A plug goes into the hole of a tire and is intended to stop the air from leaking out of it. The plug is supposed to be a temporary fix, not something that is a permanent solution to repair the hole in your tire. While it is safe to drive with a plugged tire, it is only safe to do so for a short amount of time.

If you have a plugged tire or are considering having your tire plugged, here are some things to know:

  • The tire plug is intended to make the car drivable so you can reach the tire store. Depending on the condition of the tire, the mechanic will either patch it, or replace the whole tire.

  • For a proper repair to happen, the entire tire needs to be demounted from the rim. There is no way for you to know what the inside of the tire looks like, which is why it needs to be inspected by a mechanic.

  • A plug can only be used on small holes, those up to ¼ inches in diameter. Furthermore, the plugs should only be used on the tread of the tire, not on or near the sidewalls. If the hole in your tire is larger than ¼ inch in diameter or is near the sidewall, it would be best to have a spare tire installed by a mechanic until you can get a new pair of tires.

  • If you experience a flat tire while driving down the road, pull over and come to a complete stop in a safe location. Once you are safe, inspect the tire for a small hole or any damage that has been done to the tire. If you know how to plug a tire, you can repair this small hole on the side of the road. If you do not know how to plug a tire, it is best to contact a professional.

  • A plug works by creating an airtight seal in the tire’s inner liner. The plug fills the hole the object made, along with creating a mushroom shaped seal inside the tire to prevent the plug from being pushed out.

Driving on a plugged tire is only safe to do so for a short distance. For instance, you can drive on a plugged tire if you are trying to the mechanic’s shop to get your tire repaired.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Plugged Tire? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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