If you've ever browsed through an auto parts store, you've probably seen several options for quickly repairing a tire. These patch kits can come in various forms at different price points. Each kit can vary a bit in complexity, and some may be impossible to use without losing most of the air in your tires. Examples include plug kits and even rubber goo that you apply over a hole.
However, these options have one thing in common: they aren't permanent repairs. The US Tire Manufacturers Association has specific guidelines for permanent tire repairs. Unfortunately, most of the easy roadside solutions you'll find in an auto parts store don't meet these guidelines.
What's the Difference?
A permanent tire repair means that you should expect your tire to last as long as it would without repairs. While future damage may impact your tire's lifespan, a correctly performed plug and patch tire repair won't compromise its longevity or safety. Note, however, that some manufacturers may recommend driving at lower speeds on tires with repairs.
A temporary repair offers no such guarantees. The primary purpose of these roadside kits is to help get you out of a jam and to the nearest service center. While there's no set amount of time you should expect a temporary patch to last, it's best to limit your driving and speed until you can replace the affected tire.
Why Should You Avoid Temporary Repairs?
Temporary repairs can seem like an affordable way to get yourself out of a tricky situation, but they're rarely cost-effective in the long run. Since these repairs aren't safe for long-term use, you'll eventually need to replace the affected tire. Buying a new tire is drastically more expensive than repairing an existing one, especially if your old tire still has plenty of tread life remaining.
It may also not be safe to drive on these quick roadside repairs for long. If you don't have experience in tire repair, you won't be able to judge the success of your work. Even if you intend to replace the tire soon, it may suffer from a failure much more quickly than you expect. As a result, driving your vehicle can be much more hazardous than necessary.
What Makes Professional Repairs Better?
A professional tire shop that follows the US Tire Manufacturers Association guidelines will remove your tire from the wheel and perform a plug and patch repair. These repairs seal the damage on both sides, providing redundancy and strength. Professional technicians will also check your tire for other signs of trouble, ensuring they don't perform any repairs on unsafe tires.
Going the extra mile to have your tire repaired professional ensures a safe, long-lasting fix. In the long run, it's both safer and cheaper to rely on experienced professionals to repair your punctured tires permanently.