Fix sidewall tire

How Close to Sidewall Can a Tire Be Patched?

Written by Steven Schiller

Fact checked by Henry Speciale

According to the US National Transportation Safety Board, on average, 33,000 accidents are caused by tires yearly. These accidents can be avoided if motorists know what to do. Some people resort to patching to save their costly tires as a quick fix. But unbeknownst to many, the tire wall and shoulder are irreparable zones. Therefore, knowing how close to sidewall can a tire be patched is critical. It is required to spare a gap of 6 mm or more from the tire shoulder.

Read on to know the details when you need to fix your tire.

Table of Contents

  • How Close to the Sidewall Can a Tire Be Patched?
  • What Kind of Damage to a Tire Can and Cannot Be Repaired?
    • 1. Repairable Damages
    • 2. Irreparable damages
    • 3. Steps to Fix Sidewall Damage
  • How Do You Avoid Getting a Puncture?
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Conclusion

How Close to the Sidewall Can a Tire Be Patched?

There will be a tire patch fail when the patch is too close to the sidewall or shoulder, which is less than 6 mm.

You can’t patch a tire shoulder or patch a sidewall of a tire, and you need to replace the tire if the damage is too near the wall or directly on the tire shoulder.

Also, if the punctured hole covers more than ¼ inch, it’s no use attaching a patch. It won’t fully cover the hole, and the wheels will deflate when the car starts moving.

Why is the gap of 6mm from the sidewall important when patching your tire? Here’re what you should know about tire sidewall structure:

  • The shoulder and sidewall are where the tire curves from the inside, causing it to flex and be prone to further damage.
  • What could make matters worse is the significant size the puncture has created at more than a quarter of an inch.
  • The closer the patch gets to the sidewall, the more fatal for your tires to get a blowout.

The sidewall accounts for the tires’ high performance and speed and holds the inner structure together, so it is critical to have your sidewall inspected from the inside out whenever you have a tire puncture.

So, make sure you know that:

  • If the puncture is in the safe zone, you can apply the traditional patch as a temporary fix.
  • However, if the patch is too close and goes below the 6 mm distance from the sidewall, there’s no option but to replace the tire completely.

What Kind of Damage to a Tire Can and Cannot Be Repaired?

1. Repairable Damages
  • The size of the puncture injury is not larger than 6 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
  • The puncture is in the centre of the tread region (not too close to the two outer treads), which is inside the 1.5-inch repairable zone.
  • The puncture angle must be >= 45 degrees
  • There are no existing patched patches that overlay the new damage in the punctured locations.
  • There is no sign of sidewall damage as a result of driving on a flat tire for an extended period of time.

2. Irreparable damages

So, when can a tire not be patched? Here’re the signs showing that you might need a tire replacement:

  • Puncture is more than 1/4 inch in diameter.
  • The puncture falls on the irreparable sidewall and shoulder tire areas.
  • Possible damages that may occur on a sidewall are bulges, gashes, cuts, cracks, scrapes and air bubbles.
  • The tire has multiple injuries and repairs. There is a limit to the hole can you patch in a tire – at least 16 inches.
  • The tread’s depth is below the allowable legal limit of 6 mm.
  • It has run-flat tires, and patching this type of tire is impractical because it will eventually be punctured again due to uneven wear and rigidity loss.

3. Steps to Fix Sidewall Damage

Step 1: First, check how close the puncture in sidewall of tire is to see if you can still give it a quick fix for your trip to the repair shop.

Step 2: If it’s beyond 6mm from the sidewall, you can apply a plug or a patch.


    1. Cover the plug installer with some cement. Then thrust the drill bit into the punctured hole. Keep pushing, pulling and rotating so that the cement gets applied inside while you are shaving and cleaning the hole.
    2. Put some cement on the plug’s center before inserting it in. When you plug the sidewall of a tire, please ensure that the tire plug near sidewall doesn’t get too near to avoid further damage. Using the same T-handle tool, push the plug sticks 1-2 at a time. The strips will be folded with its two ends sticking out.
    3. Then, once fully sealed, cut the ends of the plugs and pump back air to check for any leaks and you’re ready to go.


