There is a lot of myth out there about patching or repairing car tires when it involves the sidewall. Uncertainty grips a lot of people about how close their tire should be to the sidewall before it can be patched.
In this article, I have offered tips to assess an accurate distance between the tire and the sidewall when trying to repair the tire.
What Is A Tire Sidewall?
First off, what is a sidewall of a tire? The sidewall of a tire covers the entire area from the tread to the bead. Also called the side or shoulder of the tire, the sidewall contains detailed information about the tire. It is on the sidewall that the tire manufacturer prints the speed rating, load index, and tire size.
As a general rule of thumb, you should not contemplate fixing a tire that has tread punctures wider than a quarter (¼) inch. Instead, you should consider buying a new tire.
How Close To Sidewall Can A Tire Be Patched?
As a general rule of thumb, the puncture on your tire should be ¼” or 6mm or more away from the sidewall or shoulder of your tire.
Anything distance nearer the edge of the tire tread is not advised. Start your measurement from where the internal steel belt starts on the sidewall. You should discard the tire once the puncture is above the dimension threshold.
Ultimately, there are certain rules you must keep in mind before opting for patching your car tire. It’s recommended that you shouldn’t patch the tire if it’s more than ¼-inch close to the sidewall. Also, you shouldn’t patch the tire if it’s at a straight angle. Patching is a non-no if the puncture is greater than a quarter of an inch.
Additionally, a damaged sidewall automatically makes patching unsuitable for your tire. If you also find a bulge or bubble in the rubber of the sidewall, don’t think of patching. Patching won’t also be advised in an area close to the area the tire has once been punctured and patched.
After all, repairs cannot overlap in that you shouldn’t compromise a previously patched or repaired area. You shouldn’t patch the tire if you’ve not removed it from the wheel. If you have some of these anomalies, the best thing is to discard the tire.
How To Repair Sidewall Damage To Tires
It’s not easy to repair sidewall damage to your car tire. When compared to fixing damage to the tire’s treaded area, solving sidewall damage can be a little trickier. It doesn’t imply that you cannot repair it.
It may take time, money, effort, and tools. Nonetheless, you can still repair and restore the integrity of the tire in good time. To avoid wasting your time and money, however, you shouldn’t attempt to repair a sliced tire.
- Shop vacuum
- Tire plug gun
- Dunk tanks
- Impact/lug wrench
- Jack stand
- Rubber prep
- Tire spreader
- Tread depth gauge
A Step-By-Step Guide To Repair Sidewall Damage To Tires
- Step 1: Jack up the car by loosening the lug nuts on the side you’re working on. Remove the wheels
- Step 2: Remove the puncture (could be a small stick, screw, or nail) to allow the tire to gradually but rapidly lose air. The plug gun is the right tool to use if the tire still has enough air pressure.
- Step 3: Add some quantity of cement to the plug installer.
- Step 4: Jam the pug installer into the puncture to shave and clean the puncture hole
- Step 5: Move the installer in and out and spin it around the punctured area. Repeat it as though you pumping a deflated bike tire.
- Step 6: Apply the same amount of cement to the center of the plug.
- Step 7: Insert the plug into the puncture. Make sure you stretch the plug across the puncture. While stretching the plug, however, you should not let the whole body get in.
- Step 8: Make sure the plug folds in half and its both terminals with both ends sticking toward you
- Step 9: Cut the ends of the plug and seat the tire
- Step 10: Fill the tire with air pressure
Before tire repair is said to be complete, the patch should be placed on the interior liner of the tire.
Is It Safe To Plug Or Patch A Flat Tire?
Yes, it is safe to plug a tire, although patching appears to be a permanent solution. But it depends on how reliable the plug is. This in turn depends on the method of plugging your mechanic uses.
To plug a tire correctly, it’s best to remove the tire and plug it from inside with a durable adhesive. The mushroom head of the plug allows it to properly fit into the tire. Although some mechanics plug the tire from the outermost tread to the innermost tread, it’s not safe, ultimately.
Here are some science-backed truths about plugging a tire. And you should know this whether you’re an auto technician, a car driver, or a car owner. If you add a plug to a punctured tire, it can only seal the outside of the tire but won’t do anything sealing the job on the inside.
So, if you stick to sealing the inside, you’re demounting the tire and weakening it further. On the other hand, if you succeed in patching, the patch may only seal the inside but won’t get to the outside. Either way, you’re at risk and loss.
How Close Can A Tire Patch Be To Another Patch?
These things are important to consider before you choose whether you can apply a patch to a previously patched tire. They are the location, type, size of the puncture.
Most important is the location of the damage. As it stands in the auto care services today, a repair should not be carried out on a tire close to a previously repaired location.
Let me make the point clearer: if the punctures exceed the 6mm limit, full tire replacement will be the way to go. if the previous puncture is closer by ½ inch, you shouldn’t consider patching it.
It will result in irregular gashes and ultimately expand the punctures larger than they are. The cuts can slice through the tire’s steel belts. When this happens, it cuts down on the durability and strength of the tire and so makes it unsafe to use.
Can You Fix A Small Hole In The Sidewall Of A Tire?
No, you should not try to fix any small drill bit in the sidewall of your car tire. It is both dangerous and endangering. Also, it might cost a few bucks. I am sure no certified or professional tire technician will patch a sidewall.
Although you might successfully plug or patch the hole, it’s not safe. The best thing to do is to get a new tire. Alternatively, you can put a tube in the tire and you’re good to go. Although the latter option is a temporary one, it is better than patching it.
Is Patching A Tire A Permanent Fix?
Yes, patching is a permanent solution to your punctured tire. Overall, patching a tire is the best and permanent to your flat tire than plugging. Especially, when the holes are big, patching will do a lot a good job on your tire than plugging.
Usually, patching becomes the option if the tire puncture is less than a ¼ inch or 6mm in diameter. The location of the puncture matters in determining whether a tire needs a plug or a patch.
Can A Tire Be Patched On The Sidewall?
No. You can only repair your punctured tire only when punctures are close to areas around the center of the tread. However, if the puncture or damage is located in the sidewall or shoulder of the tire, you cannot repair it. At that point, it is better to get a new tire. The truth is that not all punctured or damaged tires can be repaired.
The other situation you’ll have to scrap an injured tire is if the punctures are nearby in which case the fixes overlap. Also, you cannot repair the tire if the punctures are directly diagonal to each other.
As you have learned from this article, you should not patch your punctured or flat tire if it is close to the sidewall. Repairs of car tires should not go beyond the tread area. Besides, once the puncture is more than 6mm, don’t bother to patch it. If you do, you may be endangering your safety.
The final point to make is that not all tires qualify for repair. Some are designed with a repair limit. If your auto tires aren’t suitable for repair any longer, you should discard them and buy a new set.
The tires, like the car brakes, are integral to the overall safety on the road. The consequence of repairing, patching, or plugging a weak tire isn’t appetizing. Don’t compromise it.