Monday, February 29, 2016

Tire Repair: Tire Patch vs. Plug

Wether a tire patch or a plug is the way to go, a lot of drivers who have had tire problems on the road might be interested in the best way to fix a flat. Needless to say, local shops disagree on this all the time. The availability of options leads to some debate over what's the "best" way to fix a tire. Is it the patch or the plug? Here are some considerations for learning which you would rely on in a flat tire emergency.
The Case for Plugs
Some shops may recommend a plug in a tire because it is the cheapest and the quickest option. When someone has broken down on the highway and needs to get somewhere, they can enjoy the convenience of the quick plug (which often costs less than $10 and can be done in just a few minutes). Also, the technology for plugs has improved over time. In the old days, plugs were simply inserted into the tire, and that was that. Newer plugs "vulcanize" to the tire for improved stability on the road. As a result, a driver can get a quick tire plug and drive another 20k miles on the tire with no problems.

Limitations to Tire Plug Methods
Even though a tire plug by itself might be enough, national road safety agencies caution against a simple plug. Here are some of the situations where relying on a plug might be less effective:
  • When the hole is near the sidewall - many experts recommend a patch for when a tire puncture is near the sidewall, as the plug may not be able to completely seal the damage.
  • When the puncture is not straight - a diagonal puncture is more likely to need a patch solution.
Other Concerns About Plugs
Lots of experts also caution that a plug should not be applied without a patch unless a shop takes off the wheel for a visual inspection. Thorough inspection of the punctured tire helps catch additional damage that may go unnoticed when the tech is simply inserting a plug from the outside of the tire. The best and most effective solution, according to safety experts, is to combine a plug with a patch, to make sure the fix will stabilize the puncture.
Larger Tire Punctures
Some classes of tire puncture are not generally repair-worthy, according to those who understand tire safety. A puncture of greater than 1/4" in diameter will require a more complicated solution than a plug and patch. Some drivers deal with this by using a full-sized spare as a replacement and buying one additional tire.
The above will help drivers understand what they can do about the next flat that finds them on the road. Ask your mechanic about what specific methods they routinely use to repair a tire, and don't be afraid to ask for the option that you feel is the safest and the best.

Monday, February 22, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Recalled To Correct Tire Information Label

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 325 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertibles to correct the tire information label, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recall affects certain Beetle Convertibles with factory-installed 18-inch wheels.

"The affected vehicles may have incorrect sidewall height ratio information on the tire placard," NHTSA said in its recall summary. "If the tires are replaced using a smaller diameter tire, it can cause incorrect readings of the speedometer. Inaccurate speedometer readings may increase the risk of a crash."
There are no injuries, accidents or fatalities linked to the recall, said VW spokesman Mark Gillies.
"Affected vehicles can continue to be driven as usual, but until this recall has been performed, if you plan to replace the factory-installed tires on your vehicle, do not rely on the information printed on your vehicle's tire information label," Volkswagen said in its recall filing with NHTSA.
The affected Beetle Convertibles were built from June 18, 2015 to November 9, 2015.
The problem was discovered during a routine production review, Volkswagen told federal safety regulators.

Volkswagen dealers will install a corrected tire information label. The recall is expected to begin by the end of February. Owners can contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298.