Can I Repair a Punctured Tire?

February 10th, 2015 by

Having a flat tire doesn’t always mean you have to buy a new tire. In some cases the tire can be repaired for $20 or less and is something you can do yourself. According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, not all tires can be repaired. The size of the puncture and location play a role in whether or not a tire can be saved. There are different ways to repair a tire as well.
Repair a Punctured Tire

Can This Tire Be Repaired?

These are all of the factors to consider, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, if you want to repair a punctured tire:

  • Repairs can only be made to the tire’s tread area.
  • The puncture cannot be larger than 1/4 inch in diameter.
  • Tire must be removed from the wheel prior to repair to inspect for other damage.
  • Overlapping repairs is unacceptable.
  • A plug needs to be accompanied by a patch.

The tire’s tread is the area of the tire that grips the road. It is advised that repairs not be made to the tire’s sidewall, which are the sides of the tire. This is because the sidewall “is under different strains and pressures than the part that makes contact with the road,” according to

Different Methods to Repair a Punctured Tire

There is debate, however, as to whether or not a tire should be patched, plugged, or both. The Rubber Manufacturers Association advises to plug and patch, and not either or. Matthew Wright of suggests plugging the hole, while advises the plug and patch approach.
“Additionally, any repair that doesn’t completely fill the path the object took through the tire is incomplete. While a patch on the inside of the tire reseals the innerliner, it does not fill the path of the puncture,” according to

  • Plug and Patch TireRack states that a repair is only correct if it is plugged and patched. This is also the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s sentiment. The patch reseals the innerliner of the tire “to restore air containment.” The plug “prevents moisture from reaching the steel belts and body cord in the tire.”
  • Plug According to CarsDirect, a plug is the cheapest and fastest way to repair a tire, however it may not be the safest and it doesn’t work for all punctures. If the hole is too close to the sidewall, the plug may not be able to completely seal the puncture. A plug is also not advised if the puncture is not straight.
  • Patch In some cases, a patch will be applied if the puncture is too close to the tire’s sidewall or if the puncture is not straight.

Whichever way you choose to repair a punctured tire, keep in mind that the Rubber Manufacturers Association advises a patch and plug approach to correctly seal the puncture so the tire can properly retain air. Several sources also advise to only repair a punctured tire after it is taken off of the wheel so that the tire can be inspected for other issues.
Call Fisher Auto in Boulder, Colo., at 303-245-6414 with your questions on how to repair a punctured tire or to have a punctured tire repaired.