Repair or Replace? How to Address a Flat Tire

October 1st, 2021 by

We all have had to deal with the gut-wrenching moment of a flat tire. This may happen while you’re driving or you could notice it before you get into your vehicle, but they all mean the same thing: It’s time for a tire specialist to take a closer look. Many times, a tire can be repaired quickly and you will be on your way. Unfortunately, a very real possibility is that it may need to be replaced. So how are you to know if a tire needs to be repaired or replaced? 

 Guide on whether you can repair or replace your tires 

When can you repair your tire instead of replacing it? 

A repair can usually be done if the damage occurs in the tread area only, but is dependent on a few different factors. The puncture must be smaller than 6mm in diameter, the damage to the tire must not overlap with prior damage, and the tread levels need to be adequate to justify a repair. When tires have low amounts of tread, they become more susceptible to punctures and leaks. To test the tread on your tires, simply insert a penny or quarter headfirst into the tread. If Lincoln’s or Washington’s head is below the tread, then you are good to go. If the head on the coin is fully visible, your tread is far too low. 

 How to use the coin method to test tread wear

When do you need to replace your tire instead of repairing it? 

If your coin test fails it is time to replace your tires. Another way to check for wear is the tread wear indicator. These are located around the tire and are a sure-fire sign that it is time for a replacement. If you suffer a large puncture greater than 6mm or any damage to the sidewalls, that is also an automatic indication that you will need new tires. This applies for all blowouts that may occur as well.  

Tread Wear Indicator Bars on a tire

If your tire needs to be replaced, can you just replace one? 

The answer is yes, but with some conditions. The other 3 tires must all have an adequate amount of tread and may need to be rotated. If you do decide to only replace one tire, make sure the size, tread pattern, and model are the same as the other three tires. If you use a different model or tread type, the tires could wear out faster than the others, even if it is new.  

At the end of the day, if you have questions, please ask one of our trained experts. Tires are crucial to a smooth driving experience and stopping your car, so they aren’t something to mess around with! Wilsonville Subaru will be glad to help. You can book an appointment anytime here: [] 

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