How to Fix a Tire with a Nail

How to Fix a Tire with a Nail (and when you can’t)

The worst has happened. You were driving down the road and a discarded screw or nail went right through your tire. You could feel it happen, and now you’re worried that your tire won’t be safe to drive on. Today, I’ll explain how to fix a tire with a nail (and when you can’t).

Many drivers have no idea how to get a nail out of their tire. They wonder whether it would be safe for them to keep driving even if there’s a nail in one of their tires.

Let’s look at how you can fix a tire that has a nail in it. We’ll also learn about when it’s best to visit the professionals.

Fixing a Tire with a Nail

To fix a tire with a nail, spin the tire and examine it. You need to find the nail so that you can remove it. From there, you can ream out the hole, use the tool in your tire plug kit, and then insert the tire plug in the right spot to prevent a loss of air pressure. Watch the tire to make sure that it doesn’t keep losing pressure. Take it into a professional tire repair shop right away if anything still seems wrong.

You can drive a short distance with the nail in the tire if you need to get somewhere safe to remove the nail.

A Nail in a Tire

Do not plan on keeping the nail in place. If you do, you’ll destroy the tire.

You should keep a tire repair kit in your car to help you out if you ever run over a nail or screw.

Here are some of the detailed steps that you can take to help fix a tire with a nail or screw in it. Make sure to plug up the tire so the car is safe to drive again (at least temporarily).

Spin the Tire and Look for the Nail

Most of the time, you’ll be able to find a nail in your tire fairly easily. It may even be sticking out quite a bit.

But if you ended up driving around on it for a few blocks, the nail may have gotten pushed further into the tread. This means it’ll be harder to find.

How to Find a Nail in a Tire?

When this happens, you’ll need to find the leak from the tire to determine where the nail is.

To accomplish this, take a bubbly solution (window cleaner works well here) and spray it on the tire.

Then, fill the tire back up with air. And then observe the tire to see if there are any bubbles forming from the leaking air.

The place you see the bubbles is where the nail punctured through.

Remove the Nail or Screw

If you have a screw stuck in the tire, you can simply unscrew it using a screwdriver or a drill.

How to Remove a Nail from a Tire?

You may need to use a pair of pliers, vice grips, or a claw hammer to get the nail out of the tire.

Don’t be too worried if the tire goes flat or you hear a hissing sound. This is just some of the air coming out of the tire.

We will plug this up in a moment and refill the tire, so it won’t be unsafe for you to drive on.

Ream out the Hole

The next step you need to take when a nail gets into your tire is to ream out the hole.

This may sound complicated. However, it’s a simple process and if you have a tire plug kit, you will be able to pull out a tool that has a type of file at the end.

Push this tool into and out of the hole.

The point of this is to help rough out the hole for the next step.

Use the Tire Plug

Once you have the hole reamed, find the tool that looks more like a needle in your tire plug kit.

You can take that one out and then take the tire plug and crimp it between the end. Now it is time for us to seal up the hole in the tire once and for all.

Fixing a Tire with a Nail Using a Tire Plug Kit

To do this, you can take the plug threaded needle and then insert it inside of the hole. Keep in mind that you may need to push it in with a bit of force.

You only want a bit of the plug left to stick out of it at any time to make sure that the air does not leak out of the tire.

Then you should be able to yank a bit to get the plug tool out of the tire. Your tire plug should stay in the hole without a problem.

You can then trim off some of the end of the plug so that it will stick out as close to the tire as possible. This is essential to ensure a smooth ride as you drive down the road.

One thing to keep in mind here is that you should not put more than one plug or patch on the tire at the same time.

If you have a plugged tire that you already fixed, and it ends up with a second hole, it is time to look at getting a new tire.

It may be a little expensive, but it is much safer than driving on a tire with two plugs or patches.

Should I Have a Professional Remove the Nail?

Most of the time, when the nail gets into the tire, you will be able to complete a few steps and get the work done.

But there are some situations where it may be better to hire a professional to step in and do the work for you.

Should I Have a Professional Remove the Tire Nail?

For example, if you are already close to a tire repair shop, or you do not have the right tools to plug up the hole in the tire left by the nail, it may make sense to just stop in and get someone to take a look at the tire for you.

This can save time and you will have the peace of mind knowing that a professional got the work done for you the right way.

It’s best to bring your tire in to be seen by a professional in the following situations:

  • If the nail is deep into the tire
  • You’re worried about the tire losing pressure too quickly
  • You’re concerned that the nail will make the tire pop or burst

Should I Replace the Tire When I Run Over a Nail?

In most cases, you will be able to just take the nail out of your tire and then patch up the hole with your tire repair kit.

It will then be safe for you to drive it on the road again. However, there are times when it may be best to replace (rather than just repair) the tire.

Should I Replace the Tire When I Run Over a Nail?

If the nail or screw is large and will leave a hole more than ¼ inch in diameter, It’s best to leave the nail or screw where it is and immediately go to a tire repair shop.

This hole may be too big for the plug to work very well, and you’ll just put yourself at risk when you go on the road.

No matter the size of the nail, if it gets in too close to the tread or it is in an awkward area of the tire that is hard to patch up, you may want to consider just having the tire replaced.

If you have already patched up the tire one time before, you should not attempt to patch it up a second time.

This can be risky to the tire and allows for two places where air is able to get out of the tire.

You should replace the tire if you have patched it once and then run over a nail or screw again.

Is It Safe to Drive with a Nail in the Tire?

When a nail gets into a tire, you can drive a short distance with it still in there to get someplace that is safer and more convenient for you to remove the nail.

If you’re close to home, for example, it is fine to get back into your own driveway and then look at removing the nail.

Is It Safe to Drive with a Nail in a Tire?

You should never keep the nail in the tire very long though. As soon as you notice that there is a nail in the tire, you should make a plan to get it removed.

The longer you drive with the nail in the tire, the more damage it can do.

Driving around with the nail in the tire allows it to puncture the inside of the tire more and drive deeper into the rubber.

This can tear into the rubber and will allow the air pressure to come out of the tire, which can make it unsafe for you to drive around on the tire.

How Much Is the Cost to Fix a Tire with a Nail In It?

If you are able to use your tire repair kit, the cost to fix the tire when it gets a nail in it is between $10 to $20, depending on which kit you go with.

How Much is the Cost to Fix a Tire with a Nail in It?

The size of the puncture area of the nail makes a difference in the cost of a repair.

It is always cheaper to do the work on your own. But if you have a serious puncture, you should go to a professional.

Your tire repair kit will be able to keep the costs lower, but if you need to hire the professionals to step in and do the work, or you need to replace the tire, then the costs could add up to $200 or more per tire.

Now You Know How to Fix a Tire With a Nail

When you run over a nail on the road, it is important to fix the tire as soon as possible. This will keep you safe on the road and ensures the tire will last a lot longer.

While you may be able to drive a short distance with the nail still in place, you will need to find a safe space to look at the damage and decide whether you can remove the nail and patch up the damage or if you need a professional to take a look.

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