Millennials and Gen-Z may not use their vehicles as much as previous generations, but that does not mean they don’t have to deal with car trouble. More than 80% of Americans say that they have experienced a flat tire in their lifetime, making it pretty clear that a tire blowout can happen to even the best of us.
But how prepared are you for this situation?
If you’re not sure, don’t worry; it’s never too late to learn. Besides understanding how to remove the tire, you will also need to know how close to the sidewall you can patch a tire. If you get too close, you could make the problem worse.
So, how close to the sidewall can you patch a tire? We’ll tell you everything you should know in this complete guide.
The Short Answer
If your tire is damaged or punctured within an inch of its sidewall, it’s best not to patch it. Our advice is to call a professional immediately to have your car taken to a safe area and have it replaced.
Understanding Your Tire’s Sidewall
The sidewall of your tire protects its cord plies. Without it, your tire would be weak and flexible. On the sidewall, you should see certain markings and information that tells you more about your tires, like the:
- Load index
The crown is the thickest part of your tire. This is the area that comes in direct contact with the road. The tire’s shoulder sits outside the crown, and the sidewall is the outermost and smoothest part of the tire’s surface.
Many times, a plastic layer is added to the sidewall rubber for added protection and support. This can make it tricky for a non-professional to patch the tire with precision, especially close to the sidewall.
Can You Drive With a Tear in Your Tire?
If you’re in a dire situation with no help available to you, then you may have to patch or plug your tire, even if it’s close to the sidewall. This is definitely safer than driving with a punctured or torn tire.
Consider checking: How To Use A Tire Plug Kit
Drive to the nearest place that can replace your tire or a place where help can reach you quickly. Keep a close eye on your tire to see if the puncture is getting worse and ensure that it is a safe enough distance from the sidewall.
Patching Your Tire Near the Sidewall
The farther the puncture is from the sidewall, the easier it will be to patch it. However, there are still risks that come with attempting to patch it.
Keep the below key points in mind before attempting to patch a tire close to the sidewall:
It Can Reduce Your Tire’s Integrity
Sidewalls are already delicate and smooth. A tear or puncture would have already caused significant damage to the area and the tire as a whole. Patching it will just degrade the overall quality.
The Patch May Not Last Long
Sidewalls are under a lot of pressure and movement when being used in your vehicle. Any patch of plug you install is likely to get peeled off fairly quickly. This makes it risky for the driver as well as the professional who has patched it.
The size and exact place of the puncture will matter. What is the maximum puncture size that you can repair in a sidewall? You should only repair tread punctures that are less than a quarter of an inch, so sidewall punctures will have to be smaller than those considered for repair.
If there’s more than one puncture close to each other, it is best not to attempt any repair.
Air Pressure and Vehicle Weight Have Impact
If your tire is losing air very quickly, it is best to wait till a professional can change your tire and not attempt to patch it yourself. This is also crucial if your vehicle is heavy or is carrying a heavy load.
The Bottom Line
Did we do a good job breaking down how close to the sidewall you can patch a tire? If you still have questions, we recommend seeking professional help. Many states have even made it illegal to patch a tire close to its sidewall, so check your local laws as well.
Some service centers offer vulcanizing procedures to fix a tire puncture instead of patching. This is a more complex fix and should be undertaken only by a professional after a thorough checkup of your tires and vehicle.
Remember to get your vehicle and all its parts regularly serviced, especially if you use it daily and for long commutes. We also recommend getting your tires checked before the change of season, as they can react differently to extreme cold and heat.
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