Patching Versus Plugging Tires: What’s the Difference?

If you have a tire that has a small hole or rip, patching or plugging the tire may be possible. Both tire patches and tire plugs help to fill or cover the small hole on the tire, helping to prevent air from escaping. A properly placed tire patch or plug that is installed at a car repair shop can last the life of your tire. If you have never had a tire repair completed before, you may be wondering what the difference is between a tire patch or plug. Read on to learn more. 

What is a Patch? 

Think of a tire patch like a Band-Aid. It goes outside of the hole, completely covering the hole so that air does not escape. A patch is typically made of a rubber material and adhesive is used to apply it to your tire. It needs to be cut to the proper size to completely cover the hole, while also not interfering with any of the treadwork on your vehicle. 

What is a Plug? 

A plug is a piece of rubber that is coated with leather that is typically fed into the hole or small cut on the tire to completely fill it. This helps to prevent air from escaping by filling the hole, rather than covering it. Plugging a hole is usually a faster process compared to patching a tire, as you do not have to wait for a patch to completely dry or seal before driving your vehicle. 

Is Patching or Plugging Better?

Both patching and plugging a tire have their benefits and downsides. As a general rule of thumb, if the damage is evenly shaped, such as a nail hole, a patch may be the perfect solution. However, if the damage is jagged or uneven, such as a tiny slash or slit, a patch may be perfect. The location of the damage also plays a role in whether a tire should be patched or plugged. Damage that is on the tread work is easier to plug, whereas damage closer to, but not on, the sidewall, is easier to patch. A professional can take a look at the damage and its location to determine whether patching or plugging is the better fit for your tire. 

Both plugging and patching a tire can be a great way to fix a tiny imperfection on the tire and allow you to get more use out of the tire. However, if you are looking to have a tire repair completed, you should always bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop. Completing tire repairs on your own can be dangerous and may void your tire warranty. Here at Morgan Auto Repair, our professionals can help you with all of your car repair needs, including tire repairs. Call us to schedule an appointment or swing by one of our shops to get your tire repairs completed. 

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