and safety of your family, get a new tire well before your trip, check out the car, especially the cooling system.

You can’t totally avoid problems on the road but you can greatly minimize the chances of them occurring. I carry one of those tire sealing bombs, but for emergency only.

Have a great trip!

Safest solution is a new tire. A patch on the inside is very likely to hold up too. How adept are you at changing a tire if it should go flat?

I’d probably go with a patch if it were my car. This issue is the tire tread stays pretty stable as the tire rolls along, while the sidewall flexes. More heat and movement in the sidewall can make a patch come loose.

The sealer won’t hold up for long. A plug probably won’t hold up either. There is a good chance a patch will hold, but not a certainty.

I’ve experienced blowouts while traveling at 70 mph on interstate highways. In each case I was able to keep the car under control, but it isn’t fun to change a tire in the breakdown lane. In one case, it was on the right rear, so I was away from traffic. In the other case, it was on the left front. Fortunately, I do have AAA so I had them do the work. In the second case, AAA said it would be about an hour, but the driver showed up in 20 minutes. Even so, sittinhg in the breakdown lane isn’t my idea of fun. Get a new tire.

I’d play it safe and get the new tire. Make sure you let the tire dealer know you used tire sealer because some of them won’t work on a tire after that’s been done, due to the mess it creates and due to the fact that some of them are explosive.

This is one of those questions, the answer to which depends completely on who is driving the car. If it were mine, and I were the driver, I would keep driving it just as it is. If my wife or one of my daughters were driving it, I would replace the tire.

The problem is that if it starts leaking, it will most likely be a very slow leak at first. The ladies in my house would not likely notice that it was low, so they would drive on a tire with low pressure, which can lead to excess heat and catastrophic failure.