Nail in Tire: What you need to do?

There’s all kinds of debris out on the roads, and even when you drive as carefully as you can, it’s still possible to get stuck with a nail in tire situation.

Nails are the most common cause of punctures in tires, so before you panic, let us explain what you can do.

How to know if a nail has punctured your tire?

If you suddenly hear a loud noise while driving, it could be a sign that your tire has been punctured. Another way to tell is if your tire starts to look flat or is flat one day. If you haven’t visually noticed then you may feel your car start to shake or vibrate. If you notice either of these things, it’s time to take action.

Finally, with bad punctures, you may even be able to hear the air hissing out of your tire or notice your tire going flat. If you see that your tire is sagging, it means that the air is escaping and you need to take action.

What to do if a nail punctures your tire?

The first thing you need to do is pull over and turn on your hazard lights. This will let other drivers know that you are stopped on the side of the road. Once you’re safely pulled over, you can assess the situation and decide what to do next.

If the puncture is in the tread of the tire, you are able to fix it yourself. First, you’ll need to have a tire repair kit. This is our favourite we have used and you can also find these at an auto parts store.

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Once you have your tire repair kit, you will need to remove the nail. Be careful not to damage the tire while doing this. Next, use your plug or patch kit to repair the hole.

If the puncture is in the sidewall of the tire, it’s best to call a tow truck or roadside assistance. This type of damage is difficult to repair and it’s not safe to drive on.

Once you’ve repaired the tire, inflate it to the proper pressure. The easiest way to do this is to use a portable tire pump. These can be lifesavers if you find yourself far from help with a flat tire. It will give you the time to drive to the nearest shop to have the tire repaired or replaced.

After driving over a nail, how can you assess the severity of the damage?

The first thing you should do after driving over a nail is to assess the severity of the damage. Make sure you are somewhere safe, ideally, in your own garage.

The most important thing you need to work out is whether the nail has actually punctured the tire of if it only embedded itself into the tread. The former issue is obviously a lot more serious than the latter.

If you’re struggling to find the puncture, the best method would be wetting the tire with some soapy water as the puncture site will lead to bubbles forming due to the leaking air.

Where will a nail in tire do the most damage?

The sidewalls are the definitely the part of the tire that will almost certainly not recover from a nail. But, an embedded nail right in the center may be salvageable.

When can you patch a tire with a nail in it rather than fully replacing it?

For smaller punctures where the nail is simply embedded into the tread and hasn’t completely punctured the tire, you can often get away with just patching it up. This is obviously a lot cheaper than having to replace the entire tire.

What steps can you take to patch a tire with a nail in it?

To do this properly you will need a puncture repair kit

Once you have found the location of the puncture, the first step is to remove the nail with something like a set of pliers.

With the puncture now clear of any debris, take your tire patch or plug kit and the first step will be to take the tire reamer to prepare the hole. 

Your tire patch kit may also come with rubber cement, which you can apply directly to the hole and work into with the reamer. This will help get a better seal with the tire patch kit. The tire cement is not a necessity so do not worry if you don’t receive this with your kit. 

After you have prepared the hole, take your plug pusher tool and thread one of the plugs through the hole in the end of the tool until it is half way through. You can also apply some extra rubber cement if you so wish. 

Now take out your tire reamer and insert your plug pushing tool with the plug into the tire. This will also require a large amount of force and I would recommend using your body weight to help push the plug into the tire. Keep pushing until approximately only a quarter of the plug remains visible. 

Now that the hole has been plugged, firmly pull the plug pushing tool out of the tire and the tool should come out leaving the plug in the tire. If you have used rubber cement, leave the tire to dry for 10-15 minutes. 

What are the consequences of driving on a nail in tire?

If you continue to drive on a punctured tire, there are a few things that could happen. The first is that the tire could completely blow out, which would obviously be very dangerous.

The second is that the damage could cause the tire to leak slowly over time. This would gradually make the tire lose pressure, making it less effective at gripping the road.

If a nail gets stuck in your car tire, can you continue to drive on it if the tire isn’t flat?

Ideally, no. It’s always best to get the tire fixed as soon as possible as continuing to drive on it could cause further damage. If the tire is only slightly punctured, then you may be able to get away with driving a short distance, but it’s still not ideal.

If you are unable to patch the tire, the next solution is to change the punctured tire for your vehicles spare tire. This can be done at the side of the road without too much difficulty.

If your vehicle does not come with a spare tire, it may instead come with Fix-a-Flat, which will also resolve the issue in the short term. This will allow you the time to drive your vehicle to the nearest shop to repair your punctured tire.

How long can you typically drive with a nail in tire before it goes flat?

While we don’t recommend you drive on a tire with a nail stuck in it, you can usually drive for a few miles before the tire goes flat. If you have a nail puncture in your tire, it’s best to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Can you get away with patching the tire rather than fully replacing it?

It really depends. Normally, we’d say that a nail in your tire is pretty serious and you should probably think about replacing it completely and avoid any risks.

However, many people have probably got a nail stuck in their tires before without ever noticing. As long as it doesnt fully puncture the tire and instead just gets stuck in the tread, then you may well be ok to patch it up and go on with your old tires.

It’s still important to keep an eye on this tire, however.

What to do now?

A nail in tire predicament can be hugely damaging and will in may cases, require a complete replacement. However, depending on the location and damage, a nail puncture may be able to be patched up.

If you’re still not sure, it’s always a good idea to talk to your mechanic and they can help you make the best and safest decision.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Nail in Tire: What you need to do?”

  1. Oh, no! One of my car tires got deflated this morning after an old nail penetrated into it. I might as well just send the vehicle to a workshop for further repair. In the meantime, I must thank you for sharing with us about how we have to patch our tire quickly and not drive too far afterwards to preven it from getting flat at an instant.

  2. It’s unsettling to learn that if you drive on a punctured tire, a number of terrifying things may occur, such as the tire blowing out altogether, which would be quite unsafe. My brother’s car has broken tires as far as I’m aware so I will be sending this article to him. Maybe there’s some sort of mobile tire repair around his area that can come to him and service his vehicle.

  3. I got home from work yesterday and noticed that there’s a big nail in my back tire. I have never had this happen before, so I have no idea how to get it out. Thanks for mentioning that it’s important to get the tire fixed as soon as possible to avoid bigger issues.

  4. It’s unnerving to realize that there are a variety of terrible things that may happen if you drive on a punctured tire, such as the tire blowing out completely, which would be quite dangerous. As far as I know, my brother’s automobile has damaged tires, thus I’ll be forwarding him this article. Perhaps there is a mobile tire repair business in his region that can visit him and work on his car.


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