Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

My Tire Has a Nail in It. What Should I Do?

Nail in Tire

At some point in your driving career you may walk up to your vehicle and notice the ominous glint of a nail head in the tread of your tire. It’s an uneasy feeling when you have to drive with a nail in your tire. What do you do about it? Do you need to have it fixed right away? Is the tire even leaking?

Just because you have a nail in your tire doesn’t mean you'll have a flat tire. In some cases, the nail can be short enough that it doesn’t even penetrate through the tire’s airtight lining. In other cases, it’s trajectory may have missed the lining altogether. Or if the nail did puncture right through the liner, it may be sealed or nearly completely sealed around the offending nail. Here’s what you should do:

Check your tire pressure

Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle. You should check your tire pressure every other time you fill your fuel tank. If the tire is significantly lower on pressure than it should be, put your spare tire on, or have a mechanic do it for you, and have the tire with the nail in it professionally repaired or replaced as soon as possible. If the air pressure is only slightly low, top it up and bring your vehicle to a tire repair shop to have it fixed properly.

Have the nail removed and the tire fixed

An often overlooked aspect of tire repair has to do with the steel belts inside the tire’s layers. When the tire is punctured, water, snow, and moisture can eat away at the steel belts and cause corrosion. This can compromise your tire and the belt might end up letting go and cause the tire to shimmy. Have the puncture hole repaired using a combination plug and patch, which is the only approved method of tire repair.

Replace the tire if necessary

Unfortunately, there are areas of the tire that cannot be repaired, such as the shoulder and the sidewall. In both of these locations, there is too much flex and movement and a plug-patch will not hold. Also, if the puncture is in the tread but the hole is larger than a quarter inch, it cannot be repaired safely. Whether due to location or size, there are times that a tire repair is not possible and the tire must be replaced entirely.

Don’t take a chance driving with a nail in your tire. Have a professional inspect and repair your tire as soon as you can.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...


Related questions

Q: What should the pressure be in the spare tire?

A246. Your spare tire is a vital safeguard, and the only way to get safely back on the road after you’ve had a flat. However, if it’s not aired up correctly, you might not be going very far. Check your...

Q: What Happens if I Overinflate My Tires?

Inflating tires to the correct pressure is one of the most important factors when inflating a tire. Both under and, over-inflating a tire can actually be detrimental to the performance of a vehicle and to the life of a tire....

Q: Tires not rolling

It is very possible the rear drum brakes are locked up. The rear wheels would need to be removed and the drums loosened up to restore rotation. You may want enlist the help of a mechanic, such as one from...