Is It Safe To Drive A Long Distance On A Patched Tire?

A bit leery about driving a long distance on a patched tire? Don't worry, you can drive a long distance on a patched tire.

A flat tire can be a pain but thankfully a repair can oftentimes be quickly done, inexpensive and permanent. Tire repair kits are readily available online or local hardware or parts stores.

Can I drive a long distance with a patched tire?

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    Woman looking at a flat tire on her car
    Woman looking at a flat tire on her car

    A quality tire plug and patch kit, properly installed according to the manufacturer's instructions, by either yourself or a professional, can last the lifetime of the tire.

    You will be able to drive the repaired tire the same distance as if the tire had not been damaged in the first place.

    Mechanic repairing a flat tire with a puncture repair kit
    Mechanic repairing a flat tire with a puncture repair kit

    How Long Does A Tire Patch Last?

    A properly installed tire patch system will hold air pressure indefinitely for the lifetime of the tire. There are some caveats to keep in mind:

    • On modern tires the repair must be inside the tread belt package. Years ago you could go further out into the shoulder of the tire but in today's tires the tread belt package is narrower.
    • The largest diameter of the puncture or “tire injury”" can only be ¼”. Any larger and the tire manufacturers no longer feel comfortable maintaining their tires warranties.
    • It is recommended to use a complete tire repair system or entire repair kit from the same manufacturer rather than a mishmash of products from different manufacturers. The manufacturers design their kits to work together and you run the risk of compatibility issues if you mix and match.
    Tire patch kit
    Tire patch kit

    Cost Of A Repair Kit

    A good repair kit costs around $10 online or at a local retailer.

    What Are The Safety Risks Of Patching A Tire?

    There are no safety risks associated with a properly patched tire.

    Just make sure to follow the tire manufacturer's and repair kit manufacturer's directions and recommendations.

    If you aren't confident you can properly fix the tire yourself, take the tire to get it professionally repaired at a licensed tire shop.

    Tire patch kit sitting on tire
    Tire patch kit sitting on tire

    Can A Sidewall Be Patched?

    A tire's sidewall cannot be patched due to the fact that it contains no cords.

    On the other hand, a tire's tread, the part that makes contact with the road, contains cords that run through it and give the tires their strength allowing it to be patched.

    Even at low speeds, a patched sidewall would be susceptible to blowout!

    Why Patch A Tire?

    Patching a tire can save a lot of money not to mention time.

    Generally speaking if you elected to replace a tire, rather than patch it, you should replace its sibling on the other side of the vehicle as well, as having one new tire and one old tire side by side can lead to driveability issues due to the uneven tread.

    Who Patches Tires?

    A tire can easily be patched by yourself or a trained tire man/woman or a licensed mechanic.

    Tire Patch Vs. Tire Plug: What is the difference?

    Tire Plug

    A tire plug can be inserted through the puncture externally while the tire is still on the rim or internally with the tire off the rim.

    It is the quickest repair method and if done right should last the life of the tire.

    Tire Patch

    A tire patch is designed to work along with a tire plug.

    A tire patch is a flat rubber piece that is glued over the plug inside the tire to provide extra durability.

    It is recommended to use a patch if the puncture is on an angle greater than 25 degrees.

    In Conclusion

    Done properly a patched tire can drive the same distances as the tire would normally drive had it not been damaged in the first place.

    Educate yourself on the proper repair procedure and do the repair yourself or take your tire to a professional to get safely back on the road in no time!

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