To Repair or Not to Repair

Tire service is an important part of our business that comes with a large amount of responsibility. This large amount of responsibility is why we need to insure that anything we do is performed to industry approved standards.

When it comes to tire repair, there are still some stores using “rope” plugs and sending our customers out on the highways with non-industry approved tire repair. When I speak of industry I mean the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), Tire Industry Association (TIA) and all tire manufacturers. Some stores are doing an excellent job of providing a completely approved repair. However, some of the things some stores fall short on are:

  • Using a drill bit instead of an approved carbide cutter to properly prepare the injury channel. A drill bit shreds the belt package instead of properly shaping the injury channel for safe repair.
  • Installing a combination plug at greater than twenty five degrees. A plug then patch procedure is required if the injury channel in more than twenty five degrees from straight into the tread.
  • Using buffing solution after the liner is buffed. Buffing solutions is to be used prior to buffing to remove release agents from the liner, preventing contamination of sealing surface.
  • Omitting liner sealer or using “Bead Sealer” for liner sealer. Liner sealer differs from bead sealer in that it vulcanizes to prevent air from leaking through the buffed area around the patch. Bead sealer does not vulcanize.
  • Using shop air instead of vacuuming out the tire. Shop air tends to have moisture and oil which reduces the integrity of the bond.

When it comes to litigation, anything we do is compared to “Industry Standards” and if it is found that our service is not up to industry standards, we are liable for any damages related to our service. So that brings me back to repair or not to repair.

Rope plugs are not considered industry approved. Only some run-flat tires are permitted to be repaired. See the table below from Tirerack.com.

To repair the tire it must be removed from the rim for proper internal and external inspection. If any of the following is found, the tire must not be repaired.

  •  Previous non-approved repair, including: rope plug, patch only, plug only, or repair outside of tread area
  • More than 1/4 inch injury anywhere in the tire
  • Shoulder lug or sidewall injury
  • Tears in bead
  • Any tread area that measures 2/32 inch or less
  • Any exposed belt or sidewall cords
  • Any signs of run flat damage to the inner liner
  • Bulge
  • Shifted belt
  • Two previous repairs (a common limit by tire manufacturers)
  • Tire age of ten years of more, *see footnote in full article below

If none of the above is found, now it is time to decide whether to preform a one piece (combo patch-plug) or two piece plug then patch repair procedure. If it is determined that the injury is zero degrees up to 25 degrees from straight into the tread a one piece repair may be performed. If the injury is more than 25 degrees a two piece repair will be required.