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Last week, I found my RAV4's tire had gone flat flat. The culprit: a bolt in the middle of my tire's tread, right in a tread void.

I had a rope plug kit (something like Slime Tire Plug Kit) and happened to have a bike pump. I performed the rope plug and pumped up my tire back to 35 psig.

Today, I took my car to America's Tire to have the tire repair become permanent. The rep told me:

  • America's Tire won't repair tires that have been rope plugged due to safety issues
  • They would have to scrap the tire, and offered to sell me a new tire

I feel as if the tire is fine, and I haven't heard of rope plug repairs invalidating a tire's safety.

Is it true my tire is now a safety hazard, if it had been previously rope plugged? What should I do in this situation?

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  • Never used one, so only a comment. Get a second opinion, and if that's the same, either get a new tyre, or use the mended one as the spare. Let's face it, a spare is usually a temporary get-you-home, so would work on that basis. Whenever I change my car, I find a spare spare, so I never need to travel without a usuable spare, even after a puncture.
    – Tim
    Jul 10, 2021 at 8:11
  • Get a second opinion from someone who isn't a carbon copy of a rep at America's Tire, like some independent, self-owned shop.
    – Kaz
    Sep 27, 2021 at 2:07
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    The idea that a temporary plug cannot be upgraded to a real fix (mushroom cap from the inside) seems like a bare-faced lie. It's plausible that removing the rope is a little bit more work than it was to remove the original foreign object.
    – Kaz
    Sep 27, 2021 at 2:08

1 Answer 1

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I've used "rope plugs" as permanent repairs on somewhere over 100 tires over the years. Those tires have lived their lives without having an issue with the repair failing. There should not be an issue doing so now with yours.

As for America's Tire, if that's their policy, then let them have their policy. They shouldn't get your money, at least not for a replacement which doesn't need to occur (IMHO).

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    Your practical experience is what it is, but in the UK it is illegal to resell any tire which has been repaired using only an externally-fitted plug like a rope plug. One reason is that unless the tire is removed from the rim and inspected internally, you don't actually know how much damage has occurred - and after removing the tire, there is no reason not to use an Internal patch and also a plug if the size of the external hole requires one. This is covered by a national standard (BS AU 159e: 1990). No reputable tire repair shop in the UK would use external plugs.
    – alephzero
    Jul 10, 2021 at 11:55
  • @alephzero - Good point, however, nobody is talking about reselling a tire. I'm talking about fitting plugs for personal use. Most shops here in the US would not use an external plug, either. I really don't know the exact reason why, however, do the external plugs work? Yes. Are they safe to use? In my experience yes. Have I ever experienced a tire failure on my own or others' tires after an external plug repair operation? No. Has failure every occurred with them? I'd suggest yes, however, internal tire repairs can fail as well. Jul 10, 2021 at 12:18
  • When I say I've plugged over 100 tires, I'm being conservative in my estimate. Jul 10, 2021 at 12:20
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    @DavidSupportsMonica - Actually, you're right ... and I hadn't thought about it. Agreeing with you and closing Jul 10, 2021 at 14:51
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    @IntrastellarExplorer - I've never used rubber cement to seal them up. I'm pretty sure the way they are designed, you're not supposed to. Just have clean tire and sticky rope plug. Jul 11, 2021 at 0:42

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