For years, like many others, I sustain numerous tire leaks and flat tires. These were evidently caused by numerous tire punctures, and without giving another thought, I took my vehicle to the local service station to have a “plug only” or “patch only” repair. Whether it is by a local service station attendant or others who may even work at retail tire shops, many of the repairs and supervising personnel are unaware of the dangerous consequences of improper repair methods.
As an experienced Philadelphia tire defect hydroplaning lawyer for over three decades, I am all too familiar with resulting deaths and injuries that occur due to tire manufacturing flaws and repair mistakes. I have come to recognize that often the simplest and least expensive fix to defective tires can lead to tragic consequences when the perfect storm of factors exists.
Common Methods of Repairing a Punctured Tire
The three common ways to repair a punctured tire are plug only repair, patch only repair, or a combination of both. The patch only repair requires the technician to demount the tire from the rim, examine the inside tire for damage, and repair the inside. The plug only repair does not. When tire rubber is punctured, the hole tends to close up and the puncturing item is removed. The typical gas station repair man will swab the tire with soapy water and dunk it in a tank looking for bubbles and typically will not inspect the surface of the tire for puncture damage without removing the tire from the rim. With this repair technique, the plug is inserted through the outside tire with an insertion tool and make “string plug” that is covered with tacky substance is used to make the patch. The repair is typically a $5 item.
Potential Dangers of Tire Repair
Although the freshly repaired tire may seem safe to drive on, and you think that you are getting a great bargain, many tire industry publications note that the string repair allows air and moisture to penetrate the body of the tire which can cause steel belts to degrade resulting in deterioration and corrosion from within. Unfortunately, a de-lamination and failure of the tire can occur.
We are currently litigating a case where two people sustained permanent catastrophic injuries that are too horrific to mention as a result of an improper tire repair. In another one of our cases that we handled in the past, the operator of a van traveling from Florida to Philadelphia exited the highway in one of the southern states to have a flat tire fixed at a nationally known tire retailer. Ten minutes after the vehicle left the shop, the original repair failed and the vehicle rolled over killing the driver and catastrophically injuring the passenger. The unknowing and innocent consumer had every reason to expect that the repair performed at the nationally branded tire company would have been safely performed and that in fact would not have let her leave the store unless the tire repair job was completely and safely performed. Unfortunately, this scenario is more common than one would think.
Keep Your Family Safe at All Costs
Many SUV and 15-passenger van rollovers and other catastrophic accidents are caused not only by the de-lamination and failure of new tires but also due to improper tire repair which leads to tire failure.
When you and your family’s safety is at issue, do a little bit of research and educate yourself and understand that sometimes the solution that appears to be the easiest and least expensive may be the costliest and most deadly.
The auto product defect and tire defect lawyers of Reiff & Bily always offer a free, no obligation consultation and have over three decades of experience. We are honored to have been recognized by our peers as the Top 100 Lawyers in Philadelphia, Top 100 Lawyers in Pennsylvania, and the Best and Brightest Northeast Attorneys by Arrive Magazine. Contact us toll free at (800) 421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.