Tire repair is not without its potential risks to both the technician during the repair process as well as to the vehicle user should the repair be performed incorrectly.
This is where training is essential. The Tire Industry Association (TIA) offers best-in-class training for tire technicians. Not only does the training develop the skill set of employees, it also helps protect the shop from a certain level of liability in the event of a lawsuit.
With safety in mind, here are recommendations for technician safety during and after the tire-repair process.
- When using chemical cement to repair a tire wound, allow it to dry on its own according to the repair material manufacturer's procedures. Don’t use heat to speed the process, and do not use flammable cements near fire, flame, cigarettes or any other source of ignition. Explosive force and/or fire from the cement igniting could cause serious injury or death.
- Deadly tire damage is not always obvious enough to be easily identified by inspection. Unfortunately, results can be explosive. Tire failure during installation and inflation can happen in an instant with deadly force and injury. Any tire that may have been run low or under-inflated could have permanent structural damage. This can include damage or weakening of the steel cords or belt material that provides strength to the tire’s design. Hidden damage also can be caused by tires supporting a vehicle that was overloaded. Ply cords that are weakened by under-inflation and/or overloading may start to break one by one. This causes a rupture commonly referred to as a “zipper,” which occurs in the upper sidewall with accompanying instantaneous air loss and explosive force. Because this can result in serious injury or death, any suspect tires that may have been operating under such conditions should be inflated by using a restraining device, such as a safety cage, that complies with OSHA regulations, along with an air line with a clip-on air chuck.
- For the vehicle operator, a patch or a plug (stem) on its own is considered to be an improper repair. The plug alone does not permanently seal the innerliner; the patch alone does not fill the void left by the penetrating object, which allows water to enter the body of the tire and started corroding the steel belts. Improperly repaired tires can fail while in use, such as by tread-belt separation and/or detachment, which may result in an accident causing serious personal injury or death.