How did a plug get into my tire if I'm the only one who ever drove it?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

In 1989, I bought a new Mazda 929. I am the only driver, and have always had to put air in the left front tire, because it seemed to need it more than the others. I took the car to Sears to check the tire, and the repairman said he couldn't do it because it had a plug in it. I never had a flat, and nobody but me ever drove the car. How did the plug get in the tire?

RAY: You may think you're the only one who's ever driven this car, Rose, but you probably weren't. People at the Mazda dealership drove it. Other buyers may have taken it on test drives before you bought it. One of the repairmen may have accidentally run over a nail while your car was in for service, and rather than tell you about it (which would have been the right thing to do), he just plugged it and hoped you'd never notice.

TOM: And that's assuming you don't have any teen age children or grandchildren, in which case, we would KNOW that someone else drove it.

RAY: The tire certainly didn't come from the tire manufacturer with a plug in it, or from the Madza factory, but somewhere along the line, someone put a hole in it and didn't tell you.

TOM: What I don't understand is why the guy from Sears won't even check it now. There are two possible reasons why it may be leaking. One is that the tire wasn't plugged properly in the first place. In that case, unless the hole is enormous, someone can put another plug in for you and do it right.

RAY: The other possibility is that there's a new leak in addition to the one that was plugged. And unless the holes are too close together, there's nothing wrong with having two plugs in a tire.

TOM: Take it to a tire shop and ask them to check it and find out where it's leaking. I'll bet it can be fixed pretty easily.

RAY: And if you have teenagers around, keep all keys and screwdriver sets on your person at all times.

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