Tire Repair: Tire Patch vs Plugs

When repairing a tire, how do experts know when to use a tire patch or a plug? Find out more about these two types of tire repair in this article.

Plug Repair

Plug repair worked fine for the earliest tires, because the rubber was so thick it seldom split or cracked, it would just puncture. The tire could be left on the rim, a big time-saver.

Radial Tires and Plugs

When radial tires were invented, puncture plugs would cause distortion of the tire shape, and interfere with ride and handling. Patches, hot and cold, became the only way to fix radial tires.

Patching Methods

You must remove the tire from the rim to patch it with either a cold or hot patch. Cold patches are cemented and pressed onto the tire liner with a rolling tool carefully, to prevent leaks. Hot patches are heated and fused to the inside of the tire with a heating clamp. A patch takes 30 minutes to install, at a cost of about $15.00.

Plugs are Back

With new plugs that self-vulcanize and melt into any kind of tire, plug repair is now preferred again for punctures. Plug repairs cost from $2.00 to $5.00 and can be finished without removing the wheel from the car.