Tire Services & Repair
Big Brand Tire & Service does FREE flat tire repairs as a service to help take care of our customers.
What should I be concerned about when I have a flat tire?
When an object such as a nail breaks through the inner liner of a tire, your most immediate concern as the customer is the loss of air pressure and safety of the tire. The long-term risk is that the instability around the penetrating object can lead to tread separation.
What are the primary considerations
when repairing a punctured tire?
There are three primary considerations when repairing a punctured tire.
1. The amount of damage caused. This can be evaluated by analyzing the object that punctured the tire.
2. Next, ensure there is an airtight seal of the tire's inner liner.
3. Completely filling the path the object took through the tire.
What type of repair fulfills a flat tire’s primary considerations?
A mushroom-shaped patch and plug combination repair is considered to be the best method of repairing a punctured tire as it fills these three requirements. This is the method that Big Brand Tire & Service uses.
What are the three most common methods to patch tires?
There are different methods that people use to patch their tires. The three most common methods are: the patch and plug combo (mentioned above), the string plug, and the patch method.
The String Plug Method
The string plug method is a very popular method used by off-road enthusiasts when they get a puncture in their tire while driving off-road. The reason off-road enthusiasts use the string plug method is that it does not require the tire to be removed from the rim of the car. Essentially, the string plug only fills the hole in the tire.
The problem with this solution is that it does not allow the inside of the tire to be inspected for flaws or problems. The String Plug method also does not always seal the puncture in the tire leading to air leakage.
This means that not only will the tire
continue to leak air, but it will also allow moisture to seep around the object
and into the tire. If left for an extended period of time, the probability that
the tire can be repaired will be greatly reduced because the moisture will
ultimately reach the internal steel and fabric cords used to reinforce the tire
and possibly cause rust and loss of strength.
The Patch Method
The patch method is used significantly less, but can be used by some to cut costs. This method reseals the inner liner of the tire, but does not fill the hole itself. This causes the hole to be filled with water and once again allow moisture into the tire. This will ultimately reach the internal steel and fabric cords used to reinforce the tire and cause rust and loss of strength.
The Patch and Plug Method
The patch and plug method is by far the best way to patch a tire. It seals the inner-liner of the tire and also fills the path of the injury. This method is essentially a combination of the two methods above. The patch on the inside reseals the inner liner to ensure no air can escape, and the rubber filler prevents moisture from entering into the tire itself. This is the method that Big Brand Tire & Service uses.
What happens during the repair process of my flat tire?
When a tire is brought in for repair there is a certain process that is followed so that each tire is repaired properly. To start off each tire is removed from the rim and inspected inside and out to make sure the tire can be safely repaired.
It is surprising that such a simple object such as a nail in a tire’s tread can result in severe damage, but severe damage can be done. Damage done to the tire can also be unseen from the outside.
After inspecting the tire, the next step is to make sure the patch and plug will give a watertight seal, the area surrounding the hole is cleaned, and buffed. The hole is then cleaned with a specially designed cutting drill that removes rust and sizes the hole properly to accept the rubber stem of the patch. The patch and plug stem is then inserted into the hold and pulled and cemented into place, the stem will then vulcanize (attach itself at a microscopic level) with the tire to help prevent moisture from reaching the tire's reinforcing cords from the outside.
Then the patch is vulcanized to the interlinear of the tire and pressed into place. Next the vulcanizing cement is spread on top of and around the patch to help ensure a proper air seal. Finally the tire is filled with air and tested for a proper seal.
If done properly the tire will be airtight and once again safe to drive on the road.
However, it is important to realize that the tire will never be as strong as it once was. While indoor laboratory tests have shown that freshly punctured and properly repaired tires can still achieve high speeds, it is not recommended that repaired street tires, or punctured DOT-legal competition tires and racing slicks be used for track events.
What is Big Brand Tires’ policy regarding flat tire repair?
Below are the policies that Big Brand Tire & Service follows regarding flat repairs:
For a tire to be repaired it must meet the following safety requirements:
· The puncture must be in the tread area of the tire
· The puncture must be less than 1/4 inch in diameter
· There must be a least 1/32 inch of tread remaining on the tread surfaces
· The tire must not be severely weather checked
· The tire must not be older than 6 years old (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a consumer advisory on the effects of aging on tires. In its advisory, it requires tires to be replaced within six to ten years, regardless of tread depth.)
· The overall condition of the tire must be good (no more than 3 other flat repairs, and previous punctures are far enough away that the repairs do not overlap)
If it does not meet any of these standards then the tire cannot be repaired and must be scrapped.
Do you patch run-flats at Big Brand Tire?
For safety reasons, we do not patch run-flats. Due to the construction of a run-flat tire, there is no way for us to determine the integrity of the tire. This becomes especially important if the customer gets another hole in the tire and is forced to drive on the tire again.