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We've had a spate of flats lately The latest was...

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Dear Tom and Ray:



We've had a spate of flats lately. The latest was on our Ford Taurus. The
puncture was right at the edge of the tread. We had it fixed at a gas station,
and the attendant used only a plunger with a "rope" attached. He said it might
not hold because it was so close to the edge. I am concerned about the safety of
the tire. I checked some of the tire safety-related sites on the Web, and most
indicated that both an inside and an outside patch were needed for a safe
repair. What's your advice ?-- Carl

TOM: An inside and an outside patch, Carl. Especially if the puncture is large
or close to the sidewall.

RAY: The "outside patch" or "plug" is an easier fix. That's what you got. That
can be done without taking the tire off of the rim. And in many cases, it's good
enough.

TOM: But if you really want to do it right, you should also apply a patch
inside, which goes inside the tire, right over the puncture. In addition to the
adhesive, the internal patch is kept in place by outward force of the air
pressure in the tire.

RAY: And if your mechanic still has any questions about whether this particular
tire is going to be patchable, just forget about the patch and replace the tire.
Your family's safety is worth $100, isn't it Carl?
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