How Close To The Sidewall Can You Plug A Tire? Explained!

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Generally, you can plug a tire up to 1/4 inch (6 mm) from the sidewall. In this process, you have to insert a plug into the hole to seal the leak. Basically, it’s a quick and easy way to repair a flat tire caused by a small puncture.  

As it includes several risks, most tire manufacturers or professionals do not encourage this. But if you are bound to do it, you should consider several aspects.

Such as: how often you can do it, their disadvantages, etc. So, continue reading to learn more. 

What Happens If You Plug A Tire Close To The Edge? 

A flat tire is a common issue that you might have experienced at some point. To solve this issue quickly, a tire plug kit helps a lot. 

Though it’s an effective temporary solution, you should understand the potential issues that might arise when plugging a tire close to the edge.

Here are some of the issues that can occur if you plug a tire close to the edge and why it is generally not recommended.

Increase the chance of leaks

Plugging near the edge of the tire mainly reduces the available surface area for the plug to adhere to, which makes it harder to get a secure seal.

As a result, it creates air leaks. This can lead to gradual or sudden loss of tire pressure and negatively impact the tires optimal performance and stability.

The plug won’t hold for a longer period

The sidewall of any tire is made of softer rubber than the tread area. That’s why it can easily damage the plug. 

Also, it stays under more stress than the tread area. This means there is a greater chance that the plug will fail/won’t hold if you plug there.

Compromise structural integrity

Generally, a tire sidewall maintains the tire’s shape and withstands the forces exerted while driving. 

So, if you plug too close to the edge this will compromise the sidewall’s stability and increase the chance of failure. It’ll also create further damage like: bulges or sidewall blowouts.

Reduce repair option

If you plug a tire too close to the edge and if it doesn’t work as it should, you have to replace the tire. However, plugging a tire far from the edge is considered repairable if it happens near the edge it becomes irreparable.

Increase the chance of an accident

By plugging near the edge you actually put yourself and other people on the road. This causes sudden tire pressure loss, which can lead to loss of control and accidents.

Violate road safety law

By plugging the tire too close to the edge, you may violate traffic and safety laws in your local area. In such cases, you may also face financial penalties.

Is A Plug Safe for A Tire? 

Technically it is safe if you do it by following proper instructions. However, there are several controversies about its effectiveness. 

Because, some people believe that it’s a reliable and safe way to repair a punctured tire but others believe that they are not as safe as a permanent solution like: tire patch.

Here, if we keep those controversies aside and look into their benefits, we’ll notice that it’s not only an easy and quick method but also inexpensive. Also, you don’t need any heavy machine or extensive experience.

Besides, nowadays most plug manufacturers maintain the industry standards set by the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

These standards not only ensure that tire plugs are safe and effective but also they are compatible with different types of tires.

Ultimately, it’s your decision whether you want to use this method or not.

How Many Times Can You Plug A Tire?

Generally, you can plug a tire twice; it is not recommended to do more. Because plugging too many times can reduce the tires optimal performance.

It also reduces the plug ability to hold the air pressure which will create a tire leak issue or even blow out.

Which Is Better: Patching Or Plugging A Tire?

Which Is Better Patching Or Plugging A Tire

Though patching and plugging are both effective ways to repair a flat tire there are some key differences between them.

Here one method offers more convenience, but it requires more money and time. On the other hand, though the other method takes less money and time, it cannot be used in every situation.

So, check out their key differences mentioned in the comparison table to select your suitable option.

Repairing method Applying a rubber patch inside the tireInserting a rubber plug into the puncture
DurabilityExtremely durable     Not as durable as patching   
Required tire removal YesNo
Experience requiredNeed professional technicianCan be done by yourself
Puncture sizeSuitable for larger puncturesSuitable for smaller punctures
Required timeTakes 20 to 30 minutes   Takes 4 to 5 minutes
Longevity Long-term solution  Temporary solution   
Difficulty of installationDifficult Easier than patching
Effectiveness for larger holes Highly effective Not effective      
Cost (approx)$30 to $70$10 to $15

Ultimately, it’s important to note that the suitability of patching or plugging depends on several factors. Such as: the diameter and location of the puncture, tire condition, and local regulations.

So, the best way to decide which method to use is to consult with a qualified/expert technician. They will check the damage condition and will suggest the best solution. But if you want to do it by yourself, follow this video:

What Is The Disadvantage of A Tire Plug?

Plugging a tire is a quick and cost-effective fix but there are several disadvantages and limitations associated with it. 

Understanding these drawbacks is essential to make a wise decision about the proper repair method for your tire. Here are those disadvantages:

It’s not durable

Technically it is not as durable as a patch because it does not address the underlying damage to the tire. Also, it doesn’t provide a permanent solution, and the tire may still need to be repaired or replaced in the long run.

It can come out over time

Here the plug is not bonded to the tires inside which can be displaced by vibration or by hitting a bump in the road. This situation will create a sudden tire pressure loss issue.

Void Warranty

If your tire has a warranty using a tire plug might void the warranty.

Increase accident risk

A tire plug can suddenly be replaced from its own place which causes sudden tire pressure loss and creates vehicle imbalance. This prevented controlling the vehicle which ultimately ended in an accident.


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