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My wife picked up a rather large screw in her tire. It's a very clean entry, but I'm pretty sure it's too large to plug the hole. One shop even said as much, but I figured I'd get a second opinion here. I've seen it said elsewhere that 0.25" diameter is the largest hole you can plug. Unfortunately when I removed this screw I measured it and the major diameter of the thread is around 0.31" (but obviously the shaft i.e. minor diameter is much less). I'm amazed it was actually able to do such a perfect puncture job, since it is over 2" long and moreover has a rounded tip... no point at all! I actually think the giant washer is what made it possible, since when the car ran over the washer that is what forced the tip of the screw to lift off the ground.

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  • Could a tube be used if the tire carcass can't be patched? – dlu Jul 24 '16 at 0:07
  • Don't measure the screw, measure the hole. :) – tlhIngan Jul 24 '16 at 2:22
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    Really, just buy a plug kit and repair it yourself. It is VERY EASY to do, just follow directions. As I commented on @Zaid's answer below, I'd have no issues plugging this and calling it a day. For $5 or so, do it yourself and have left overs for the next time you pick up a nail or screw. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 24 '16 at 12:40
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The Rubber Manufacturers Association rules say that a hole larger than 1/4" cannot be repaired (https://rma.org/tire-safety/tire-repair). So if your measurement is accurate, it's unlikely you'll find a shop willing to repair the hole - they may be legally liable if there was any issues afterwards.

If it was my wife's car, I'd have no problem with (a) getting a second opinion - without expecting a different result, and then (b) Buying at least one new tire for the car. I wouldn't want anything less than a perfect repair.

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    My measurement is accurate, but it's a measurement of the bolt's major thread diameter, not of the hole. The hole is smaller because (a) the bolt's diameter on average is less than the major diameter and (b) rubber is compressible. Even if I drilled a perfect .25" bit through a new tire, I'll bet the hole would come out smaller (when measuring the hole in uncompressed material). In this case, the hole is .22". These are crap tires that came on a new car, but they're also barely used... we will probably replace them before the end of the season, but are still undecided if we'll do it now. – The111 Jul 24 '16 at 5:46
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    Took the tire (without the bolt still in it) to a reputable tire shop in the area. They plugged it no questions asked, pumped it to high PSI, tested it. We'll probably still replace all 4 tires in a couple months. Thanks. – The111 Jul 24 '16 at 21:50
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Try a different shop, they should be able to patch it. A hole this big at the bottom of a groove is less critical than the same hole on the rolling surface.

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  • Why would a hole at the bottom of the groove (which I'd suppose is already a structural weak point) be less critical than one on the rolling surface? – leftaroundabout Jul 25 '16 at 10:41
  • @leftaroundabout Rolling surface wears down, exposing your hole again. – tlhIngan Jul 25 '16 at 17:43
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I have had a larger puncture repaired with a tire plug. As long as the repair is properly done (i.e. no air leaks) you should be fine

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    Agreed. To the OP: I've done well over a 100 tire repairs using the plugs. I've never had an issue with one leaking. I've even used two plugs once on a rather nasty large hole with good results. Was able to drive the tire (Michelin LT on my Suburban), which was relatively new, until it wore out without issue. I have no hesitation pulling out the plugs for something like this. It is easily done at home. Just ensure you cut the excess off which sticks out of the tire. This prevents the plug from getting pulled out. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 24 '16 at 12:37
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There are two common, basic methods of tire hole fixing.

The easy, cheap solution is to get a $5 kit from any auto store. The kit with the rubberish cord-like things that you shove in the hole from the outside. These work fairly well, especially if you aren't going to keep the car/tires a long time or drive a lot in real weather (e.g. snow/ice and 100+ degrees, 75mph, etc.). I've used them. I've had great success. I've had one come out - when this happens, it could be a catastrophic failure if the whole plug comes out.

The better solution is a patch applied by taking off the tire, and patching from the inside. This is much more expensive, but much more reliable. I prefer this method. While I'm sure it has happened, I've never known one of these to come out.

A reference: http://tires.about.com/od/Tire_Safety_Maintenance/a/Tire-Repair-Plugging-Vs-Patching.htm

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You can plug that hole with no problems. Most Auto-Zone type places sell a generic plug kit, with a T-type corkscrew driver, plugs and glue. So what I might do is plug it like that BUT also glue a gaiter on the inside just to be sure. ALSO, If i was a little doubtful, possibly swap the tyre out with the spare.....use in emergency only....which means also you monitor that it holds pressure.

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    What is a gaiter? Also wondering how an "average person" gets access to the inside of a tire. – dlu Jul 24 '16 at 21:40
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Could that be plugged with a proper internal plug? Absolutely

Could that be plugged with a temporary cord plug? Sure, thick cord plugs with extra cement would do that. I've plugged bigger holes than that using cord, but it'll eventually start leaking again as the cement weathers out of the fabric.

I've no insight into what you expect as an owner/driver, but as someone who does their own maintenance and lives on a gravel road full of construction and mining debris, plugged tires just need to remain in your memory. Don't ask for tire repairs to be forgettable. Keep an eye on the repair as a point of maintenance. A leaking plug can always be punched out and replugged. The thing to watch out for rust damage to the belting in the puncture area.

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