The annual road-related accident fatalities account for some of the leading causes of death in the world. Safety first is the motto when it comes to the transportation of people and livestock.
The annual accident statistics make for sobering reading. One-third of road fatalities are drivers of vehicles, another third are passengers, and the final third are pedestrians. The animals killed in road accidents are not even measured with any degree of accuracy.
The tire plug can be safely removed using needle-nose pliers. If it is not possible to pull out the plug due to its condition, consider pushing it inside of the tire and replug it with a new kit.
A tire can be repaired using a tire plug repair kit, and the tire should be rotated out with a rear tire if possible to get the vehicle to the nearest tire fitment center for a total replacement.
The repaired tire may still be suitable for use on a farm or as a spare tire on an off-road adventure. Let’s consider how properly repaired tires can be used in applications where the lives of other road users will not be at risk.
Is A Tire Plug Permanent?
Consider the financial benefit and the compromised safety of a repaired tire. If the tread depth left on the tire is less than 2.0 mm, it is not worth repairing. Inspect the tire for signs of rubber cracking. A puncture hole bigger than 6mm in diameter should be considered an emergency repair, and the damaged tire should be disposed of after replacement.
Punctures to the sidewall or the shoulder of the tire should not be repaired. Tire repairs should only be made to the center of the tread surface, not close to the edges. Only about seventy-five percent of the tire tread surface is deemed repairable.
There will be many stories of the thousands of miles achieved after the successful repair of a tire. You will not hear about the horrendous accidents and loss of life caused by the catastrophic failure of repaired tires.
A tire plug can never be deemed a permanent fix. Such fixes are only for emergencies where no other option is possible to get to the nearest point of help. Repaired tires must never be fitted to the front axle as this is the steering axle. The repaired tire can be exchanged with a rear tire if they are the same size.
Tire plugs can be removed, and a better repair can give the tiresome useful tire life on a farm or other non-public roads. Off-road enthusiasts often experience tire damage where the tire repair plug method is used to keep going. The off-roaders creed is to go “as slow as possible and as fast as necessary”, thus eliminating the risk of high-speed blowouts.
Tire puncture repairs on vehicles designed only for public roads should always be viewed as temporary and only for emergency use.
Why Is A Tire Plug Repair Unsafe At High Speed?
Tire repairs are not endorsed as safe by tire manufacturers. Continental Tire advises that repairs may only serve as a short-term temporary fix when no other option exists. Repairs can only be done on the tread surface of a tire and not near the tire’s shoulder.
A tire is constructed of a carcass of woven fabric (Rayon or Nylon) coated with rubber and layered onto woven steel wire. The sidewalls are thinner than the tread portion of the tire and cannot be repaired.
When an object penetrates through the tread surface of a tire, resulting in a puncture, the steel and fabric carcass is damaged. Some of the strands of steel and fabric will be severed during penetration. The rubber repair plug will merely serve to plug the hole in the rubber to prevent the loss of air.
At high speed, the centrifugal forces on the tire place stress on the carcass. The breaks in the steel and fabric structure of the carcass are compromised and may cause the tire to burst. A burst tire at high speed is tough to control and may lead to an accident. The front tire condition is most critical as it affects steering control.
The instinct of most drivers is to brake hard when experiencing a burst tire resulting in an even worst effect. The burst tire can no longer grip when the brakes are applied, and the vehicle will thus turn sideways and rollover.
Tire blowouts often happen in off-road conditions where sharp rocks of other objects may cause a rapid loss of air pressure. When this happens at low speed, as is the case when off-roading, the loss of vehicle control is less severe and should not result in a roll-over accident. Experienced 4×4 drivers know how to deal with tire blowouts at low speeds and are always alert to the risk.
Tire plugs can be removed, and the repair can be improved by placing a tire patch on the inside of the tire. However, repaired tires must only be used in emergencies or deployed in low-speed applications. No tire repair should be considered as a permanent fix.
Tire repairs cannot be done to repair punctures to the sidewall or near the edges of the tire tread. A tire repair should be considered a last resort to get you back to the nearest tire fitment center. Many cars are no longer fitted with spare tires but rather a tire repair kit and a pneumatic pump. Such repairs are only good for about 50 miles (80 km) at speeds not exceeding 50 mph (80 km/h).
Tire insurance can be purchased at about $2.00 per month, and it is well worth the cost if you live in an area with many potholes or other causes of punctures. It is always best to have a repaired tire replaced with a new tire. The cost saving of driving on a repaired tire for as long as possible is not worth the risk to your safety.