Continental, Michelin, Pirelli, and Shinko say don't bother on our tires, even in an emergency. They consider the tire junk after a puncture and suggest calling a tow truck to get home, then replacing the tire with a new one. They've instructed their dealers to not repair their brand tire due to liability.
Avon, Bridgestone, Dunlop, and Metzeler say punctures can be plugged in an emergency situation, and a repair that both fills the wound (plug) and seals the damage (patch inside) that is installed by a professional can even be considered permanent if specific criteria are met. Avon for instance specifies that the hole be no larger than 3mm, while Dunlop allows up to 6.8mm. Both specify that the hole be round. There are other specs on where the hole is located: farther out on the tire means more belt flex and more stress on the patch.
I've plugged tires with success. I use the "sticky string" type plugs along with patch cement. If you can, I'd also suggest trimming the plug on the inside of the tire and covering the spot with a patch.
I've known many folks that simply used a plug and never had any problems. A few reported a very slow leak, but no one reported a severe blow out or anything.
Tire companies of course want you to replace the tire, and many will do this...(I would if the tire has a hazzard warranty)
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