Can I Drive Long Distance with a Plugged Tire?

Can I Drive Long Distance with a Plugged Tire?

Last Updated on January 3, 2023

Driving with a plugged tire isn’t ideal, but if this inconvenience has hit you at the worst possible time, then you might be wondering whether you can soldier on despite the issue. Can I drive long distance with a plugged tire?

Yes, when repaired correctly, driving long distance on a plugged tire is safe. Tire plugs are a quick fix that can last up to 25,000 miles. However, if the plug is at the outer edge close to the sidewall, it’s a temporary fix not safe for long distances.

Fact is, a puncture within the top of the tire is an easy and cost effective fix when using a tire plug. And it’s perfectly safe to travel long distances on a tire repaired correctly using a plug kit.

However, any puncture or damage close to the sidewall requires the tire to be replaced. Which, can really be a problem when on a road trip.

While long-distance car trips can be fun, they also come with their own set of challenges – including how best to respond when confronted with a flat tire situation.

Frantically searching through your vehicle to make sure there’s a spare tire, only to realize that it too has been deflated. Now what?

The good news is, a tire plug is a quick and safe solution to get you back on the road again. Tire plug manufacturers claim a properly installed plug can last seven to ten years.

So, if you are wondering – can I drive long distance with a plugged tire? Yes, but there are some precautions to be aware of.

Let’s investigate the ins and outs of driving long distances with a plugged tire. We will help you figure out whether it is safe for your journey or not.

What Does a Tire Plug Do?

Before discussing the long-term use of a tire plug, it’s worth discussing what they actually do.

In short, a tire plug is a sticky, expandable object that can be pressed into a punctured area of a tire tread. When covered with rubber cement, the tire plug is inserted into the hole of the tire.

Once the plug is inserted correctly and trimmed, it will prevent air from leaking. It’s an inexpensive way to save a perfectly good tire.

Tire plugs are a vital tool when your car has a flat tire. And when installed correctly, will last for thousands of miles.

However, over time tire plugs wear as you begin to put miles on the tires. As such, it’s good practice to inspect the tire plug at each rotation service.

Will Having My Tire Plugged Void the OEM Tire Warranty?

Some tire warranties specifically exclude damage that can be repaired with a tire plug. Other tire manufacturers may consider a plugged tire to be repaired, but then provide a reduced level of warranty coverage.

The truth is, filling a puncture with a tire plug is an easy fix. However, some tire manufacturers won’t honor the warranty with this type of fix.

Worse yet, an improper repair will most certainly void the tire warranty completely.

Just keep in mind that, even though plugging a hole might be cost effective in the short term, it may end up voiding your warranty.

What is a Tire Plug Made Out Of?

Tire plugs are usually made of a rubber compound. When combined with rubber cement, it seals the puncture in the tire.

Can a Tire Plug Be Installed Improperly?

Yes, it is possible to install a tire plug improperly. For example, not trimming the hole properly or failure to apply rubber cement to the plug.

Simply put, if the tire plug is installed incorrectly, the tire may not hold proper air pressure. In fact, in some cases, the tire may lose air pressure slowly. Worst case scenario, an incorrectly installed tire plug may fail completely.

It is important to follow the manufacturers instructions carefully to ensure that the repair is done correctly, and the tire is safe to use.

Do Tire Plugs Wear?

Tire plugs are made from tough rubber and meant to last, but exposure to elements like UV rays or strong chemicals can cause them to deteriorate.

This can lead to wear and tear, allowing air to slowly escape from the tire. Inevitably, this will result in a flat tire.

How Long Does It Take to Plug A Tire?

Repairing a flat tire with a tire plug can typically be completed in about 30 minutes or less. This includes the entire repair process: cleaning the damaged area, removing the puncturing object, trimming and inserting the tire plug, and re-inflating the tire.

Keep in mind that, the amount of time it takes to plug a tire will depend on the size and location of the puncture. Also the experience level of the person performing the repair.

Overall, a tire plug can be installed relatively quickly.

How Long Do Tire Plugs Last?

A properly installed plug can last up to ten years or 25,000 miles. But the actual longevity depends on several factors, such as if adequately sealed correctly or professionally installed. Life expectancy of the tire plug is shortened dramatically if not.

Can I Store a Tire Plug Kit In My Car?

Yes, having a tire plug kit stored away in your car can be greatly beneficial. A tire plug kit contains the essential materials to help seal up almost any hole, making it something that all drivers should never go on a journey without.

So if you’re looking for an automotive tool to pack in your cars’ compartments to have ready at all times, then consider investing in and storing away a tire plug kit inside your ride.

Is There a Better Solution to a Tire Plug?

Yes, a tire repair patch and plug combo is much better than plugs for bigger punctures, or holes that aren’t completely straight.

However, to install a patch and plug combo the tire must be removed from the rim.

Also, most tire manufacturers will continue to honor the tire warranty when using the patch and plug combo. In fact, both USTMA and the TIA recognize this as the proper way to repair a tire. 

Final Thoughts: Can I Drive Long Distance with a Plugged Tire

Asking the question of can I drive long distance with a plugged tire is important. Truth is, tire plugs are a quick, cost effective way to fix a puncture in your tire. Just as long as the damage isn’t too close to the sidewall.

If you’re ever on a long car trip and get a flat, make sure to check where the damage is before deciding to repair with a tire plug.

Have you ever used a tire plug? Let us know how it worked out for you!

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