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Tire Plugs
Apparently little known facts that are important

By: James R. Davis

Sometimes you can't win. I just had to replace a virtually new Elite II rear tire on my motorcycle because it had picked up a couple of small nails.

I know, all I really had to do was plug the tire. Right? Wrong!

Here are a few things you might consider about tire plugs:

  • Almost any single puncture (thru the tread) can be repaired by the use of a tire plug. (I would be willing to ride with a properly {from the inside} plugged tire anytime.)

  • You cannot put more than one plug within the same quadrant of a tire - safely.

  • You cannot put more than two plugs into a tire - period.

The manufacturers of tire plugs specifically disavow the safety of doing either of the last two items listed above. They also void their speed warranties as a result of any tire plugging. Your tire is probably marked with an 'H' speed designation, meaning it is rated for safety up to 130 MPH. If you have even one tire plug in it you should not drive faster than about 80 MPH using that tire.

I had picked up three small nails in my tire. All three leaked air when I removed them. 'My kingdom for a horse!' It cost me $150 for another new Elite II. (Life is too important to be left in the hands of three plugs when the manufacturers refuse to stand up for their safety.)

[In case you missed it earlier, every reference made here about 'tire plugs' refers to professionally installed, from the inside, tire repair plugs - NOT the emergency roadside repair kits which install from the outside of your tire.]

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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