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A little background: I live in Canada and recently I drove over a crater on a public road (60km max city road), which I assumed was caused by the recent extreme cold weather. It was night time and there were water on the road from melted snow. The crater wasn't big and very visible, but it's deep enough to cause serious damage to one of my tires and I barely made it home.

The next day I went to an auto shop (Canadian Tire for all you Canadians) but they said the damage was beyond repair and I had to replace it for a new one.

I would like to get to the specific of my tire repair before I take it to the dealership. How do I tell if a tire is irreparable, besides the obvious signs such as completely blown holes? And to be more specific, what kinds of tire damage are reparable?

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A picture of the tire and the damage in question would help us give critical feedback on the initial diagnosis. – Bob Cross Jan 14 '14 at 16:31
@BobCross thanks for feedback, I'll try to take a picture tonight when I'm by my car... If I can find where the damage is. – Xavier_Ex Jan 14 '14 at 17:16
In fact, I brought it back to auto shop yesterday and they showed me the damage this time. I could feel the air leaking from the outside of the tread. – Xavier_Ex Jan 16 '14 at 16:09
Leaking air => probably requires repair.... If there are visible symptoms (i.e., would show up in a picture), it would be great to have hear as a reference for future readers. "This is an example of pothole induced tire damage - could be fatal to your tire." – Bob Cross Jan 16 '14 at 18:16
@BobCross Ya it's definitely broken without doubt, the problem is since the leak is not within the centre 50% of the tread the auto shop said it's irreparable, which is consistent to what Brian Knoblauch said below. Unfortunately the damage is not visible so I can't post the picture ;( – Xavier_Ex Jan 16 '14 at 18:29
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Generally, the only damage to a tyre that can be repaired is small holes in the tread (e.g. something caused by a nail) - these can be plugged. Any damage to the sidewall is usually un-repairable, as are any large gashes in the tread.

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Thanks for answering. It seems tires are more fragile than I think... I guess if that's the case my tire is indeed beyond repair as I could hear clearly the air rapidly leaking out making that piercing sound. – Xavier_Ex Jan 14 '14 at 16:02
These days, "in the tread" really means in the center 50% of tread. Most places won't even do small hole repairs on the outer tread blocks anymore (vs. 15 years ago when shops would plug sidewalls! I've had a couple of those sidewall plugs, no problems ever, but in today's society it's safer for the tire shops to take a lot more of your money and sell you a whole new tire). – Brian Knoblauch Jan 14 '14 at 17:14

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