Why are people nervous about tire plugs?


I completely agree. I will add that half of the vehicles on the road now flip really easily, That wasn’t the case in the 50’s or 60’s or even 70’s. The simple fact is an suv with a blowout is much more likely to flip than a car with a blowout.

Now a days if someone has a blow out they will realize something is wrong when the steering wheel jerks out of their hand and they drop their phone mid text. By then its too late. We also drive must faster now than we did then. There are people who complain here all the time about left lane hogs that are passing a semi and only going 75mph while doing it, meanwhile they are impeding ricky racer from going 85 or 90. I see it all the time round here.

I know tires are alot better now, but if you have a blowout at 85mph its alot more disastrous than a blowout at 55mph or even 65mph.

I also agree with @asemaster

One of our welders was driving his personal truck on the freeway when a tire suddenly went flat.

Apparently a nail that that been in the tread suddenly fell out

He was forced to slowly drive on it briefly (bad location) to get to the next exit, at which point he put on the spare.

I broke down the tire/rim assembly and I had to tell him the tire was a goner. So much heat had been generated when he drove on the flat for that 1/4 mile . . . the inside of the tire was literally disintegrating, yet the outside looked fine.

That is the reason why I don’t like half-baked tire repairs . . . you don’t know what’s going on inside

Tube type tires would blow out while tubeless tires usually leak slowly and give the driver some warning before catastrophic failure. A blowout on a front tube type tire at highway speed was very difficult to handle and luckily I survived a few. Such a problem today, on a crowded expressway at 70+ mph would almost certainly result in a collision, likely a serious collision.

@Rod Knox,

Curious what your experiences with “full frontal” (tire failure) were like. Had it happen twice recently, once in an empty F 150, and once in a loaded ‘80s-era 24’ box truck (former U-Haul).

My experiences were: loud bang, thumping tire, modest pull to the right. Didn’t brake; got off the gas and coasted down to 20 MPH or so, then got off the highway.

In short, no loss of control and only a modest pull towards the blowout.

Granted, if one were to panic and swerve and/or stomp on the brakes, it’d probably be dire, but if somebody has sufficient situational awareness to basically do nothing for ~1-2 seconds until the problem is diagnosed…it’s pretty manageable, isn’t it?

I think your experience was quite similar to mine, @meanjoe. At <50 mph and no traffic to deal with, just holding on and coasting down to pull on the shoulder was not too difficult for me. But if there had been any significant traffic or the blowout occurred in a curve the situation could have caused some serious injuries. At 70 mph in heavy traffic the blowouts that I experienced would likely have resulted in some costly damage. Tires have improved greatly over the past 50 years.

Luckily, it seems we have been able to not panic and that gave us the ability to get through possible disasters unscathed. I like to think that my driving ability is above average and that leaves half the drivers on the road being less capable than me and there have been several occasions that I felt at my limits to keep things under control. When I see old cars and trucks, especially trucks with split rims travelling ahead of me on interstate highways I keep my distance until there is an unobstructed passing lane and accelerate well past before slowing. Limiting pre 1975 cars and trucks to 55 mph might be worthwhile.

One of the problems here is that those folks who had a very bad experience with tire failures aren’t here to talk about it. Please keep this in mind when we talk about tires and tire repairs.

I just solve this problem by purchasing road hazard protection when I buy new tires. I used to do plugs myself, but now it’s not necessary. Considering the cost of one plug/patch, my road hazard protection always pays for itself.

I’m quite content to repair (my own) tires with corded plugs and drive at legal highway speeds on them–provided the plug seals a circular leak, 1/4" or less, made roughly perpindicular with the tread.

The portion remaining in the tire will mushroom a bit with centripetal force, making an impromptu “patch” on the inside. The rubber cement will dissolve rubber from both tire and patch, effectively “welding” the two together–so no worries about cord rusting.

I agree, there’s a small but measurable risk taken with not inspecting the inside of the tire–but there’s a small but measurable risk associated with breaking the bead on a tire, too: bead damage, improper remount, etc. (Actually, I’ve never had a blowout from not dismounting a tire, but I HAVE had a truck tire blow shortly after being remounted on a rim–ruined my whole day!)

ANY tool in the hands of the wrong person can be dangerous. Can you improperly ream the hole? Yes. Can you run the tire flat for miles and damage it before applying the plug? Yes.

Give a child a hammer and see how many things other than nails he hits with it.

Like I said, if I owned a business or someone else came to me to fix their tire of unknown condition, then yes I would want to dismount it and apply the best possible fix that money can buy. When it’s my own tire that I know the condition and circumstances, can apply the plug properly and periodically inspect my tires, plugs are more than suitable. I’ve never had one leak, ever.