    1. To apply the patch, make sure both the patch and the tire’s surface are clean and dry for the adhesion to work.
    2. Sand the punctured area before applying enough repair glue to bond the rubber patch to the tire’s outer surface.
    3. Fix back the tire to the rim by tightening the nuts and pumping back air.

How Do You Avoid Getting a Puncture?

With the frequency of use and exposure to harmful elements, it’s not uncommon to have our tires punctured. But we can follow these preventive measures to lengthen their tread life.

  • Rotate your tires every 10,000 kilometers.
  • Avoid speeding on rough roads and bumping into curbs.
  • Regularly monitor your tire’s pressure to avoid going beyond the warranty period. The average age of tires is from 6 to 10 years before they start deflating.
  • Avoid overloading your car, as it can make the tires unstable and wobbly.
  • Invest in professional help and have your car checked regularly.
  • Always maintain the condition of your tires and your safety by using the right tools. Instead of fixing them, you might be accelerating the damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you drive on a patched tire?

So long as the installation was done well, it can last for almost 25,000 miles, which is typically from seven to ten years or until its tread life is reached.

How close can a tire patch be to another patch?

You’ll find that a nail in sidewall of tire repairable up to a certain degree. You can patch a tire with 2 nails in it. This is possible as long as the gap between the two punctures is not less than 16 inches and not more than 2 times.

Can you patch a tire on the side of the road?

Yes, you can. Park your vehicle on the side of the road or shoulder, which is specifically reserved for road emergencies. I can get my tire patched for free when I have tire sidewall repair products in my car, should the inevitable happen.

When you plug a tire sidewall, keep a safe margin of 6 mm and above to avoid damaging the tire. A temporary “quick fix” plug helps at least to get your vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop safely.

Can you drive on a damaged sidewall?

No, it is not advisable as it could lead to a blowout. Not only is it dangerous to drive, you can also get a fine for driving on a damaged sidewall and gain penalty points on your driver’s license.

Can’t you patch a tire shoulder?

No, you shouldn’t, as it is an irreparable area. If you do, it will just be a temporary fix that could endanger lives inside the vehicle.


With frequent driving and the countless revolutions a wheel makes, it’s no longer a matter of “if” but a question of “when” will a flat tire, or blowout happen. So being knowledgeable about the essentials of tire care and repair is a must.

Knowing how close to sidewall can a tire be patched should help us exercise safety measures and get professional help for our tire’s optimum health. We can enjoy our tires’ maximum benefits if we take good care of them.

Read next:

  • Ways to let the air out of a tire properly
Categories FAQs

A Few Words From the Author

I'm Henry, the content writer for PPMC Transport. We build our site entirely on experience and extensive market and customer research. My goal is to create a trusted platform where people can go to determine what is best for their vehicles in terms of safety and convenience. Keep an eye out for our useful guide!

- Speciale Henry

How Close To Sidewall Can A Tire Be Patched?

One of the problems you can encounter when traveling by car is a punctured tire. Using a patch is a fairly common option to work around this issue.

Yet, if the hole is in a position like a tire wall, the problem becomes much more complicated because it is likely that the defensive position will not be patched.

So, how close to the sidewall can a tire be patched? A distance of 6 mm or more from the tire shoulder is required to fit a patch. In other words, if a crack is closer than 6mm, there’s almost nothing you can do about it!

Tire Sidewall Overview

First, let’s learn about sidewalls and how to identify them on your tires.

The wall is the rubber part from the outer edge of the rim to the road surface. This part also has the largest area, is the most flexible, and continuously deforms under loads when moving.

How Close To Sidewall Can A Tire Be Patched?

As you know, the car’s wall is in a particular location, so it is pretty challenging to troubleshoot the hole here.

Manufacturers also recommend that you not choose the patch option if the spot is on the side of the vehicle or too close to this position. Then, how close to the sidewall can a tire be patched.

You cannot use the patch if the hole is close to the wheel with a gap of less than 6mm. In addition, you should note that if the hole is more significant than ¼ inch, the patch should not be used. In this case, if the patch is small, it cannot cover the hole, causing the wheel to deflate still when moving.

