Can You Plug a Run-Flat Tire?by Lexa W. Lee
Run-flat tires are designed with reinforced sidewalls that allow the tire to be driven for a limited distance without air. Some run-flat tires can be plugged, if a patch is placed over the plug.
Manufacturer recommendations about repairing runflats vary. Some manufacturers specify what sort of damage to a run-flat can be repaired. For example, Goodyear recommends repair only if the damage is within the tire's outside grooves and restricted to the tread. The company also specifies that plug of 1/4-inch in diameter be used, with a patch applied over it.
Some manufacturers recommend that run-flats with splits should be replaced, and that repairing them will void their warranty. If the fabric of the tire has split, repair might still be possible, but it will be more complicated and the speed rating of the tire will be lost. This means it should not be driven beyond normal highway speeds.
Many tire shops refuse to repair run-flats. Most car manufacturers still use conventional radials and not all tire dealers even stock run-flats, so there may be a wait of a few days if you need to replace a run-flat tire.
Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.