Should You Plug Or Replace Your Tire?

Should You Plug Or Replace Your Tire?

Damaged tires are a pain in the proverbial. However, it’s something that every motorist will have to deal with at some point in their driving career. But many people wonder whether they can get away with plugging the damage or whether a replacement is necessary.

Read on to discover when plugging a tire is appropriate and when replacement is needed.

What Does it Mean to Plug a Tire?

  • What is a tire plug?

What is a tire plug?

A tire plug is a small piece of malleable rubber that can be used to fix a puncture. It’s inserted into the damaged area where it expands, preventing air from leaving the tire. Plugs can be used in isolation—generally without demounting the tire—or in combination with a patch.

A plug & patch combination provides a far superior seal. It further closes the damaged area, preventing air escaping the tire and reducing the amount of air and moisture that can seep back in.

Plugging vs. Replacing

  • The reasons to plug: tire knowhow
  • The reasons to replace: tire knowhow

The reasons to plug: tire knowhow

So, why might you consider plugging, rather than replacing, a tire? The most common reason is after a puncture from an object, such as a nail. However, there are risks with a tire plug. These are:

  • The plug fixes the exterior of the tire but you don’t know what the state of the inside is like unless the tire is demounted and the repair is combined with a patch.
  • A plug repair alone doesn’t wholly seal the damage to the tire. Over time, moisture and air penetrate into the body of the tire. This causes corrosion and breaks down the integrity of the tire. This means the tire is breaking down from the inside, so wear and tear is hidden from view. A weakened tire increases the risks of a tread separation or blowout and the consequences these can bring.
  • Plugs should only be used if the damage is within the 60% middle of the tire. Any punctures closer to the tire wall aren’t suitable for ;plugging.

However, a plug alone should only be considered a temporary fix—it buys you time to drive the vehicle to a garage to get the tire fixed or a new one fitted.

If you do want a tire repaired, rather than replaced, then the only safe way is to have a professional plug and patch combination carried out. Again, this is only appropriate if the damage is below a certain size and is in the 60% middle element of the tire. Side wall plug & patches shouldn’t be carried out.

The reasons to replace: tire knowhow

The bottom line when it comes to the choice of plug (or plug & patch) or replacing is that only the latter option guarantees a wholly safe tire. However, with tires sometimes costing upwards of $400 dollars each, it’s understandable that there might be times you’d prefer a repair.

Even so, there are some hard and fast rules to follow, even if you’d rather not shell out the cash for new tires. Note the plural there, because if you replace the tire on one side you should always replace its opposite number as well.

The following are some of the times when replacing a damaged tire is the only option:

  • If the tire is too close to the side wall
  • If the damage is over ¼” in diameter
  • If the damage is on the shoulder of the tire
  • If the damage is in a previously repaired area
  • If there’s any evidence of severe damage

Even if you do choose to go down the plug or plug & patch route, having the repair carried out by a reputable and professional service should always be considered a necessity.

Looking for Routine or Emergency Tire Care? Call Autobahn of Boca Today

At Autobahn of Boca our experienced technicians will quickly assess your tires to determine if they need replacements. Even if you’ve successfully plugged a tire to drive to the garage, the damage sustained often necessitates a tire replacement. Plus, you may well need to change the opposite tire at the same time

Don’t leave the safe running of your vehicle to chance. Contact the experts at Autobahn for a fast, friendly, and cost-effective tire replacement service.

Visit to find out more.

Schedule Your Appointment

Schedule Now

Thank you! Check your inbox now :)

Schedule Now

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form!

Autobahn Auto Center| (561) 220-5377 2540 NW 2nd Ave, Boca Raton, FL 33431

Upgrade Modal