On the contrary, using a large patch can make the wheel more bulky, difficult to move, and unsafe.

Fix Sidewall Damage

Other Related Questions

To better understand the problems that occur with the tires and how to overcome them effectively, you can refer to the following information.

We’ve put together some frequently asked questions that may help answer your questions on this topic.

Plug a flat tire: Is it possible?

People are often concerned about whether it is safe to plug or patch a flat tire.

These two options are pretty standard in repairing or overcoming the problem of flat tires caused by rolling nails or other sharp objects.

The manufacturer still recommends that you better replace the tire with a new one when there is a problem because repairing with a plug or patch when a flat one is not a safe solution.

Yet, the cost of new tires is not cheap, and if you have this problem often, it is a big problem. So, many drivers use a plug or patch when a wheel is punctured.

There is a limit to the number of nails or patches on a product. You can use this option to temporarily fix the problem if you find a few small holes. If the wheel has many large holes or previous patches, it is best to replace it with a new one.

For a detailed guide, check out this video:

How close can a tire patch be to another patch?

The gap between patches is also a topic that people are very interested in. When traveling on the road, you may encounter a flat one many times.

As you know, when the tires have had previous patches or punctures in close locations, it is better to replace them. In case

Can you patch a tire on the side of the road?

In the case of a puncture on the tire side, the use of stickers is unlikely to have as much effect as you think.

The reason is that its wall adhesion is so thin that relatively few materials can adhere. More specifically, damage to the sidewall will seriously damage the structure of a wheel.

The solution to this problem is to insert an extra tube inside the wheel to ensure that you can still turn the whole thing.

How fast can you drive on a patched tire?

A patched one will not achieve the same speed and performance as it once was. Therefore, the optimal level you can expect from such a version will not be more than 85 mph. Of course, this is just the limit that many manufacturers recommend, but you should not overdo this limit.

Can you patch a tire with 2 nails in it?

The answer is yes! It’s just that the gap between the two punctures is at least 16 inches, and you might seal them with two large patches.

According to many manufacturers, the maximum number of times performed is two times. If more than that, it’s time to get a new one.


As such, a puncture in the side of the vehicle is a unique location where patching is not an optimal solution in this case. It would help if you changed to a new tire to ensure safety when traveling.

Thank you for following this post!

Alvin Reyes

Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for

This post was last updated on

what can be repaired and what can't? / September 21, 2017 — read articles on Wheels

Another season of changing shoes is approaching. And you may remember that on one of the tires after the last winter/summer there is a jamb - a small bump. I don’t want to run to the store for the sake of one new tire. We understand. Or maybe it looks even better if repaired?

Yes, not every wheel that has met with a nail, rebar sticking out of the ground or a sharp stone on the road is considered damaged. Everything, of course, depends on the scale of the damage and its location on the tire itself. Some are easily repaired, while others are simply impossible to do - the tire can only be sent to the trash.

Bump or bulge

A bulge on a wheel, referred to by drivers as a bump or bulge, is the most common tire sidewall defect. It appears due to a collision with an obstacle or after falling into a pit, more often at high speed. The threads of the sidewall carcass are easily damaged by impact, and the tire at this point can no longer hold the load and air pressure - swelling appears. A small bump sooner or later turns into a big one, and driving with such a defect is dangerous - the wheel can shoot at any moment. At high speed, this is fraught with loss of control, departure from the road and a rollover.

The quality of roads in Kazakhstan contributes to the appearance of bulges on tires

Some types of bulges are repairable, although this is a temporary measure. Not a single patch can restore the factory rigidity. Ideally, change the tire.

Special cord patches can extend the life of a tire with a herniation, even if the swelling has appeared on the tread. The sidewall is a different story. If the swelling appeared at a distance of more than 40 mm from the side, it can be repaired. If not, then the wheel needs to be replaced. Blisters on low profile tires are most often non-repairable.

For maximum safety when riding with a repaired bump, insert the tube. This is an inexpensive and reliable solution. On our market, you can find cameras made in China and Russia, the latter are slightly more expensive, but also of better quality.

