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Q: Repairing my flat tire - 1999 Toyota Sienna

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I found a big screw in the left rear tire a few couple of weeks ago. I took it to Big Brand tire to get it repaired but was told that it is not repairable because the location of the hole is too far out. I was told that I will need a new tire which will cost me $135 for the same exact tires that I have. Yesterday, my neighbor happens to noticed the spare tire being used on my van and asked me if I had a flat. Told him the story and he took a look at the tire which was placed underneath the car where the spare tire was with the screw still in place and he told me that it actually can be fixed. He's not a licensed mechanic, but he is good at fixing cars. He said that he recently had a screw in one of the tire on his truck in about the same area and he plugged it up and has been driving it with no problem. So, he helped plugged my flat for me and said that I should be good.

My question is...when is a flat consider not repairable? And is it really safe for me to continue driving my van?

My car has 119000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Most tire stores are not allowed to repair a tire with a plug anymore due to the possibility of damaging the internal cords of the tire. They would have to remove the tire and patch it from the inside. A tire should not be repaired if the puncture is less than one inch from the outer edge of the tread that meets the side wall of the tire. A patch will not be able to sit flat inside the tire if it is too close to the side wall and won’t stick, starting to leak soon after installation. A tire plug is considered a temporary repair and may not last very long. It will last an even shorter amount of time if it is in or near the side wall.

I recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to determine if your vehicle is perfectly safe and suggest a course of action to rectify any issues that come to light.

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