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Thread: So, how far have you ridden on a tire plug?

  1. #1
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ada, MI (outside Grand Rapids)

    So, how far have you ridden on a tire plug?

    Inquiring minds want to know - Have you ever ridden on a tire with a plug in it? If so, what is the most amount of miles you have put on.
    Why do I ask? Well, after 10k on my first set of Tomahawks I had a fresh set installed. 600 miles later I picked up a very small triagle of glass right into the very corner of a tread thingamabob in almost the dead center of the tire. I used the handy tire plug kit I found under my seat and promptly ordered a new tire. As I waited in frustration for the tire (July 4 holiday screwed it up a little) a riding buddy of mine told me to go ahead and ride. So I did.....and that was about 450 miles ago. It didn't lose any air for over two weeks, I had to add about 2 lbs the day after a very hot (upper 90's) 240 mile ride.
    So, even though I have a new tire in the garage I am still riding the plugged tire. Was wondering if anyone else out there has done the same.
    Plus I figure this ought to get some of you very agitated and that can be fun some times. Several of you got your panties all bunched up when I asked about remanufactured tires, so this subject might even be beneath your discussing at all. (BTW, I put 10k on the remanufactured Tomahawks in all weather conditions and they did a fine job by me which is why I ordered some more. OTTH, my stock Dunlops didn't make 6k.).
    Last edited by 99007; 07-20-2006 at 03:26 PM. Reason: smelling errors
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!

  2. #2
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Fly Over Land
    The distance you can get out of a plugged tire depend on two things.

    First: The nature of the hole in the tire. If it is a simple puncture then the plub will hold well if properly installed. If the puncture is a glancing one that shows as a puncture on the outside but forms a slice on the inside you may not have good luck.

    Second: Your confidence in the repair.

  3. #3
    Rally Rat gstom's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Joplin, Missouri
    I got a small nail in an almost new Avon Distanzia on my R100GS. I plugged it and put about 7000 more miles on the tire before replacing it. I rode in all sorts of condition from rocky farm lanes to interstate highways to sprited riding on curvy back highways. I never worried about the plug, but then again it was a small, clean hole that had not created a slit in the tire.

    I also confess to not always wearing ATGATT, but am more of a "Most of the Gear" kind of guy. So, although I am a fairly conservative guy, I guess I am more willing to take a small risk that some others.

    I just try not to be too fanatical about stuff (sometimes I go more than 3000 miles between oil changes too)

  4. #4
    On the Road EClips's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005

    30 Miles Maximum!

    I have plugged two different rear tires, using the BMW repair kit. I rode a few miles on one plugged tire and less than 30 miles on the other, both times using the plug to "get home" and replace the tire. I must have a different perception of "risk" and a lower tolerance for it than you do.

    I'm totally impressed with the "mileages" posted so far and am anxious to hear feedback from others!

  5. #5
    I received a gift from the road in a new tire on my 1100GS and it took 2 rope style plugs to make it quit leaking. Then I rode the tire until it was due for replacement. I kept a close eye on the pressure for the first week or two. From there never a problem. Here in Orlando, home of constant construction, I use these on a regular basis in the automobiles. I never even consider a conversion over to a patch on the cars.

    Rope plugs RULE!
    IMVHO of course.

  6. #6
    Last year while traveling in Miss. I got a large hole dead center of a 70% worn Avon Rear. Very long story made short: intalled one of those dry (no glue) mushroom plugs. Hole so bad it did not quite seal it, but almost. Very slow leak. This was solved by adding slime. Rode two Hattisburg to go to the BMW dealer and found out they no longer were. But they did try to help. No 18" rear to be found in Miss. after an hour of calling every dealer in state. Then rode to Birmingham Al. High speed and HOT! weather. Got a new tire there. I was nervous about the plug, but it held. I've run many plugs for many miles in cages.

  7. #7
    Registered User boxerkuh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    I have ridden with rear tire plugs for a long time. What I found out was the following:
    1. Most flats occur in the rear, as the front tire throws something back.
    2. The hole must be in an area that is able to be pluged, ie. in the center or pretty close to it.
    3. Take the tire of the rim and plug it from the inside, as you would a car tire. If done properly, the plug will outlast the tire.
    4. Remember that a temporary repair on the side of the highway is just that, a temporary repair.
    5. Most automotive places will be able to help you out in a pinch. A motorcycle dealer would be better.

    During my very high mileage days on my oilhead, I frequently picked up damaged rears from the dealer. I have gotten rears for free with only 600 miles and one with only 2000 miles on them; patched them and rode with them for 15K before the threat was gone... The patch never leaked, broke or gave any trouble. I had one tire that actually had two plugs in them. Both patched, never gave any problems.

