Expert Tire Repair and Tire Replacement

A+ Japanese Auto Repair in San Carlos has been the leading tire repair and replacement shop in the San Francisco Bay Area. We compiled tire information to help you evaluate if you need tire repair or tire replacement, how much tire service costs, and what to look for when you need to choose new tires.


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Flat Tire Repair

The first way you will know you might need flat repair is when the tire pressure monitor light comes on the dash. For a small tire puncture of up to 1/4 inch in diameter such as a nail, screw, or small bolt, a tire plug often works better than a patch. The external plug can be installed after properly cleaning the tire puncture. In the image below you can see how close the nail puncture is to the sidewall of the tire. Due to the way the tire works and flexes on the road, punctures this close to the tire sidewall are unsafe to patch.

Image showing a nail to close to the tire sidewall to safely patch - A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. - San Carlos

However, when a tire gets punctured and has a larger hole, gash, or is a high performance tire, a plug / patch is what we recommend. The tire repair we use is a combination of a patch and a plug. The plug patch flat repair procedure requires removal of the tire from the rim and install the patch/plug from the inside of the tire. Tires can also spring leaks due to old age, sun damage, running on the tires with low air, and other types of abuse. In the image below you can see a tire that is so old is has very deep cracks in the valleys of the tire tread where the technician is pointing to is extremely bad and also a safety issue.

Image shows auto repair mechanic pointing to deep cracks in tire tread surface - A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. - San Carlos, CA

If you do need to drive on a flat tire, learn how far you can drive on a flat tire. If you need to change a flat tire, learn how to change a flat tire.

Is my tire repairable?

A puncture from road debris less than 1/4 inch in length in the tread may be repaired using various methods including plugs and patches. However, at A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. we always take into consideration the tread depth remaining. If your tires have low tread remaining, it may make more sense to replace the tire or tires. Tires with less than 1/16 inch of viable tread depth should not be repaired.

How much does it cost to plug a tire?

Tire plugs will cost about $25 - $35 and a tire plug patch combination will cost between $35 - $55. The tire plug patch costs more because tire needs to be removed from the rim to perform the repair and re-installed with a tire balance after the tire repair. Make sure after you plug a tire, you fill your tire pressures to the proper tire pressure.

How do I know if I need new tires?

You can tell if you need tires by looking at the worn tread, inspecting the rubber for cracking, bubbles, or if there is an obvious tear or damage to the tire. 

The best way to inspect if the tire tread is worn if to look inspect the tire tread that touches the road. Between the tread, there are smaller raised sections of rubber. If the larger tread has worn down to the small raised rubber sections, you have worn that tire to the wear bars and the tire needs to be replaced.

If you have heavy cracking on the rubber or any bulging, bubbles, or obvious tears on the tire, these are all causes for tire replacement. Some light surface cracking on the rubber is still okay but you should plan for new tires within a few months.

How long do tires last on average?

On average, passenger and light truck tires will last between 5-8 years or 35,000 or 60,000 miles. The two things that allow tires to last longer is to have a proper alignment and rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. The image of the tire below shows one side of the tire wearing faster than the rest. This is an alignment issue and will cause a new set of tires to wear out very quickly if this is not addressed. The image also shows the internal structure of this tire (the steel belting) that has been exposed due to excessive wear.  

Tire worn up and past the wear bar indicators. Tire worn showing internal steel belting. - A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. - San Carlos, CA

In the picture above this uneven wear is due to the vehicle needing an alignment. To find out more about a vehicle alignment for your vehicle please visit our alignment page here:  Wheel Alignment - informational page

How much does it cost to replace a tire?

Cost of a tire replace will depend on the tire that is proper for your vehicle. The labor to mount and balance a new tire can cost from $25 to $85 per tire. The high cost replacing a tire (mounting and balancing a tire) is due to the need for specialized equipment for high performance tires.

Non-Repairable Tire Damage / Tire Replacement:

A split or cracked sidewall in a tire can never be safely repaired. If there were any question of whether a puncture or tear poses a safety risk we would recommend replacement of the tire.

Tire Replacement

When it comes to tire replacement there are many options available to clients of A+ Japanese Auto Repair. On average, we replace over 20 tires a day at our facility. This has naturally made the auto repair staff at our facility tire experts.

A+ Japanese Auto Repair uses many vendors to offer our clients a wide variety of tire replacement options and brands. When a tire is replaced by one of our ASE certified mechanics, the mechanic will not only install the tire on the rim but also balance the tire. This helps to prevent any vibration passing from the wheels to the steering wheel or vibrations to the passengers.

Tire Repair & Replacement Experts - Image shows a technician working on a tire - A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. - San Carlos, CA

If it is deemed necessary to replace a tire due to damage or normal tire wear, A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. installs the following tire brands: Michelin, Dunlop, Pirelli, Continental, Goodyear, Firestone, Hankook, BF Goodrich, Kumho, Sumitomo, Toyo Tires, Uniroyal, Yokohama and some special tires for high-performance needs.

For tire replacement, tire repair, or any questions about your tires, please feel free to call us a 650-946-1856 or book an appointment.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose. Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

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