Driving in Huntington Station, New York, you notice the TPMS sensors indicate low tire pressure. Do you need a tire repair or a tire replacement? Knowing the difference is paramount to your safety. Whether you repair or replace a tire, it should be done by a professional tire shop like Oakwood Car Care and Tire Center. Today’s tires are engineered to last, so a puncture doesn’t necessarily mean replacement. A flat tire repair is cheaper than a replacement, but how do you know what you need? Here’s what our certified technicians want you to know to stay safe.
Most flat tires are caused by a tire puncture. A puncture is repairable if it is less than ¼-inch in length and in the center of the tread. A professional tire repair shop will remove the tire from the rim for a thorough inspection. The tire will be inspected from the inside and any damaged material removed. On-the-wheel repairs like string plugs are considered temporary and not recommended. A tire patch and plug combination is the most acceptable tire repair. A tire plug does not permanently seal the inner liner, and the patch does not fill the void left by the object. The two together ensure the tire is sealed inside and out. The use of sealants or emergency inflators is not recommended as a long-term fix for tire repair. A bad valve stem could also be the source of a leaky tire and can usually be repaired with a new valve stem.
It’s best not to drive on a flat tire. Pull over to a safe space and change over to a spare or call for help. If you have the more durable run-flats, those can buy you more time, but if driven for a long period of time with low PSI, they may not be repairable. Always check to make sure your tires are properly inflated. The placard on the inside of the driver-side door lists the recommended tire pressures for your vehicle.
If the puncture occurs in the sidewall or shoulder of the tire, it’s not repairable. Also, if there are multiple damage points that overlap in the tread or the injuries are across from each other, the tire must be replaced. If the puncture is larger than ¼ inch or the tread depth is at 2/32-inch or less in any area of the tread, a tire replacement is necessary. If a tire has an existing, improper repair, it must be scrapped. Damage such as bulges or blisters in the sidewall, a cracked or split sidewall, or uneven tread wear are all signs you need a tire replacement.
At Oakwood Car Care & Tire Center, we’ve built a reputation for tire repair services you can trust. We’ll ensure proper tire balancing and wheel alignment before returning your car. And if you need a tire replacement, we have the right size and tire to fit your vehicle.