    Different opionions, different philosophies... my food for thought.....
    Keep the rubber side down!!
    1986 R 80 RS
    1992 R 100 R
    BMW MOA Life member; Ironbutt Member; Airhead Member

  8. #8
    I plugged a hole on a front Dunlop D208 and continued to ride on it for another 3500 miles until it was worn out. Held pressure better than any tubed tire I use.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Ocean, NC(area)


    I have plugged(string - still mounted) punctures in several tires and there were never any problems or leakage. I would only patch a slit in an emergency. The tire dealer's insurance is one of his reasons for not plugging plus he gets a new tire sale.
    Let's see.....$5 plug or $200 tire.
    Benton Blalock
    '05 K12LT "Ophelia" - light yellow metalic er... gold
    '04 R12CLC "Blackie"(RIP)
    "I ride....the bike doesn't."

  10. #10
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Grapevine Texas
    I have about 2k on an Avon plugged tire and am leaving for points afar next week. Avon does post a policy on their website that they will replace any tire that fails, yes even nails. during the 1st 1mm of wear. I learned this a little late but others report fair play by Avon.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Port Angeles WA
    I've run on patched innertubes, and run on "sticky string" plug in a tubeless tire. Innertubes are fragile enough that I don't consider a good patch a liability--even for the balance of the tread life.

    However, tubeless tires have some different issues, including the steel wires in steel belted tires sawing off the plug material. The only plug I would consider as "permanent" is one that is glued to the inside of the tire casing. IMHO, both sticky string and mushroom plugs are temporary fixes--just to get you home (or to the tire store)

    There are a lot of risks in motorcycling that you can't do much about. Tires are something you CAN do something about. Seems to me that there are two parts to the question: first, is a plugged/patched tire reasonably reliable, or is it a disaster waiting to happen? Second, considering the cost of tires, isn't it reasonable to patch a tire and get some additional life out of the investment?

    I don't think anyone would argue that a patched tire is no more likely to fail than an undamaged tire. If the carcass has been punctured, that's a potential failure area. No one can say what the odds are, since every puncture is different. It's rare to hear of a tire failure these days, unless the tire has been run low on pressure. But there are a number of reports of plugged tires that have failed--and caused accidents.

    Let's be realistic about the costs. Let's say a $150 tire (that might last for 8,000 miles) has 2,000 miles on it when punctured. So, the value of the rubber remaining is say, $112.

    I happened to get transported from a rally site to the nearby hospital last year, and I can report that the simple ambulance ride of maybe 5 miles cost roughly $500--not counting another $2500 or so for tests and an overnight stay.

    So, you'll have to answer for yourself whether it's acceptable to wager $112 against $3,000-up that the tire won't fail.

    In one situation several years ago, I had a little time/distance problem, and I was willing to risk running on a patched tire to maintain the schedule and get to the nearest bike shop by Tuesday morning. However, I was not willing to risk running on a patched tire once a replacement tire was obtained.


  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    problem with plugs

    The most common problem encountered with tire plugs happens when the plug seals in the tread rubber of the tire but does not seal the inner liner. This allows air to seep into the cord area and cause a "knot" to form as the plies of the tire separate. When a tire is repaired from the inside with a patch the liner is sealed, preventing this seepage. If a tire is plugged from the outside, maybe it adhered to the liner, maybe it did not. A bulge on the tire will usually cause enough vibration to be noticed, but when they rupture it is usually a catastrophic failure.

    My opinion, a plug to get it home, a patch for a permanent repair on a puncture, a new tire for a cut (possible cord damage).

  13. #13
    UpstateJoe 2popfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    "Upstate" New York
    Several years ago I had just replaced the rear on my Kawasaki Concours at the local independent bike shop and would'nt you know it ... exactly 180 miles later a finishing nail appeared in the tread. The same guy who sold me the tire refused to patch it due to "liability" issues, of course he readily offered to sell me a new tire, saying "I'd NEVER ride on a patched tire its just not safe!!"

    Well, I took that tire off patched it from the inside and rode that turkey till the tire was shot!

    The point of my little history lesson is that tires CAN be safely patched and ridden IF the damage is minor, i.e. not a slit, not a side wall puncture, no cut belts etc. and providing you PATCH IT FROM THE INSIDE. Gooey rope and mushroom plugs are for temporary use only.
    Joe Murray
    Hyde Park, NY
    04' R1150R

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