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Saw this question today. The tire in question has a 2cm long hole on the inside, from a knife.

I sometimes get puncture flats from e.g. glass. Never as big as 2cm. Usually if they're less than 1/2cm, I just keep using the tire. Is this at all dangerous? At what size does a hole in the tire become dangerous?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's probably not a hard and fast rule as to how big is too big. It's going to vary based on tire width, pressure, the thickness of the tube, etc.

As someone mentioned in the comments on that other question, damage to the threads is the biggest concern. If the puncture goes between the threads like a sewing needle would through clothing, there's definitely no problem. If one or two of the threads gets damaged, probably still not a problem. At what point it's too many threads to be any good anymore though is pretty much a judgment call.

One thing that you can be sure of: If you put the tube in and fill it up, and you can see the tube from the outside of the tire; the hole is too big and probably needs a boot to get you home. And if it's that big, you need to replace the tire.

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In general, if the hole is bigger than a "puncture" then you'll have trouble with the tube wanting to peek through. This depends to a degree on the thickness of the tube -- lightweight tubes will obviously be worse in this regard than heavier, thicker tubes. Any time there is such a hole the tire should be "booted". I'd have no real problem riding a bike with a 1/2cm hole, well booted, though I'd not leave on a week-long tour that way (which reminds me ... better change that tire!).

I recall seeing a case about 5 years back where the tire had split along the bead for a distance of several inches. Being as this was on a trail, several miles from the nearest road where the accompanying repair van could come, the bike owner and several of his buddies performed a "repair" using medical adhesive tape wrapped around the tire (but not the rim) -- a very delicate procedure. This repair was sufficient to make it to the next town.

I still kick myself that I didn't think to take a picture.

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That is absolutely brilliant. – jimirings Apr 22 '13 at 18:56
I can testify that this will work for a few miles... but that's it. A touring buddy got a gash of about an inch and a half in his tire, and we were able to eke a few miles out of it by sealing the gash with duct tape, wrapping it around the tire and the rim. It held for 4.5 miles, but we still had to push our loaded touring bikes for 5 miles to finish the day. I was impressed by how long it held! – Neil Fein Apr 22 '13 at 20:56
I would have done it differently - I would have taken the tube out, and bound the tube with Duct tape about the same size as the tire around the gash area. I would then have booted the tire and put it all back. If I am ever as unfortunate as Ken, I'll let know know how it works - probably about as successful, or not..... :) – mattnz Apr 23 '13 at 3:11

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