If you’ve driven around Long Beach for a while, it is very likely that somehow, sometime in your travels, you have suffered from a flat tire. But how can you determine whether a flat tire is repairable or must be replaced?
If you run over a nail or some other debris that punctures your tire, then repair may still be possible. If the puncture is on the tread face of the tire, between the grooves, or, on tires with tread patterns that don’t have grooves that wrap around them, no closer than 2 inches to where the shoulder meets the sidewall, then it can be patched. The hole also must be 1/4” or smaller in diameter. Cuts are not repairable if they are deep enough to have cut into one of the steel belts inside of your tire. However, if the puncture is in the sidewall or on the shoulder area of the tire (less than two inches from the sidewall), it must be replaced. This is because these areas are under a lot of pressure and constantly flex as you drive, which can eventually cause a tire patch or plug in that area to come loose and cause a blowout while you drive. Although the tire may hold air again, its strength will be compromised, and taking it on the road will be a danger to you and the drivers around you.
Cuts and gashes
If you have a cut in your tire, it is most likely not safely repairable unless it is less than 1/4” long. Patches or plugs designed to repair round holes in tires will not be as effective at repairing a cut or gash, and it has most likely severed the steel cords inside of your tire that give it its strength. If your tire has a cut or gash, it is highly recommended that you get it replaced with a new one.
Driven while flat or on low air pressure
If you drive on a flat tire or with low air pressure, you can quickly damage the tire beyond repair. When part of the sidewall makes contact with the road, the inner liner of the sidewall will wear away, weakening the sidewall of the tire too severely to be repaired. This is why it is important to check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure that you maintain the correct air pressure, and if you get a flat tire, to stop driving immediately in case the issue is repairable.
It should go without saying, but tires with severe damage such as bulges, tread separation, broken or slipped belts, bead damage, and large cuts or gashes are not repairable and must be replaced. If your tire has borderline damage that may or may not be repairable, the safest option is always to replace it. Repairing a tire that may or may not be safe can risk you a tire blowout, which could easily lead to severe loss of control and result in a collision, causing you much bigger problems and more damage to your vehicle.
If your tire seems to be on the borderline of being salvageable, it is best to replace it for your own safety and that of the drivers around you. Any risk of a tire blowout, which can happen unpredictably, especially on a dangerously damaged and repaired tire, just isn’t worth it.
Here at Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach and Bellflower, we are equipped to deal with all of your tire repair or replacement questions and services. If you have an issue with your tires and aren’t sure what to do, feel free to give us a call today at (562) 427-4256, and our ASE certified mechanics will take care of you.