You went camping and woke up to a cool morning breeze, the sound of water running over stone, and a flat tire. Few things ruin a scene like that. Say goodbye to the beautiful memory. While Ma makes pancakes, you’re getting out the jack and spare. By the time you’ve loosened and lug nuts, and put on the spare tire, everyone else has eaten and you get to enjoy cold scrambled eggs, links, and pancakes. It’s enough to ruin any trip.
And now, you’re wondering if you need to buy a new tire—this will add a significant cost to your already expensive vacation—or can you patch the tire? There are a few keys to deciding if a hole is indeed patchable. First, clean holes are better than messy holes. A nice round nail is very likely patchable as long as the puncture is no larger than ¼ in (.64cm).
To know if a tire is patchable, you will need to remove the tire for inspection. To do a complete patch job, you will need access to both the interior and exterior of your tire. Once you’ve discovered where the puncture is located, mark it with a crayon or any other visible marker. If your damage is located on the side wall, it’s not safe to repair and you better start thinking about new tires—though not until you’re done cursing the construction workers for leaving nails on the ground. But if the damage is limited to the tread area, it’s a cheap fix. A tire repair with a patch costs between 20-30 dollars.
When deciding if to patch a tire, it’s worth considering how much life is left in your tire. Perhaps it’s a sign. Maybe the inconvenient flat now will save you from a much worse disaster later. For those of you who hate to see an old tire die: If your tread is worn below 1/16 inch, don’t patch it! It’s time to move on.
If you’re unsure about your tire, you can always bring it into the shop. We’ll patch it if we can and guarantee the patch job. If not, we can always help you find a new tire to ease the passing.