Run-flat tires allow you to drive fairly far with a flat tire without damaging your wheel. Can you plug a run-flat tire to travel even farther?
You can patch or plug a run-flat tire yourself. It is not always a good idea to do this, however, as you might fail to repair the hole. However, you can drive fairly far on a tire you repair yourself if you do the repair right.
It’s best to only rely on the repair until you can get to an auto shop, as it will damage your car if you drive on it for too long.
Can You Plug a Run-Flat Tire?
Newer tires are more advanced than older tires and will often function for a while even after they are punctured. You don’t always need to get the spare tire out or call a tow truck. You can sometimes drive on a punctured tire.
You can also plug or patch a run-flat tire to allow you to travel farther. This still won’t fully fix the problem, but it will increase the maximum safe distance.
Driving On a Flat Tire Can Damage Your Wheels
If you keep driving even though you have a flat tire, the metal wheel will rub against the ground, damaging it. This is less true for newer run-flat tires, which you can drive on for a while even though they are damaged.
However, even with a run-flat tire, there is the possibility of damaging your wheel. A damaged tire has to be fixed before it causes further damage. You should not drive very far on a damaged run-flat tire.
What Are Run-Flat Tires?
While run-flat tires are not new technology (the first types appeared in the 1980s), they have become much more popular recently.
Run-flat tires let you keep driving until you find an auto shop or a good place to change the tire.
While it may be safe to drive to an auto shop on a run-flat tire, you still have to deal with the problem. You cannot keep driving on a flat tire, no matter what tire it is.
Different run-flat tires have different specifications. Manufacturers specify how far you can travel and at what speed with a damaged tire.
For example, you might be able to travel at 50 miles per hour for 50 miles, enough to get you to an auto shop.
Advantages of Run Flat Tires
With normal tires, you have to pull over right away. Driving with a flat is unsafe as you can’t necessarily control the car. You will also damage your wheel quickly.
With a run-flat tire, you can find a safe spot to change your tire. With a regular tire, you may have to call a tow truck because you can’t make it to an auto shop or even a good place to change your tire.
Run-Flat Tires Are Safer
Run-flat tires remain stable when they are damaged and have low air pressure. With a conventional tire, you might crash if you try to drive with a flat.
Can You Plug a Run-Flat Tire?
You can repair your own tires most of the time. However, this doesn’t always work and isn’t always safe. If you don’t repair your tire the right way, it can cause problems.
You can repair a flat tire either with a patch or a plug. The two are not the same and require different techniques. Before you get into a situation where you need to repair a tire, read the owner's manual and learn about how to use plugs and patches.
Tire plugs are made from cork and stick goo that seals the tire puncture. They work reasonably well if the puncture is small enough for a tire plug to seal it. They won’t plug a larger hole.
Tire plugs only work for some types of damage. They work for punctures, but not sidewall damage or compression breaks.
Most tire damage comes from sharp objects on the road, such as nails and screws. A tire plug is often enough to repair this kind of damage. You might be able to drive on a plugged dire for a fairly long time if there are no service stations open.
Using a Tire Plug
It only takes a few minutes to plug a damaged tire. Go through the following steps:
- First, find where the tire is punctured. Use soapy water to find where the air is escaping.
- Pull the nail or screw out of the tire. Use pliers or wire cutters to do this.
- Push the reamer into the tire to make a bigger hole for the plug. You might feel like you are doing more damage to the tire, but once the plug is in the damage will be repaired.
- Use the installer to push the plug into the tire. Twist the plug 90 degrees and pull the tool out.
Tire patches are better than tire plugs in most ways, but are harder to use. Tire plugs are more for average people, tire patches are more for mechanics.
To use a tire patch, you need to take the wheel off the car. Sometimes, they work for punctures that a plug won’t fix. However, you cannot use patches to fix catastrophic tire damage.
Key Takeaways of Run-Flat Tires
You can use a plug or patch to fix a tire, including a run-flat tire. Plugs are easier to use because you don’t have to remove the tire.
Some types of damage are too serious for plugs or patches to fix. However, most damage comes from running over sharp objects. A plug is usually enough to fix this kind of damage.
Run-flat tires often make it possible to get to the nearest auto shop without patching your tire. For example, you might be able to travel 50 miles at 50 miles per hour without a patch.
Usually, a damaged tire should be replaced rather than repaired. However, if you have a damaged tire at night, you might not be able to go to a service station and might repair the tire yourself.