bootymac wrote:So Tire Rack advises that string plugs should be replaced with a patch and plug combo:
Any repair attempted without removing the tire from the wheel is improper. Without inspecting the inside of the tire for hidden damage comes the risk of returning a weakened tire to service. Punctures in the tread area that looked repairable have revealed upon further investigation that the object that punctured the tire had been long enough to cut the tire's sidewall from the inside. Without dismounting the tire, the hidden damage would have been missed.
Simply plugging a tire from the outside without removing the tire from the wheel is improper. (If a tire is punctured while off-roading far away from civilization and a spare tire isn't available, a plug may serve as a temporary low speed solution that must be replaced with a proper repair as soon as possible upon returning to the road.)
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/ ... ?techid=77
The pros all have this opinion because they are pros and are going to advise the best measure for the tire as it's best for safety and performance. This is why I wrote my disclaimer at the beginning of the write-up. I'm not countering this notion that string plugs aren't the best way to deal with a puncture. They're simply not. It's more of an emergency solution that seems to have rather permanent results, though not nearly as good as a pro fix from the inside.
The concern the pros have with string plugs is understandable too. In my very case, that screw caused the flat tire meaning it pierced the tire all the way through. However, when I had to widen the hole with the rasp tool, I had to forcibly punch through the plys that the screw barely did. The screw simply did enough for the air to leak out.
I have no doubt that the string plug repair process compromised the integrity of the tire because of the nature of the repair. I forcibly punched through all layers of the inner tire so the plug can go all the way through. One can imagine how this would damage some of the inner layers of the tire as it's not pure rubber.
That being said, I don't really care as these are my OE Dunlops with near 30,000 miles. I don't plan to keep them much longer. String plugs may compromise the integrity of the tire, but they simply work in many cases with permanent results. Unless you go to a tire specialist, most mechanics seem to just plug the hole with a string plug anyway. In fact, I learned this technique by watching a mechanic do it at a local shop years ago. You can expect "pros" to do this kind of repair unless they are tire specialists with the time, equipment, and skills necessary to properly fix a tire.
If I had new tires that I cared about and wanted to last a long time, I'd had the puncture repaired professionally as Tire Rack advises. I simply used a string plug because I wanted a DIY quick fix for these OE Dunlop tires that I don't plan to have too much longer.
I put it as a write-up as it's an effective emergency fix for punctures from nails and screws. That being said, it's not the best fix and that's why I included that disclaimer.