Tire plugs are a quick, cheap way to get you back on the road. However, they’re not a permanent fix. They should only be used for small injuries. If your tire has sustained extensive damage or multiple punctures, it should be professionally repaired, and that may involve replacing the tire altogether.
Also keep in mind that tire plugs are not a substitute for proper maintenance and inspection of your tires. If your tire has been punctured and repaired with a plug, follow up with an inspection by a professional mechanic as soon as possible to ensure there’s no further damage and the plug is secure.
Plugs will not last forever.
In most cases, tire plugs can easily last longer than the tires they’re in. But this is assuming that you have a car with average usage and live in an area where roads are relatively smooth. If you drive on rough terrain or are very active on your tires, either through long drives or hard cornering and braking, then your tire plugs may not last as long as if you had a smoother ride.
Smaller holes (less than 1/4 inch) sealed with strips of rubber can last for the life of the tire itself. Larger holes, however (more than 1/4 inch), should be patched with a plug and rubber cement, which will typically last around two to three years depending on road conditions and vehicle usage.
Your tire plug may not be a permanent fix.
When you have a nail in your tire, and it is properly plugged, the plug can last indefinitely. However, they do need to be inspected regularly by a mechanic or tire technician. He or she will be able to tell you how often you should do this based on your driving conditions.
There are some important things to know about tire plugs:
- They aren’t permanent solutions for holes in tires. In fact, if the hole goes deeper than 3/8 of an inch into the tire, you may have no option but to replace your tire because repair patches can’t be used on these types of large holes. If you have a large hole that has caused the sides of the hole to tear out and bulge away from the sides of the tire, then even a plug won’t do the job. This type of damage requires replacement with another new tire because it’s not safe to drive on any further.
- A professional must properly install a plug–and seal it–in order for it to stick around long enough for you to get home safely. Make sure someone who knows what they’re doing installs your plug; otherwise, it could be ineffective and put other drivers at risk if debris falls off while you’re on the road.
In some cases, a tire plug will be the best repair option.
A tire plug is a viable repair option if you have a nail or screw in your tire that’s in the tread, as long as it’s a small puncture and can be easily repaired. In some cases, it’s not possible to drive on the tire while it’s damaged. If that’s the case, then you may need to use a tire plug to seal the tire so you can get to the nearest tire shop for a more involved puncture repair.
If you get regular tire plugs and don’t change your habits, you may need a new tire.
If you get regular tire plugs and don’t change your habits, you may need a new tire. You see, plugging does not fix:
- wear and tear
- tire rotation
Get your tire checked after any tire plug repair.
If you have a small puncture and get it plugged, the plug might last forever. If you have a lot of damage to your tire, the tire may not hold air at all.
How long do plugs last? The answer is that it depends on how much damage there is to the tire. A plugged tire will still wear down like any other, but depending on how much damage was done in the first place, you might get many miles out of it or just around 1,000 miles before it needs to be replaced.