Side cut

The elimination of a side cut is a serious operation, therefore, as in the case of a bump, you will have to go to the professionals. We need cord patches, fortunately in our time they are of different sizes and with a different number of layers. And if you do it wisely, then you can't do without special tools and vulcanization.

A cut, by the way, cannot be healed in all cases. If the gap is in the shoulder area of ​​the tire, it is unlikely that anyone will undertake to repair it, since no guarantees can be given here. However, our Kulibins take on even the most difficult cases, cutting out parts of the sidewalls from the tires and even weaving the cord on their own.

Tire overhaul. We would not put such a wheel on ourselves

Low profile tires can be repaired, but more difficult. A tear in the sidewall is easier to seal on tires with a medium or high profile.

Sometimes a cut is confused with a pluck. This is when the outer layer of the sidewall caught on something sharp, a tear formed, but the frame itself remained intact. There is nothing wrong with that, although the drivers at the tire fitting company successfully repair the cut, for which they take it accordingly.

If a piece of rubber remains on the sidewall, then glue it with ordinary superglue (101st). If it came off, then it is better to cover it with raw rubber and vulcanize. Leaving the pluck bare is not recommended, because the tire carcass, often consisting of a metal cord, will quickly corrode.

In Europe, defective or used tires are perforated before being sent for scrap to prevent their resale and possible operation. But they don’t know that we have such holes on the sidewall patched once or twice

Destruction of the side ring

Cuts and hernias are not the only possible damage to the side of the tire. You can also spoil the side ring, in the process of changing shoes, for example. If it’s for garlic, then such a tire is already dangerous. Sooner or later, the tire pressure and the load in motion will start to squeeze the rubber off the rim - a wheel explosion can occur.

This ailment is repaired if the wire ring - the base - is intact. There are no special technologies and materials to correct this particular problem, but most often craftsmen use a two-component composition for chemical (also called cold) vulcanization. After mixing, the mass is pressed into a fat-free damage. Compound manufacturers recommend waiting 72 hours before mounting a tire. Of course, our masters do not pay attention to this condition - they put the tire right away. And it’s good if the wheel is flat because of this at night in the parking lot, and not on the road.

If the side ring tears are barely noticeable, but the wheel still deflates, then you can use a special liquid - a bead seal designed to seal a tubeless tire.

These seals have been used in motorsport for some time. In particular, in the American Formula D Drift Series, drivers used compounds to keep the tire on the rim even with minimal tire pressure. Now they are banned.

Pay attention to the left rear wheel of the Nissan Silvia S13. Due to too low pressure, it was literally taken off the disk under load

Wheel puncture

Every schoolchild has faced this problem when patching the inner tube of his bike after hitting something sharp. Repairing a car tire puncture with your own hands will also not be difficult even on the road. But for this you will need a pump (or compressor) and a universal tire repair kit with harnesses. All this is sold at any car market or gas station.

Repairing a tire on the side of the road with harnesses

The process is simple. If we are talking about the front wheels, then in most cases the wheel can not even be removed, it is enough to turn the steering wheel in the right direction, find the puncture site and carry out repairs. First, the hole is cleaned with a helical awl from the set. The tourniquet itself is smeared with glue and tucked into the eye of the awl, after which it is inserted into the tire hole. With a sharp movement, the tool is removed, and the tourniquet remains in place and clogs the hole. The tails are cut with a knife, but not at the root, it is recommended to leave about 20 mm. The tire is inflated and checked.

Sometimes a nail or self-tapping screw clogs the hole by itself, remaining in it. If you see a hat in a tread, do not rush to pull it out. While the pressure is holding, move to vulcanize. And sometimes they drive with a screw in a tire for weeks.

Repair of a puncture at a tire shop

Punctures are also repaired with harnesses at a specialized service, although among professionals such repairs are not considered long-term. After a few months, the flagella dry out and can let air through. There are more advanced methods like cold and hot vulcanization. The latter is more reliable. In this case, the hole is sealed with an elastic patch, and the funnel from a foreign object is filled with a special compound. After that, a vulcanizer is put on the tire, it heats up the rubber and solders it.

