How Long Does a Tire Plug Last?

Have you ever had a flat tire? Of course, you have. We all have, at one time or another, and in most cases, the mechanic will recommend a tire plug. This is a sticky expandable substance that is usually stuffed in a hole on the tire from the outside and must be wedged in real tight so it can stop the air from leaking out.

If you have just had this done to one of your tires and are wondering – how long does a tire plug last? Do not worry, I have compiled an exclusive review to answer this question. I often wonder sometimes, and I may end up driving my car with the plug until I have to change the tire.

So, to answer this question, I need to first explain a few things to you. But it can last quite a while, you shall be surprised. Keep reading, I shall tell how long it shall last.

What is a tire plug?

According to, this is a sticky and expandable substance that is usually stuffed in the hole on your tire. This should easily stay intact for a long time, until you get the opportunity to re-inflate the tire when you get to the nearest repair shop.

Most mechanics however feel that there is usually a better option of plugging your tire, rather than using a tire plug. They recommend a radical patch. This is because, the radical patch is designed specifically to repair tires that are mostly used on the roads today.

Using a radical patch will take around 30 minutes, and you may have to remove the tire, but a tire plug will take much less time, and it is done while the tire is still on the car.

A radical patch will often require you to vulcanize your tire patch, which is a process that will use heat and other types of curing agents in order to reinforce the rubber of the tire.

So, How Long Does a Tire Plug Last?

So, How Long Does a Tire Plug Last

A radical patch or a tire plug will mostly last anywhere between 7 and 10 years.

A tire patch can last longer, but you must never patch the same tire more than once. This shall negatively affect the speed rating of the tire and potentially cause it to the blowout.

Okay, which one should you use?

Whenever your car has a puncture, ensure to consult your tire service expert and do let them determine the type of repair they shall use. This is what is best for your tire in the long-run.

But how much does tire plugging cost?

Tire plugging is almost always the go-to solution for most people, and it is usually because it is budget-friendly. You shall pay between $20 and $40 to have the plug put in. This is much better than having to spend hundreds of dollars to repair a medium-quality tire.

How does the plug work?

How does the plug work

Plugging a hole in your tire is simply an immediate solution that should not be made permanent, because there is a much bigger problem in your tire. If any of the tires on your car is struggling to hold the air in even after inflating it regularly, this means that it has a leak somewhere, and this must be covered.

Plugging is the most logical way of covering the leak.

The process will involve covering the leather of the tires with sticky and vulcanized rubber that is inserted in the holes. Each of the strips is usually enough to seal one chink of the slit.

This repair can actually last very many years, because what the plug does is to form a seal that is airtight in the inner lining of the tire. This fills the rapture and creates a very strong seal that prevents it from forcing the air out of the tire.

Can I use it as a permanent fix?

Plugging is always meant to be a temporary fix and you are likely to hear very many warnings against using the plugs to fix your tire. In fact, the truth is that it is illegal to use this method on commercial vehicles and most repair shops do not offer this service.

Most vehicle repairs will advise against this very strongly, as it is likely to cause more tire damage.

What should you be careful about when plugging?

Plugging a tire with a tire plug is usually a safe method, and you can drive the vehicle indefinitely, well, at least 7-10 years, with the plug in place, but as we have mentioned above, this is not always the best option to use on your tires.

But, if you are hell-bent on using this method to repair your tire’s leaking problem, then it is important that you understand the safety risks of plugging. I shall explain them below.

When the puncture is too big

if the puncture is too big, plugging will not work, because a tire plug can only seal small holes that are not larger than ¼ inches in size. Take your vehicle to a repair shop where they shall repair the puncture the right way.

If the hole is located near the sidewall

If the puncture is nearest to the sidewall, then you have some decisions to make. For example, if the tear is very close to the sidewall, like an inch of it, then simply just change the tire, it cannot be repaired with plugging.

This is because, the tire is responsible for flexing the tire when you are driving and if there is a plug it shall be pushed out eventually, as a result of too much flexing.

When the side walls are too damaged

When the side walls are too damaged

This is very simple. If your sidewalls are way too damaged, it means that there is too much rubber dust on the tire. Simply discard this tire and get a new one. Install a new tire altogether.


As we have mentioned, this is meant to be a temporary solution, even if it shall last you almost 10 years. Driving a car with a tire plug is risky and almost all repair shops will warn you of this. In fact, as we have mentioned above, it is illegal to do this.

Here are some tips on how to take care of your tires;

  • Rotating them frequently.
  • Changing them when they are worn out.
  • Repairing any punctures using a radical patch instead of a tire plug.
  • Ensuring that your vehicles are not overloaded.
  • Inspect them regularly.

Finally, we hope that you shall reach out to us with any questions about tires that you may have. Drive safe and take care of your vehicles at all times.

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