How Long Can You Drive on a Plugged or Patched Tire?
You made it! You got your punctured tire repaired before it became damaged any further. The technician fixed it, filled it, and now you’re on your way. Then a thought clouds your mood over. How long are you able to drive with your tire like this? Is it safe to drive your car on a patched tire?
There are three common ways to repair a tire:
A patch over the puncture hole on the inside of the tire
A plug through the puncture hole
A combination patch-plug that covers the puncture from the inside and plugs through it
The only proper repair is a combination patch-plug. A patch or a plug on their own are temporary repairs at best and the tire should either be repaired properly as soon as possible, or replaced.
How long Can I drive on my plug-patched tire?
A proper repair job with a plug-patch results in a tire able to hold air indefinitely — that is, unless you get another puncture. It is safe to drive your vehicle like this as long as the tire’s useful life. The one consideration is that tire manufacturers no longer support their speed rating on a repaired tire, so taking your high performance car to a track day on a repaired tire is probably not a good idea.
As a rule, most shops will not patch one tire more than three times. If the proper repair for a puncture overlaps with another repair, or if the tire has already been repaired three times, you will need to replace your tire.