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-   -   Riding on a plugged tyre. How safe? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/tech/riding-plugged-tyre-how-safe-53509)

Lonesome George 1 Nov 2010 00:35

Riding on a plugged tyre. How safe?
This is a kinda tech question.

I've just got my first puncture (rear) and have plugged it. I'm wondering how far it is safe to ride like this. I know I should get it changed ASAP but that isn't possible (I'm in Baja California). It's 1000 miles to Mexico City.

In your experience is it safe to ride on a plugged tyre?

Dodger 1 Nov 2010 04:45

If it was just a small round hole then you should be fine if you are not heavily overloaded and / or riding very fast .
[As you can't get the tyre changed anyway,the question is rather academic .]

markharf 1 Nov 2010 05:48

Doesn't hurt to add a tube if you're at all doubtful. I carry tubes even on my DL with its tubeless tires. Sometimes plugs don't hold very well, particularly in big gaping holes. With a tube you can continue on your way until the tire wears out....even if you're overloaded (most often true) and/or riding too fast (always a distinct possibility).

srace7 1 Nov 2010 10:08

I got a hole in a tubeless Bridgestone front when in America last year. Plugged it with a "rat tail" rather than rubber plug...

Checked pressures beginning and end of each day and it lasted a further 2,900 miles until it started to drop more than a lb each day...

I'm sure another fix would have allowed more miles to be covered after that - but as i looked up in the motel car park that morning - 200 yards down the road was a tyre shop - so i swapped it...

But 2,900 miles was pretty good going...

Check it each morning just to be safe - and away you go !!

TravellingStrom 1 Nov 2010 12:48

I rode the Road of Death with some plugs in my front tyre, I had to add a tube though as they kept popping out due to large bumps, and the hole was in the side wall.

That said, I have ridden with a string plugged tyre from day two of its life, a nail and I replaced it at 14,000km, it was in the centre of the front tyre.

Just keep an eye on it, but you should buy at least one tube, one that will fit the largest wheel, usually the front, it will do for the back as well.


MikeS 1 Nov 2010 13:14

I rode on a 'string' plugged rear tyre from North Peru through Ecuador, Colombia & Panama and finally changed the plug for a larger 'mushroom' repair from the inside of the tyre in Costa Rica, only because it was starting to split a little around the original repair. These string plugs are pretty good I'd say.

TurboCharger 1 Nov 2010 13:37


Originally Posted by markharf (Post 311031)
Doesn't hurt to add a tube if you're at all doubtful.

True but if you add a tube make certain to remove the plug as with any other protrusions as it can wear a hole in the tube if you don't remove it.

I have had many plugs on all sorts of holes. In short it depends on how good a fit the plug was. I have had several holes that couldn't even be plugged and then hand to use a tube. (I ride a 1200GS with alloy rims).

No matter what plug you put in it is still a repair and doesn't hold the same as a new tyre would. Best to regularly check the pressure and if you notice it going down regularly, then either put on a tube or replace the tyre if it is already worn.

FYI from Iran to Austria (approx 4,000kms) I rode with a plug in the rear tyre fully loaded 2up and didn't have a problem but I was also constantly checking the tyre pressure.

On the other hand if you have an under inflated tyre it will wear a lot quicker. This you will probably see if you ride for enough kms. Not to mention the danger with riding on under inflated tyres on the road.

dlh62c 1 Nov 2010 19:12


Originally Posted by TurboCharger (Post 311071)
True but if you add a tube make certain to remove the plug as with any other protrusions as it can wear a hole in the tube if you don't remove it.

I installed a Stop-N-Go mushroom plug in my tube tire and replaced the tube. I didn't see any excessive wear on the tube at that spot when I replaced the tire around 5000 miles later. The reason I plugged the tire was to prevent dirt and water from getting inside.

I had to cut the blown tube up and use it for a replacement rim strip, which broke into several pieces and I didn't have enough tape to go around the rim.


shu... 1 Nov 2010 19:56

My 2 cents: Put a sticky string (or two) into the hole with some glue and ride it.

I always wondered about these plugs until I got a BMW with tire pressure monitors. I plugged a good size hole in the center tread of a new tire (it took 3 strings to fill it) and then rode carefully watching the pressure as I rode. Eventually I got to trusting the repair fully, and rode in my normal fashion and ended up using the tire until it was worn out- never any problems.

When I took the tire off and looked inside I found the strings bonded by heat to the inside of the tire- no way were they ever going to come out and even if they were to leak, it would not be a catastrophic failure.

Long story short........plug it and ride.


markharf 1 Nov 2010 20:25

Problem here is that the answer depends on the size, type and location of the hole in your tire, the quality of the plug job, the type of plug you use in relation to the type of hole....plus probably other factors which I haven't thought of. The freshness of your glue? The kind of riding you do? How hot the tire gets? Hell if I know.

I merely meant to point out that if you have any doubts about your repair, there are options aside from wait-and-pray or toss the tire and buy a new one.


Lonesome George 2 Nov 2010 00:01


This is what I found!


And this is what it looked like after I plugged it. I plugged it with my "Geniuine Inovations" plug kit. But it didn't come with any glue in it. (I know I know, I should have checked but I didn't. ) And anyway the instructions didn't mention usung glue although I know you should/can.

The puncture happened the day I had arranged to stop for two weeks so I'm not "on the road" until 14th November now. Plenty of time to see if the seal holds and I'll ride with care and check it every morning and night. The puncture is just off centre so at the moment it doesn't actually hit the road.

I think I've got about 1000 miles to go to Mexico City where I will try to arrange to get a new tyre.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and comments - it's great to know what other people would do/have done.

markharf 2 Nov 2010 00:42

Whoa. Is that hole as big as it looks? Me, I'd patch the tire (inside) and add a tube. YMMV.


DAVSATO 13 Nov 2010 18:07

ive used slimy ragworms and rubber mushrooms before successfully, riding perfectly normally to the end of the tyre life. now i use ultraseal. i know its not good if you need to repair the tyre afterwards but its supposed to be a permanent repair by itself, which i have found to be true. this is tubeless dualsport tyres and riding, not tubed rough off roading.

Big Yellow Tractor 13 Nov 2010 22:42


Originally Posted by markharf (Post 311158)
Whoa. Is that hole as big as it looks? Me, I'd patch the tire (inside) and add a tube. YMMV.


It's unnerving to pull a small nail out of a tyre then ream a bloody great hole in order to fit the plug.

I've run trials-bike, road-bike, car and van tyres to the end of their life with plugged repairs (dog-turds).

There have also been repairs that I have done to get going but have replaced the tyre shortly afterwards. It depends on the location of the puncture and whether or not I feel the repair is safe.

electric_monk 14 Nov 2010 16:55

I ran a Metzeler Marathon for 12000 miles on a plugged tyre, this included a trip to the south of Spain and back to ireland, I had no trouble at all with it.
The tyre picked up a nail within 200 miles of fitting there was no way I was gonna bin it.

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