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Toyota tire with a nail lodged in it on Long Island, NY.

Should I Plug or Replace My Toyota’s Tire?

Posted at Fri, Jul 2, 2021 9:00 AM

A blowout is something many drivers have experienced and no matter how prepared we are, it can happen at any time. Not only is a blowout inconvenient but it can also be incredibly frustrating, particularly if you are in a hurry! Depending on how bad the blowout is, you may even be able to plug the tire if the damage is not severe. However, is a plug a sufficient fix? To answer this question, our Westbury Toyota technicians have shared their knowledge to help you figure out whether your tire needs to be plugged or replaced.

When Can a Tire Be Plugged?

The first thing to know is that tire plugging is not meant to be a permanent fix or a substitution for tire repair. A plug is meant to make your vehicle drivable so that you can get it to a place where you can have the tire repaired or replaced. A tire plug is moldable rubber that you insert into a tire puncture. The rubber then expands, trapping air and preventing it from escaping. A plug can only be used on fairly small holes, so if the puncture is bigger than a quarter of an inch, tire plugging is not feasible. What’s more, the plug should only be used on the tire’s tread and not anywhere on or near the tire’s sidewalls.

Another thing to keep in mind is that plug repair can let air and moisture into the tire’s body, which can compromise the integrity of the tire through the degradation of the inner steel belts. This corrosion weakens the belts as well as the ties between the different layers of the tire. When this happens the chance of a tire separation increases significantly.

When Should a Tire Be Replaced or Repaired?

If you have a blowout and the tire is still relatively new or has a lot of tread left, you are probably not going to want to replace it. However, tires are a pretty crucial part of being able to drive safely so it is imperative to get them fixed if it's necessary. The easiest way to tell if the tire needs to be repaired or replaced is to gauge the amount of damage that was done, and also where the damage is located. If any of the following has happened, you need a new tire on your Toyota:

  • The damage is located on the sidewall or the shoulder.
  • The damage is located where the tire was previously repaired.
  • The hole (or holes) has a diameter that is larger than one quarter of an inch.
  • The damage is severe (large holes or gashes or tread separation).

The safer bet is to always replace a damaged tire, but in some circumstances you will be able to repair a tire and get a lot more miles out of it. If you are not sure just how bad the damage to the tire actually is, you should bring it in to Westbury Toyota so that our staff can properly assess the situation.

Should You Plug or Replace?

A tire plug will really only work if the puncture is small and should not be considered a permanent fix. It will enable you to get home or to a place where you can get the tire properly repaired (or replaced) if needed. If you are unsure of the severity of the tire damage, book your Toyota in with us here at Westbury Toyota. We will be able to repair the damage if it is repairable and if not, we will be more than happy to replace the tire for you so that you can get back out on the road safely.

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