Do you have a flat tire? If so, there’s a good chance that you only need minor repairs to get back on the road again. Two of the most common tire repairs techniques are patching and plugging. These methods are distinct in how they are performed, their durability, and their benefits. So whether you are thinking about DIY or professional tire repair shop, you have to choose between the two. Here is a detailed comparison that will help you make an informed decision between tire patching and plugging.
Patching is an intensive repair process that involves using a patch (an adhesive piece of rubber) to cover up the damaged area. During the procedure, you need to remove the tire from the rim, use a die grinder to clean up a small area, approximately two-inch diameter around the hole, insert a patch from the inside of the tire, and seal it off so that it binds with the tire.
Pros of Tire Patching
There are various reasons why tire patching is an ideal repair technique for a flat tire:
- Patching is the best method for fixing cuts or large punctures on the tire. That’s because the patch can cover a large diameter; hence, it will effectively seal the hole and prevent another flat.
- This method is considered a high-quality repair technique due to the steps required in fixing the puncture: cleaning, attaching the patch, and sealing it. The patch vulcanizes when the tire heats up, and this makes the repairs to last longer.
- Patching is usually done by professionals, and you can be assured of quality repairs that will not send you back into the repairs shop within a short period.
Cons of Tire Patching
Tire patching may produce durable results, but it comes with a few disadvantages:
- Patching is an engaging process as one has to remove all the inside parts of the tire using special tools. Therefore, it is not something you would do at the roadside when you get an emergency. The technique should be left to the professionals.
- Due to the complexity of the procedure, patching is time-consuming and a little pricey. You will pay at least $10 or more for a single tire repair.
- Patching is ideal for cuts and large punctures. It would be an overkill to patch up small nail holes that could easily be plugged.
Tire plugs are best used for small holes that occur when nails or other blunt objects puncture a tire and cause the air to leak out. All you have to do is to remove the object that punctured the tire and insert the plug to fix the hole. Plugs have evolved, and while traditional ones looked more like band-aids, the ones in the market today can vulcanize and provide better service for an extended period.
Pros of Plugging
Plugging makes an excellent repair method for the following reasons:
- The procedure is simple and easy, and you can carry it out within a minute and get back on the road without seeking professional help.
- Plugging is the best technique for fixing punctures from nails and other small blunt objects.
- Plugs are quite affordable, and you can get one at around $5 or less.
Cons of Plugging
The following are the drawbacks of using plugs for your tire repair needs:
- Plugs, especially the traditional ones, may not be as durable as patches. Some act as short-term solutions to puncture problems.
- Plugs cannot be used for fixing cuts, large holes, non-straight punctures, and punctures that occur near the sidewall. These are best handled through patching.
As you have seen, plugging and patching are quite distinct, and they are suitable for different types of punctures. Therefore, choose the one that’s best suited for your problem. For example, if your tire has suffered a cut, you should patch it for optimal performance. On the other hand, you can utilize plugs to fix a small hole within a few minutes. In some instances, you can also use a plug and patch combo depending on the nature of the puncture.