In addition to the plaster, the puncture is also repaired with special cord fungi. Craftsmen process the puncture site: drill it and treat the surface with a tool to roughen it. Then the repair area is lubricated with glue (it is also called cement) and a fungus is introduced. This is done from the inside of the tire. The cap of the fungus is rolled, and the excess legs are simply cut off from the outside.

Puncture repair with sealant

With the advent of tubeless wheels, and later run flat tires, many automakers began to abandon spare wheels. Instead, repair kits with compressors are supplied with the machines. A repair kit is essentially a bottle of pressurized sealant. Later, such spray cans began to appear on the shelves of ordinary car dealerships.

This method has not taken root in the CIS, because the condition of the roads makes it necessary to have at least a stowaway in the kit, but it can also be considered as a method of repair on the road.

The car must be jacked up and sealant must be pumped into the damaged wheel through the nipple. Next, you should spin the wheel, then pump it up, lower the car and drive a few hundred meters. If the tire tightness has not been restored, repeat the procedure.


For commercial vehicles, cutting the tread with a special device (regrower) is a common thing. Moreover, such tire retreading is provided by the factory (marked REGROOVABLE on the sidewall) to increase the service life. But there are entrepreneurs who undertake to deepen the grooves in tires for passenger cars. But they are not intended for such an operation. Often used tires for sale are “refreshed” in this way. Be careful!

What is the threat?

The worst option is that the retreaded tire will shoot out on the road, as the master can damage the undertread layer when deepening the grooves. Such a tire will not be able to hold pressure at some point. There will be a boom! At best, the tire will indeed last a little longer, but is the game worth the candle? We think it's not worth it.

How is cutting done?

A regrower is used to cut the tread. Roughly speaking, this is a large soldering iron with interchangeable tips of various shapes. It goes through rubber like a knife through butter.

If the tire is for passenger cars, then it is worth taking on a regrower only in one case - when part of the tread pattern was welded with "new" rubber during repair. This is where threading comes in handy in order to restore the grooves and symmetry of the tread.

What does the SDA say about car tires?

Vehicle operation is prohibited if:

- tires have a residual tread height of less than 1.6 mm;

- tires have punctures, cuts, ruptures that expose the cord, as well as delamination of the carcass, delamination of the tread and sidewall;

- tires in size or load capacity do not match the car model;

- tires of various sizes, designs (radial, diagonal, chamber, tubeless), models, with different tread patterns, winter and summer, studded and non-studded, new and restored, are installed on one axle of the car;

- Tires retreaded according to the second repair class are installed on the front axle.

What is a second class repair?

This is the case when the carcass of the tire is restored after serious damage. A side cut (or tear) is a serious damage to the tire carcass.

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Herniations, punctures, cuts: which tire damage can be repaired and which cannot

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  • Hernias, punctures, cuts: which tire damage can be repaired and which cannot

Author: Kirill Savchenko

“Chief, you've got ten minutes of work to do, the hole is nothing! Well, come up with something . .. ”Every tire fitter has probably heard such words. Alas, not all tire damage can be repaired ...

But the situation can be reversed. A wheel pierced by protruding reinforcement may be repairable, while a small cut will write off the tire for scrap. Experienced tire fitters believe that it all depends on the point of damage and the object that caused it.

Most often, drivers encounter punctures in the tread area of ​​a tire. It is not always possible to detect it immediately. If in the days of tires and chambers the wheel lost pressure at the slightest puncture, then tubeless tires are much more reliable in this regard. A nail or self-tapping screw usually closes the puncture site, preventing air from escaping quickly.

With such a “plug”, you can sometimes drive for months. The tire can lose pressure minimally without arousing suspicion. At the same time, an attempt to pull out a noticed nail on the way is likely to turn into a problem. In this case, the only recommendation is to pull out a foreign object only in a tire shop and repair the wheel.

In most cases, tread punctures are sealed either with special harnesses (some for temporary use, some for permanent use) or patches from the inside of the tire. Even damage caused by massive pins can be repaired. The main thing is that a piece of the tire along with the cord is not torn out.

