It’s a nice, sunny day, and you’re driving down the road to the office in a good mood.
Suddenly, the vehicle hits a bump, and you know that something isn’t right. You hope and pray, but when you get down to inspect, the worst fear comes true – it’s a leak.
At this instant, you think back to when a friend offered to teach you how to patch a tire. But you were too busy scrolling Instagram and didn’t pay attention.
Luckily, today’s guide will discuss how much does it cost to patch a tire and how to do it right.
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Tire Repair: Complete Guide
We didn’t want to write a boring guide on repairing tires; that’s why today we will discuss everything related to a flat tire before talking about the tire patch cost. Unless you know what causes a flat tire, it will be challenging to understand the relevance of tire patches and why you should pay so much money.
What Causes A Flat Tire
One of the most common reasons for flat tires is sharp objects lying on the road, resulting in a leak. These can include nails, broken glass, or screws that are extremely tiny, making it difficult to spot them while driving.
What’s worse is that depending on the extent of the puncture, you may not realize you’ve got a flat tire until several days later. As a result, the cost of patching tires goes up considerably.
Sometimes a bent wheel or rim can lead to steady air loss until you’re left with a flat tire. It’s a usual problem on pothole-littered roads, with the tire frequently passing over them at high speeds.
Moreover, under a heavy impact, you can end up with a damaged tire, and this is especially problematic if the car has a thin tire supported by a large rim.
Apart from nail punctures and warped wheels, issues like collisions, internal damage, and overinflation lead to damaged tires. It would help if you were particularly watchful about the latter because overinflating tires causes them to wear unevenly, creating internal problems which destroy them from the inside.
With time, uneven wear and tear inevitably result in flat tires, and the only option would be to replace them with new tires.
How To Fix A Flat Tire?
Flat tires are more common than you think; as such, you should know what to do if you get a flat tire.
Check the Puncture
First and foremost, you should check if the tire is indeed flat and locate the source of the leak. Every modern vehicle has a car pressure light on the dashboard; wait for it to come on before checking the tire pressure.
Low tire pressure could be a sign of a slow leak, but it might be equally possible that the air pressure outside impacts the tire pressure. So, don’t be hasty in removing the tires; rather, re-inflate them and try to spot anything unusual, such as a small puncture that’s causing the air to escape.
Another tried-and-tested method is putting your ears on the tire to pick up the sound of escaping air. Follow the sound to locate the puncture hole, and provided it’s small, a tire patch will help repair the damage.
Changing The Tire
Car owners have two options to get a flat tire repaired – changing it in a repair shop or doing it themselves. If you encounter a flat on the road, you may not make it to the tire shops in time, so the best option would be to pull over safely.
Have a pressure sensor with you just in case before proceeding to remove the whole tire. For this, you need to loosen the tire lugs and jack up the car, making it easy to fix the replacement.
Once you’ve finished replacing the damaged tire with the spare tire, lower the car steadily and tighten the lugs. Make sure that the wheel is firmly on before driving off.
When Does A Tire Patch Prove Useful?
The best part about using tire patches is that they are extremely cost-effective and perfect for holes less than ¼ inches in diameter. It’s a simple fix, and you won’t have to pay a hefty sum in auto repair shops as any car owner can learn how to do a DIY tire patch.
But before delving into the details, you need to watch out for a couple of things. For instance, the puncture should be between two tire treads and not on the tire’s sidewall.
In case you find that the hole is towards the shoulder of the tire, a tire patch can cause further damage to the car. You’ll have to replace the tire in such a scenario more often than not.
Additionally, it’s good to check all four tires because using a tire patch depends on the kind of tread you’ve got. Anything less than 3/32 inches is not conducive for tire patches.
How Long Does A Tire Patch Last?
After using a tire tread indicator or a tire gauge to measure the tread, you’ll want to know how long a tire patch lasts. Let’s face it – why would you invest your time and effort into something if it isn’t durable?
Luckily, tire patches for any tires with treads greater than 4/32 inches should last their lifetime. In other words, the inexpensive tire patch guarantees longevity, using only a few simple tools.
Tire Patch Cost
Most shops charge a lot of money for tire repair, so knowing the tire patch cost will place you in good stead. If you go to auto shops, they usually charge $25 to rebalance and patch the tire.
The cost also depends on the extent of the puncture and the damage to the tires. Provided you spot the puncture early, it’s possible to patch the tire for anything between $15 and $30. Sometimes a car repair shop may even charge less than $20 or offer a free service, but this is very rare, so don’t get your hopes up.
What’s more, mechanics often recommend applying a tire sealant, which adds to the overall cost. On average, a sealant costs between $10 and $15 but always make sure that the service center uses the sealant along with the patch. Simply applying a sealant won’t solve the problem, and the puncture may resurface after 50-100 miles.
But if you don’t want the hassle of going to a professional service to repair the flat, purchasing a DIY tire patch kit is your best bet. These kits cost around $5-$20, comprising plugs, seals, and other simple gear.
Additionally, you can purchase a larger kit containing a pump and powerful sealant to re-inflate the tire after fixing the flat.
What Is A Tire Plug?
It’s necessary to discuss the utility of a tire plug because people are often confused about whether to opt for a plug or a patch. A tire plug is a temporary fix for a damaged tire and naturally doesn’t last as long as a patch.
On the flip side, they cost less than a tire patch; that’s why some car owners opt for plugs. To clear the air, we have narrowed down the good and the bad about tire plugs, explaining why you should use a tire patch.
As mentioned, tire plugs cost less and hardly take time to apply, making them seem desirable in theory. Indeed, they can be a suitable option for solving minor tire issues, helping you get back on the road quickly.
The new tire plugs on the market are also technologically advanced, enhancing tire stability in modern cars.
Sorry to burst your bubble; the cons far outweigh the pros when using plugs. For example, if the puncture is near the sidewall, you should always opt for a tire patch because the plug won’t seal the damage completely. Remember this rule – a tire patch is much more effective for a slash or when the puncture isn’t straight.
Many industry experts also believe that you need to use a patch to get the most out of a plug. In case you don’t, a faulty valve stem can start leaking again, and you’ll be back to square one.
Understandably, it’s critical to remove the tire and inspect the damage because a plug fails to solve underlying problems.
How To Patch A Car Tire
For the final leg of this article, we will tell you how to patch a car tire now that you know about the possible costs.
- Remove the tire and dismount it from the rim carefully
- Use sand-paper to clean the inside of the tire line
- Use a drill or similar object to clean the puncture
- Insert the patch into the hole and pull it through
- Keep pulling until the base of the patch is flat against the opening
- Use bead sealer to hold the patch in place
- Mount the tire to the rim and reattach it to the car
Hopefully, now you’ve all the information about the cost of applying a tire patch and the steps involved.
It would be wise to thoroughly check the tire whenever you suspect a leak because letting the issue linger for too long will lead to severe damage. You should, therefore, have the proper equipment in the boot of the car to inspect the problem and make a decision quickly.
If you’re unsure about replacing the damaged tire or patching it yourself, we recommend going to a verified service center. But if cost-cutting is your priority, follow the points mentioned in this guide, and you’ll be able to patch a leak in no time.