If one of your tires is losing air or has gone completely flat, you may be wondering if a tire repair can solve the problem. In many cases, yes, it is possible to fix a flat tire. But in some situations, a tire replacement is the better route and would be the safest option to prevent an accident that is just waiting to happen.
There are several things to consider that will help you confidently determine if professional tire service can fix the problem or if it is time for a replacement tire. These include:
Where a Puncture Is Located on the Tire
Your tires can get punctures or cuts after driving over debris, sharp rocks, or other foreign objects. Where exactly this occurred on the tire will be a big determining factor for whether tire repair can be done. If the puncture or cut is located within the tread area, then it can usually be repaired and/or sealed. But if the puncture is on the sidewall or shoulder of the tire, then the tire should be replaced.
A tire’s sidewall is a sensitive area that flexes a lot while driving. A puncture here can lead to a blowout when the tire is under extreme pressure. To avoid potential safety concerns, it is better to go with tire replacement if your tire is damaged along the sidewall.
The Size of the Puncture or Cut
If your tire was punctured and/or you have a foreign object stuck in it, the size of the puncture itself is another determining factor in whether it can be repaired or should be replaced. If the puncture is ¼” in diameter or less, then a professional tire repair can normally be done and still maintain the safety of the tire. If the puncture is larger than that, tire replacement is highly recommended.
Also, if a puncture is long and/or irregular, then the tire usually cannot be repaired. Long cuts can damage the tire’s belts and reduce its durability.
The Amount of Interior Damage Present
It is also important to factor in how long you have been driving on the low or flat tire. Driving on it for some time can mean the sidewalls come into contact with the road. This can quickly wear down the inner linings of the sidewall, causing hidden damage within the tire. The tire should be dismounted from the wheel and thoroughly inspected before any repair is attempted.
Overall Condition of the Tire
Aside from what we covered above, there are additional cases where the overall condition of a flat tire makes it impossible for it to be safely repaired. These include:
- Excessively worn/thin tread
- Excessive dry rot
- Many tears and rips
- Tread separation
- Damage to the bead of the tire where it meets the wheel
In these cases, trying to have the tire repaired versus replacing it will expose you to a greater risk of an accident.
Trust the Professionals For Tire Repair or Replacement
If a tire has become a safety risk, you should always opt for replacement. It is also strongly recommended that you take your tire to a professional instead of trying to fix a flat tire yourself. This will ensure it is repaired properly and returned to its pre-damaged condition (as much as possible).
Still not sure if tire repair or tire replacement is best in your case? The tire experts at any of our convenient locations can assist you in making that determination. Whether you need tire repair or you need to buy tires and need tire installation, the experts here at Driver’s Edge can help. We also provide maintenance services including tire balancing and tire rotation.