No matter how carefully you drive or how fastidiously you maintain your tires, there’s still a high likelihood that at some point you’ll catch a flat. While there’s a lot that drivers can do to avoid major blowouts—namely, replacing tires that are old, worn, bulging, or dry-rotted with new tires—there’s only so much you can do to avoid the occasional puncture from nails or other debris on the road.
Fortunately for drivers, many simple puncture-related flats can be repaired by a good mechanic or tire repair shop at a relatively low cost. Tire Doctor, based in New Haven, CT, specializes in tire repairs to get their customers back on the road again without breaking the bank. Below, they explain how to tell whether you need a relatively simple tire repair or a full replacement.
Does Your Flat Need Tire Repair or Replacement?
Responding to a Flat Tire
One key factor in determining whether tire repair is possible relates to how appropriately the driver responded to the flat tire. Tires are designed to operate safely only when properly inflated, so drivers should pull over as soon as possible when they notice a flat. Driving on a flat tire can badly damage the tire’s sidewall, meaning that even if the original puncture is repaired, the tire will be in weakened condition and possibly unsafe to use.
Examine the Wound
Tire repair is typically only possible for punctures less than a quarter inch in diameter in the tread area. If instead you find your tire has been cut or gashed, no tire repair will be able to make your tire safe to operate. Punctures in the sidewall or even the shoulder of the tread usually cannot be safely patched, nor can punctures larger that a quarter inch.
Ask a Trusted Mechanic
The most important consideration in tire repair is your safety. Always inquire with a professional before you attempt to repair a tire yourself. They are trained and know how to quickly diagnose the problem and repair the tire if it’s salvageable. If it turns out you need a new tire, they’ll help you pick out the best option to get your car safely back on the road.