In the latter case, the hole is filled with raw rubber, vulcanized, and a special cord patch is placed on the inside. But this will only be a temporary measure. In addition, such repairs are not cheap, and purchasing a new tire can be both more profitable and safer.

In addition to the plaster, cord “fungi” are also used. Lubricated with glue, the “fungus” is inserted into the puncture from the inside of the tire, then the excess part of the “leg” is cut off from the outside.

On the other hand, a cord patch can seriously help with side cuts. And car owners meet with them quite often. But here there are several nuances. In a roadside tire shop, the cut will most likely not heal. You need to contact a company with specialized equipment, primarily vulcanization.

And one vulcanizer is indispensable here. Cord patches should be with a certain number of layers, designed for strictly defined damage sites and of a suitable size. And again we are talking about the nuances.

If the cut is in the shoulder area of ​​the tire, then it is most often impossible to repair it qualitatively. The tire fitter who offered such a service is at great risk, even if he claims that he will weave a piece of new cord with his hands and vulcanize it. There are no miracles in this situation, but in any case, the last word belongs to an experienced specialist.

Side cuts on low profile tires with a tread height of less than 50% of the width are poorly treated. That is why, in the case of using a car on roads with a possibility of tire damage, it is better to put those that are higher. They are much easier and cheaper to repair.

By the way, an injury that looks like a cut at first glance may not be one. If the sidewall of the wheel catches on something sharp, and a tear forms on the tire without damaging the cord, then this is called a pinch. It does not carry momentary danger and does not require any complex repairs.

However, if a piece of rubber remains, then it is glued with ordinary superglue. If not, you will need raw rubber and a vulcanizer. It is impossible to leave the cord bare: under the influence of moisture, it can collapse, which will lead to the complete loss of the tire.

One of the most common and fatal tire defects is swelling or simply "herniation". Despite the absence of open damage to the rubber, such a wheel will be scrapped ahead of schedule. The fact is that when the sidewall is hit, the threads of the tire carcass break. Even if the swelling is very small, sooner or later the bump grows in size, and this is already fraught with an explosion of the wheel at speed.

However, some hernias can be repaired, but this is again a temporary measure. Masters can put cord patches even in the tread area. But only on condition that the distance from the sidewall to the swelling is more than 40 mm. If less, the tire is not subject to further operation. By the way, on low-profile tires, hernias, for the most part, are not repairable - both on the tread and on the sidewalls.

One of the major tire problems is caused by unprofessional repairs. Moreover, the owner most often does not know about it. We are talking about damage to the bead ring, as a result of which the tire does not initially hold the specified pressure.

Eventually the bead ring begins to push out of the rim. At high speed or under heavy load, such a wheel can be disassembled, which again threatens the car with a loss of control.

This damage can be repaired provided that the wire ring or base is not damaged. Special technologies for such repairs are not provided, but experienced craftsmen use the so-called "cold" or chemical vulcanization using a two-component sealant. The resulting mass covers places where there is no rubber on the bead ring. The main condition is to wait three days before mounting the tire on the disc.

As for Run Flat tires, according to the instructions of most manufacturers, they cannot be repaired. In extreme cases, you can use a bottle of special pressurized sealant that comes as a repair kit.

Comment of the SHINSERVICE expert:

Alexander Golubev


First of all, we recall that most tire manufacturers do not recognize handicraft tire repairs. It is considered a sign of external influence and changes in the design of the tire. Such a tire automatically voids the warranty. This does not happen if tire repairs are carried out in specialized, authorized tire brands services. Note that almost all major tire brands give their own extended warranty, according to which in most cases the repair is free, at a discount, or the product is generally replaced with a similar one, depending on the conditions of the program.

Based on our experience, we can say that in most cases damage in the bead area and in the shoulder area is not repairable.

I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that most low-profile tires have high speed indexes (V and above), and even after professional repair they will not be able to operate in the same modes without restrictions. Therefore, we strongly recommend changing the tire in all cases, except for tread punctures.

practice tires and wheels

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