Why Can’t You Patch A Tire Shoulder [Explained]

Tire repairs are mostly limited to the center of the tread area. Each time you get a puncture on the shoulder or the sidewall, then such a tire is not repairable.

Below is an image indicating the only repairable area of your tire. This does not include the shoulder. 

The shoulder and sidewall are built to flex a lot when you drive the car. This means their construction is not as robust compared to the tread face.

So, damage to these parts means you have to scrap the tire and have a new one installed. 

The worst is when you end up having an improper patch too. Air is likely to continue leaking or, worse, end up with a blowout or bulge on the same tire. This can be dangerous for the person driving the car. 

When is a vehicle’s tire repairable?

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Important Tire Repair Guidelines

Assuming that you decide to repair the tire, what are the proper guidelines for having it done? Here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

  • You should have the repair done by a trained professional. This ensures you end up with a proper working tire. As much as you can do it yourself, at times, you can seek the help of a professional where you are unsure. 
  • As mentioned before, keep the repairs limited to only the repairable area. Those who have tried to repair the sidewall and shoulder section often lose air after a couple of weeks. It would be nice to replace the tire. 
  • If the puncture is greater than 6mm or a ¼ of an inch, just replace the tire. This is because such repairs do not hold for long. You might easily find yourself stranded after some point. Such damage also affects the reliability and durability of the tire. 
  • Repairs are not supposed to overlap. In case the puncture happens in the same area that had damage before, repairing such a tire makes it unsafe. That is why industry experts may recommend replacing such a tire.
  • Even if you use emergency inflators or sealants, still take the tire to a professional tire shop. This is because some of these sealants often do not hold for long. You need a long-term solution. 
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Here is a quick video on tire safety you should know. 

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Dangers of driving on plugged tires

The first concern would be if should you plug the puncture in the first place. For a puncture on the shoulder or sidewall, it is not advisable to plug it. Simply consider having it repaired professionally. 

The angle of the puncture is another concern. If the nail punctures the tire at an angle, it is hard to repair it properly. 

Also, old tires are best replaced rather than trying to repair them. If your tire is old and is punctured on the shoulder, do not hesitate to replace it. 


Can a tire be patched on the side?

If the damage extends into the shoulder, you should not repair it. Only stick to the tread area. 

What is a shoulder of a tire?

The shoulder is described as where the sidewall and tread meet. It is also the area with the corner of the tire transitioning into the sidewall.

Are tire plugs permanent?

No. Tire plugs are only meant to offer a temporary solution until you have the tire fixed professionally.

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