If you’re a car owner, chances are you’re familiar with automobile issues. Unfortunately, some of these car troubles can be inconvenient and even dangerous if neglected or mishandled. One of these includes a punctured or worn out tire.

Punctured tires turn into flat tires very quickly. This subsequently leads to your inability to drive and even a blowout, which can be fatal if you have an accident.

Fortunately, this is a relatively easy and inexpensive fix. Here’s a guide to solving your punctured tire with patching that’ll safely help you reach your destination.

Tire Patching Basics

When you run over a sharp object like a nail, your tire will begin deflating. You’ll want to get to a repair service or purchase some tire patching materials to save your tire as soon as possible. You can use patching for holes and cuts that are ¼ of an inch or smaller. Larger cuts can potentially cut the tire’s steel cords and make them weak. Patching larger cuts will keep air from leaking until you can replace the tire, but you’d still need to drive with caution.

Puncture wounds that are smaller than a ¼ inch in diameter and that aren’t on your tire’s sidewall can be patched within minutes. This method seals the hole from the inside. Vulcanizing the patching solution can take up to half an hour to ensure the curing agents properly bind to the rubber.

How Long Will a Patched Tire Last?

When performed correctly, a tire patch can last for several years. This is good to know if you’ve recently bought a new tire and accidentally punctured it. Successful tire patches can be driven long distances without an issue.

Keep in mind, a patched tire cannot be patched more than once. If you experience damage to the same tire, it’s time to replace it. Otherwise, you increase your chances of a blowout. When you’re in a jam, patching a tire can save you both time and resources. Remember, if you don’t have experience, have a professional perform your patchwork for you. Doing so also reduces your chances of an accident or further damage to your tire.

Punctures larger than a quarter inch in diameter and slashes should always be grounds to replace your tire. If you can, keep a spare tire in your car to ensure your safety during road trips and emergency situations. Car tires are just one of those products that are absolutely necessary and not up for debate. Of course, what is up for debate is whether you should buy new or used. Here is how that argument typically goes in reference to tire-buying.

New Tires (Supposedly) Last Longer

Yes, new tires typically last longer than used tires. However, a sharp nail in the road will destroy a new tire just as quickly as it destroys a used one. That said, do you want to pay more for a new tire and take that risk, or do you want to pay for a used tire and feel better about the situation when something causes the tire to blow? A lot of people choose the latter, but that is up to you. Likewise, if you purchase discounted new tires, comparable in price to used tires, you can breathe the same sigh of relief if and when a tire is damaged.

Used Tires Are (Supposedly) Cheaper

Used tires are often cheaper than new ones. There are exceptions to this rule, too. Discount new tires may only cost slightly more or slightly less than gently used. Used tires with just enough tread on them to still be called tires are the cheapest of all, but these tires may only last a few months before you have to replace them again. However, you might luck out and get hardly worn tires that will last almost as long as new tires for half the price. Again, it really just depends on the condition you find them in. The difference is that used tires carry more risk than brand new ones. Depending on your budget, that could still be a good trade-off.

If You Buy Used, You May Spend Almost as Much as New Tires Each Year Replacing Them

Say you opted for used tires. Six to eleven months later, you have to replace them. So you pay used tire prices to replace them. You have now spent close to, equal to, or more than you would have had you just purchased new tires. New tires would have lasted a couple years or more, too. What would you spend on used tires during that time frame? That is something to consider. Again, it really depends on the condition of your used tires. Make sure you are patching your tires, if you are able, to extend their life. 

New Tires Have Warranties-Used Tires Do Not

Finally, there is the warranty issue. New tires, even when discounted, have warranties against damages and malfunctions. Used tires do not. You have protection with the warranty in that if the new tires blow up, rupture, split, crack, or malfunction due to manufacturer defects, the affected tires are replaced free of charge. If those same issues occur with used tires, you are entirely on your own. You will have to replace them and pay out-of-pocket when used tires exhibit defects and/or blow.

If you are checking the wear on your tires, or if your tire is punctured, consider the advice here about tire patches, used tires, and new tires. It could save you some time and money in the long run.