Key Takeaways

  • AAA does not patch tires.
  • AAA will tow you to the nearest repair center to get your tire patched.
  • AAA will change out your flat tire with a spare.
  • Patches, patch plugs, and plugs are how most tires are repaired.
  • It’s more cost effective to repair a tire than replace a tire.

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You’ve bought AAA and it offers roadside assistance. But does AAA patch tires for you on the side of the road? Does AAA patch tires at all?

No, AAA does not patch tires. AAA will take your vehicle to a shop that will patch the tire. AAA will not patch the tire since you need to dismount the tire in order to patch it correctly, and AAA does not have a tire mounting machine in the back of their trucks.

As someone with 10 years of experience working on cars, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen cars dropped off by AAA towing services. And lots of times, AAA drops cars off just for simple tire issues, rather than complex repair issues. So if you’re stranded on the side of the road and need to move your car quickly, it’s still a good idea to call AAA, since they will tow your car to the people who will fix your tire.

Table of Contents

What Is A Tire Repair?

A tire repair is a type of repair which is applied to a tire. Usually, a tire goes flat for one reason or another and a tire repair attempts to remedy that issue.

A tire can go flat for a number of reasons, but a common reason for a tire to go flat is that a nail or something sharp has punctured the tire and has caused the tire to start leaking air.

When a tire is punctured and air is leaking, a tire patch can be applied to stop the air from leaking, which restores the tire back to its original working form. But not every type of tire puncture can be repaired.

For example, tire punctures that are longer than two inches cannot be repaired. This is because two inches is too big of a surface area for a standard plug or patch to cover.

Another type of puncture that cannot be repaired is a puncture that is too close to the sidewall of a tire. A puncture that is within a thumbs distance to a sidewall cannot be plugged since doing so would risk a tire blow out.

As well, punctures directly in the sidewall of a vehicle cannot be repaired because the sidewall is structurally compromised once a puncture occurs in the sidewall. Most other tire punctures can be plugged or patched though.

For example, screws that are in the tread that have caused a puncture can be removed and patched. Basically any puncture that is less than two inches and lives within the tread area of a tire can be repaired. All other punctures are questionable.

Does AAA Offer Tire Repair Services?

According to the official AAA website, the only thing AAA will do is offer to replace your flat tire with your vehicle’s spare tire. The spare is usually either in your trunk or under it.

And if your vehicle is missing a spare, or the AAA service technician deems that your spare is unsafe, AAA will offer you a free tow to a nearby service station where you can get your vehicle’s tire patched.

You can get a tow to either a AAA-approved auto facility, which is a facility that has undergone comprehensive testing to meet AAA’s stringent standards and guarantees all work for up to 24,000 miles.

Or you can get a tow to an AAA independent contractor station, which is a normal shop that has signed up to be in the AAA network of auto repair facilities. At both types of AAA repair shop locations, a tire patch should be done within the hour if the shop is not busy, or it’s not the middle of the night.

All a shop needs to patch a tire is a tire mounting machine, which most shops have nowadays.

So rest assured, if you are far away from your mechanic, and you don’t know what shop to get towed to, choose the closest one. If it’s just a tire patch that you need, you’ll be in and out of the shop in no time.

How Is A Tire Repaired?

There are a couple different ways to repair a tire. One way to repair a tire is to use a plug. A plug is a convenient way to fix a tire, since you don't have to take the tire off of its rim to fix the tire.

The plug is good for at home tire repairs. But the plug is inefficient, since it doesn't fully seal the tire puncture and it can cause a slow leak down the line.

As well, you have to have a plugging kit and a pair of sharp cutting players in order for the plugging set up to work. All of these tools can be bought for relatively cheap, but if you have a flat, and don't have the tools ahead of time, you're out of luck.

The industry standard way to repair a tire is to use a patch plug. A patch plug requires you to dismount the tire from the rim and apply the patch plug from the inside of the tire. This method of repairing tires is much safer than a plug since it patches from the inside and utilizes both a patch and a plug.

A third method of repairing tires is your standard patch which also requires you to remove the tire from the wheel. With the tire removed, you then have to clean the surface area inside the tire.

Then basically use specialized glue to adhere the singular patch to the inside of the tire. Once the patch is glued to the tire, you mount the tire back onto the rim, mount the wheel back onto the vehicle and you're done.

All three ways of fixing tires have their own advantages and disadvantages, but if you take your vehicle to a AAA approved auto facility, they will most likely utilize the patch plug method.

Advantages Of Repairing A Tire Vs. Replacing

There are many advantages to repairing a tire rather than just replacing it. The main advantage to repairing a tire versus replacing it is cost.

The average cost of repairing a tire is about $30.00 whereas the cost for replacing a tire can start at $125. When you repair the tire, you keep even treads with the other tires as well, meaning all the tires will wear at the same rate.

If you replace one tire and leave three others with the same tread, you will have to replace three tires before the fourth.

The main disadvantage to repairing a tire versus replacing it is the potential for the patched tire to start leaking again.

A patch usually lasts the lifetime of the tire, but there is the chance the patch will start to leak due to defect, improper application, or just bad luck. Replacing the tire would mitigate the potential for a slow leak from the patch all together.

As well, saving the environment from wasting spare rubber is also an added benefit to repairing the tire instead of replacing it.

Repairing the tire, when done correctly, can make the tire just like brand new. When you do this, you save the environment from having to spend more rubber to make a new tire.

Does AAA Fix & Patch Tires?

About The Author

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks has been servicing vehicles since 2012. After completing the automotive studies program at Camden County College, he was awarded an Associates's Degree in Applied Science. His first job was a lube-tech at Jiffy Lube, and is currently an independent B-Technician servicing vehicles for the United States Postal Service. Christopher is ASE certified and loves rebuilding engines.

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