At some point in our life, we had to deal with a flat or a punctured tire. But not in every case that tire is repairable, the position of the puncture matters a lot.
There may have been sometimes when you would have wondered whether your punctured tire is in condition to be patched up based on the position of puncture or if is it time to buy yourself a new tire and discard the old one.
Now we will see how close to the sidewall a tire can be patched.
Regions of a tire:
The Crown is the region of the tire that is in continuous contact with the road and withstands all the heat and wear and tear from rubbing.
It consists of treads and steel belts to hold it together and reinforce the surface and rubber.
A sidewall in a tire is the part of a tire that does not come in contact with the road and hence does not usually wear and tear hence it is often smooth without any grip.
It is the crucial part of a tire as holds up all the weight of your vehicle.
It consists of many different types of polymers and other materials along with steel belts.
The structural integrity of the sidewall is quite complex and crucial with all those different materials inside it.
The shoulder is the curve part of the tire which gets the most pressure within the tire, it is present between the sidewall and crown.
As it has to withstand all that pressure, lining it with a steel belt is avoided to make it flexible
What is a Tire Patch?
A tire patch is a piece of rubber that consists of the adhesive back that sticks itself to the side of the punctured hole inside of the tire.
They are stronger than plugs but also require more work. Some plug patches are hybrids that are available in the market.
How tire patches work?
Firstly, an incision is made in the punctured hole which is wide enough to fit the patch, and a grinder is used to make that hole rounder to avoid any tear from occurring.
Once that is done the patch is inserted into the hole with the help of a tool, so it sticks itself to the sides and inside of the tire.
With the passage of time, when you drive and rubber heats up it melts up and completely seals up the hole from the inside, it is what you call self-vulcanizing.
With tire patches that are placed with standard procedure, the repaired area may last up to 7 years.
Repairable Area of a Tire:
Often you must have seen a tire with continuous vertical treads separating the curved area of the tire and mostly the area within those treads is what stays in contact with the ground surface, area other than that is considered shoulder or sidewall if these treads are not there you can just look where the curve of tire ends and where the tire comes in contact with the ground.
The area between those treads is considered repairable because it is comprised of steel belts that reinforce the tire and stop it from tearing further when damaged.
Furthermore, about half an inch or 6mm from each shoulder is also considered irreparable.
The area that should never be repaired with a patch
It is extremely essential that you do not patch sidewall damage or shoulder damage, you may have seen many videos and may found tons of advice on the internet explaining and showing off a perfectly repaired sidewall working fine but pinching a penny, in this case, can lead to disastrous consequences.
Sidewall once damaged cannot be repaired and once you see that it is damaged, maybe now is the time that you start looking for another tire.
In many countries, many regulations and standards prevent repair shops from servicing customers on sidewall repairs.
It is therefore a burning question that how close to the sidewall the tire can be repaired.
How close to the sidewall the tire can be patched?
In some unfortunate cases, the tire may get punctured on the edges of the tread in such a situation it is advised to get your tire patched up only if it is a minimum of half an inch away from the sidewalls of the tire.
Why can’t you patch a tire close to the sidewall?
As we discussed above, the part which comes in contact with the road is known as the crown or tread.
It deals with all the wear and tear from rubbing and heating from running on the road surface.
The sidewalls are parts that bear all the weight of the car and shoulders are the boundary between crown and sidewall, it is the curved part of the wheel.
All these components are made with different materials and polymer layers.
Where the tire crown consists of steel belts that reinforce the tire, the sidewall consists of several layers consisting of steel wires polymers, and other elements to be able to bear all that weight.
So, they cannot be simply repaired with a patch as they have to uphold the structural integrity to be able to withstand all that weight.
In the case of shoulders, they are simply made of polymers and rubber and do not have steel belts to hold the components together and it undergoes a lot of pressure, so they are susceptible to tear and burst if repaired with a patch.
What happens if you Patch a tire close to the sidewall?
In a tire, close to the sidewall is all shoulder, it has to withstand a lot of pressure and since it is the boundary between the crown and the sidewall it has to be in a curved shape.
So, there are fewer reinforcements to make it more flexible. If you are patching your tire close to the sidewall, the probability that it may be in this region is very high.
As it does not contain any steel belts it is very susceptible to tearing up or in the worst case, the tire may not be able to contain that pressure and may burst.
If not that the tire may wear out more than usual and the tire may end up useless as the patch is not fully placed inside that steel belt.
Everyone might have to deal with a flat tire once in a lifetime.
When it comes to repairing, it is better to be safe than sorry.
And with concern about how close to sidewall a tire can be patched, we suggest you follow the standards and administer repairs on the crown of the tire.
Avoid tire repairs close to sidewalls, if it is unavoidable, consider the area from shoulder and get your tire patched up only if it is 6 millimeters away Sidewall.