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Flat tire on a car on Long Island, NY.

Can My Tire Be Repaired?

Posted at Fri, Aug 19, 2022 12:00 AM

The roads of Long Island contain many hazards for unwary drivers, and a lot of those hazards can do damage to the tires of your vehicle. Anything from loose nails to potholes can damage a tire, leaving you either with a slow leak, a bent rim, or a flat. While some tire issues are problems that can be repaired, some will require that you get the tire replaced. To help you assess whether a damaged tire will require repair or replacement, our knowledgeable Westbury Toyota staff have put together a quick evaluation of different tire problems.

Type of Tire Damage

There are a plethora of ways for a tire to get damaged, and while some of them are an easy fix, others are not. Here are explanations of the most common types of tire damage, as well as whether they are repairable or will require a replacement:

  • A tire with a side bubble – If you see a distinct side bubble on the sidewall of one of your tires, it is indicative that damage occurred at high impact. This can mean something like hitting a curb or a pothole, going too fast over speed bumps, or driving on a flat tire. Unfortunately, tires that have developed a side bubble cannot be repaired, so you will need to get it replaced as soon as you can.
  • A punctured tire – A punctured tire can be repaired, depending on the location of the puncture and how bad it is. A tire with a puncture in the tread area that is not more than a quarter of an inch in diameter can be repaired. If there is more than one puncture, the tire can potentially be repaired as long as the punctures measure at least 16 inches apart (a tire that requires more than two puncture repairs must be replaced). The tire will also need to be repaired if there is a puncture in the shoulder or sidewall and if the puncture is larger than a quarter inch in diameter.
  • A tire that has been in a vehicular accident – Most of the time, tires that have been involved in a car accident will need to be replaced, as common damage includes large cuts or tread separation.
  • A run flat tire – A tire that has been driven on while low or completely flat will have damage. However, if they are driven on with more than 15 PSI, they may be repairable. To avoid a run flat situation, always have a spare tire on hand and be sure to keep your tires at the recommended inflation.

Quick Fix Cautionary Points

While there are some quick fix methods you can use to fix a damaged tire, these are not always guaranteed to work, or more importantly, are not meant to work on significant tire damage.

Emergency sealants are not meant as a long term fix – they are meant to help you get your vehicle to the nearest auto shop so that you can get the damage professionally repaired or the tire replaced. In cold weather, the sealants can freeze, leading to damage to your tire pressure monitoring system. Emergency sealants should really only be used to temporarily fix up a small puncture or slow leak.

Patches and plugs are another quick fix that are not meant to be used for an extended period of time. A patch will not fill in a puncture hole and plugs will not create a lasting, durable seal. Both can be used as short-term fixes so that you can get your car to a professional for the tires to be looked at.

Repair or Replace?

While sometimes tire damage is obvious, other times it is not. If you are having a hard time deciding whether or not a tire can be repaired, it is probably a better idea to bring your car into Westbury Toyota in order to have one of our technicians take a look. They can get to the root of the issue and let you know whether a tire can be safely repaired or whether it will need to be replaced, and all work will be performed in a timely, professional manner.

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