Don’t Be A Mixed-up Customer

Posted on January 25, 2012 · Posted in Auto Electrical Repairs

Cars come into repair shops all the time. If they didn’t, without customers, the shop would go out of business. For one person it might be a muffler problem while the next might require body reconstruction after an accident. One of the more frequent requests is tire repair. Every car has four, so while most people won’t replace their engine, changing a tire is common to most folks.

The problem is a lot of customers can’t tell the difference between a wheel and a tire. Los Angeles tire repair shops deal with this all the time.

The wheel is, according to, “a circular frame or disk arranged to revolve on an axis, as on or in vehicles or machinery.” The tire is the rubber round thing with tread on it that goes over the wheel.

The tires might be brand new, the rubber smell still poignant. Placing it on a bent wheel will still cause the car to vibrate, shudder and shake. An out of alignment axle will cause the same problem. If the problem underneath the car isn’t straightened, welded, or fixed, new tires will just be money out of your pocket.

Another common misconception is when people don’t understand the difference between a tire patch and a tire plug. A patch is the current method of fixing a tiny hole in the tire, while a plug is what used to be done.

A tire plug involves plugging the hole with an object and then jamming in as much goo and glue as possible to stop the leaking. The idea is that this is a temporary fix, something that lasts long enough to get to a service station, or home, or to the next air pump where you can re-inflate it until you can get to the next air pump, home, or service station.

While a plug involves inserting something from the outside into the tire, a patch deals with the inside of the tire. The car is mounted and the tire removed. A patch, bigger than the hole, is placed over the hole and sealed with a gluey substance. The tire is put back on before the car comes back down.

Heat causes expansion, so as the car gets moving, friction warms things up. Hot temperatures in California speed the process up too, unlike if the vehicle is being used in chilly Alaska. The hot air inside the tire causes more pressure, which pushes out on the patch. If you have a plug, the plug is made of different material than the tire, so it heats up at a different rate and might be loose for a time until temperatures reach equilibrium.

Los Angeles tires take a beating from heat, but these principles apply throughout the country. Keep them in mind next time you think you need tires to avoid confusion.