Having a flat tire on your car is not only inconvenient but can also be expensive. The cost of fixing your tire varies, depending on the amount of damage done to it and the repair method you choose. In some cases, you'll use a temporary repair before you can fix the tire permanently or replace it.
Using Tire Sealants
Tire sealants are pressurized sprays that inflate a flat tire while coating the interior surface of the tire with a liquid sealant, which hardens to close holes created by tire punctures. Cans of tire sealant generally retail for around $5, though the price may be higher or lower depending on the size of the can and the brand of sealant. Though sealants are not meant to serve as permanent repairs, they will fix flats sufficiently so that you can drive your car until the tire is permanently repaired.
Patches and Plugs
Tire plugs are adhesive-coated inserts that fill puncture holes in a tire, and though they are recommended as temporary repairs, they are often used as long-term solutions for punctures. Patches are rubber or plastic pieces that are glued to the inside of a tire to cover and seal a hole.
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The two repair methods may be used separately or together, with individual patches or plugs costing between $10 and $15, while a patch and plug combination costs between $25 and $30. Plug kits are also available for car owners to use at home, retailing for between $5 and $10, depending on the kit contents.
Replacing the Tire
In some cases, the damage to a tire is too severe to repair, or is located in a portion of the tire that can't be repaired. If this occurs, then the tire must be replaced. The cost of tire replacement varies significantly depending on whether the tire is replaced with a new, used or retreaded tire; the brand name of the tire also heavily influences price.
Tire replacement may cost as low as $50 or as much as $200 for a passenger car, depending on the tire purchased as a replacement for your damaged tire. The price for a new tire on a pick-up or SUV is even higher at $60 to $350. Need an all-terrain tire? That will cost you between $110 and $750.
Hiring a Professional
The cost of professional tire repair varies depending on whether the tire is getting plugged, patched or replaced. Tire shops may offer plugs or patch-and-plug combinations as their standard repair option, though liability associated with faulty plug installation may cause some tire shops to avoid repairing tires. Though tire shops charge more for plugs, patches and replacements than you could do the job for at home, they do offer the advantage of balancing the tire afterward to ensure that the repairs haven't changed the balance of the tire on its rim.