It happens to everyone: you’re driving your normal routes, and somehow you get a puncture in your tire that causes air to leak out!
If you have some experience with repairing tires, you may be tempted to fix it yourself, or maybe you just want to have a tire service take care of it for you. Either way, it might cross your mind that repairing the tire with a plug may void the warranty.
A professionally installed proper tire repair that involves a patch and plug will not void the warranty for many tire manufacturers. Every tire manufacturer maintains its own warranty and will require you to review the one specific to your tire brand.
Even though I can’t provide you information about your car’s exact tire warranty, I can tell you more about tire warranties in general, plugging a tire, and other information that should help save you some money in the process!
Plugging a Tire
Plugs are things that you can put in a tire when you have a leak. It’s usually a strip of leather covered with a rubber compound. When you fill the tire, you adjust the plug so that air is no longer leaking out.
You may want to plug a tire when you’ve run over a nail, screw, or another small sharp object. The puncture must be small, in the tread area, and away from the sidewall. Otherwise, you will not be able to use a tire plug to repair your tire.
You can purchase a plug online and easily use it yourself for a tire repair. However, this should not be the end of the story. Plugs should only be used as temporary fixes for tire leaks.
Most sources say that a plug will void the warranty, especially when you install the plug yourself. However, many others will also claim that your warranty may not be voided if the plug is installed by a professional!
To be absolutely sure, you will have to read through the warranty for your specific tires. This is the only way to know if your tires are still covered!
Linked below are warranty sites for some of the most common tire manufacturers to help save you some time.
If you still can’t figure this out, another good option is to consider calling the shop that installed your tires. In many cases, they should be able to help you out.
Tire warranties are not known for being very customer-friendly, though. Let’s go over the basics of tire warranties.
A manufacturer can have several kinds of warranties on their tires. They tend to be difficult to cash into if you need to, though.
That’s because most tire warranties just cover workmanship errors or material defects. More often than not, the tire manufacturer won’t cover normal wear and tear.
Some tires have added warranties that make them a more desirable purchase option. Even when you can’t find a tire with your warranty needs, a tire service center (like Discount Tire) will sometimes add their own guarantees with service certificates.
Let’s talk more about what kinds of things are covered by tire warranties!
#1 Workmanship and Materials Warranty
All tires should come with this kind of warranty. All it means is that your tires can be refunded or replaced when your tires are defective.
This warranty covers the tires when they are within the first 2/32” of a tire’s tread life.
#2 Tire Tread Warranty
When your tires come with a tire tread warranty, it means that they guarantee you get a certain number of miles or years before your tread starts to wear out.
Most tires come with a treadwear indicator straight on the tire, but a professional will be able to tell you for sure if your tires are past their prime or not.
#3 Promotional Warranty Period
Another perk some tire manufacturers add on to promote their tires is allowing you a limited time period to try out the tires before you purchase them. This time period is usually 30 days.
If you don’t like the tires within this time, you can return the tires and not pay for them under this warranty.
The Downsides of Plugging Tires
Besides potentially voiding your tire’s warranty, there are other reasons you might want to reconsider plugging your car’s tires when you detect a leak.
Plugging a tire should only be done when you are in an emergency or the plug will only be in temporarily. Driving on just a plugged tire is not a good idea. That’s because a plug does not properly seal the inside lining of the tire, and is therefore not a proper repair.
Tip: You can also take a look at my full article here on how long you can drive with a plugged tire.
Similarly, just patching a tire for a long-term solution is also a bad idea. A patch can allow water to enter the tire, causing corrosion and other damage.
The best repair that you can do on your own is when a patch and a plug are used on the same leak. Otherwise, take it to a tire professional, where they will likely install a 1-piece repair unit that will last much longer and may not void your tire warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Do I Properly Take Care of My Tires?
Keep the tires inflated to whatever PSI is recommended for your specific tires, rotate your tires every 5,000-6,000 miles, and keep an eye on the tires themselves for wear or misalignment. You will want to take care of these things ASAP to keep your tires in the best shape.
Is It Legal to Repair a Tire With a Plug?
Yes, it is legal to repair a tire with a plug in the United States. There are currently no regulations on tire repair. Even though it’s legal, it’s not always a great idea. To make your tires last as long as possible after a leak, take them to a professional to fix them.
Is It Better to Patch or Plug a Tire?
It’s best to both patch and plug a tire. Either of these methods on their own is not considered a proper tire repair. Also, you must only repair a tire with these methods one time. You should not make more than one puncture repair on any single tire.
Plugging a tire can be a quick and easy solution for a leaky tire when you can’t get to a shop right away.
If keeping your tires in the terms of the warranty is important to you, though, you may want to think of another solution, because plugging a tire is likely to void the warranty.