Tires: Tire Puncture Evaluation

What it Does

This process determines the severity of a tire puncture and whether or not the tire is a good candidate for repair.

Why This Matters

Tire punctures range in severity. They can go all the way from punctures that don’t cause air leakage to punctures that cause rapid air loss and are located in a no-repair section of the tire. Not all punctures should be repaired. A good evaluation helps to determine the proper course of action (fix or replace the tire?) and facilitates reliable cost estimating.

Possible Problems and Concerns

Partial Puncture (the puncture object did not intrude through the inner liner and cause air leakage):

In this case, the tire should not be replaced, but the puncture hole should still be filled to prevent road water from intruding and reaching the steel belts in the tire. Corrosion of these steel belts risks weakening of the tire structure and resulting tire failure.

Small Puncture in Repairable Area:

The tire should be inspected externally and internally for run flat damage. If no such damage is found, the puncture angle is acceptable, and the tire is in otherwise sound condition, it should be patched from the inside, with a patch to seal in the air, and a plug to fill the puncture hole. This is commonly done with a patch/plug combo. In rare cases, further puncture damage is found to the inside of the tire that is not visible from the outside.

Large Puncture in Repairable Area:


Small Puncture in No-Repair Area:

This tire should not be “repaired” because the the repair may not be successful.

Removal of Puncture Object:

Please note that puncture evaluation often requires removal of the puncture object. In some cases, the tire will have sealed around the puncture object, and then air leakage does not show until the object is removed. This immediately disables the vehicle or requires temporary installation of the spare tire. This is one reason why a shop might contact you before pulling the object out of the tire.

Tire Plugs:

Tire plugs should never be attempted as a permanent repair. Plugging from the outside risks missing internal tire damage. It also risks sealing air into the tire but allowing it to migrate into the tread area and cause bulging of the tire. It may also fail to seal the injury hole and thus allow road water to reach steel belts in the tire.

Quality of Work:

Shops commonly charge a small amount for tire repair (or “repair”) services, and technicians commonly make little money doing tire repair work. Yet good tire repair work requires skill, training, and precision. You only want to trust this sort of work to someone who you can trust to do a good job for you. This is relevant to the mechanical integrity of your vehicle as well as your safety.