It can be challenging to have a nail embedded in your tire. Somehow this is inevitable even if you have been trying to avoid road hazards while driving. So, what to do when you have a nail in the tire that is not flat?
When there’s a nail in your tire, yet it is not flat, leave it as it is. Technically speaking, your tire is still working fine, even if the nail punctured it. Since the nail is already flushed in your tire, there is no way for it to go deeper. Your tire should have gone flat if it could still go deeper.
Little air escapes if the tire is filled with air, so you can still drive your car safely for quite a short distance. Many drivers have driven their vehicles not knowing that their tires have nails in them. It’s different if the nail is bigger. The chances of getting flat tires are greater.
Read on to learn more about the problem of having a nail in your tire and what you can do if confronted with this issue.
Nail in Tire, But It Is Not Flat
The problem of a nail in tires is not uncommon. Many drivers experience this problem from time to time. If you have a nail in your tire, leave it as it is if the tire has not yet gone flat. It means that the nail has not fully damaged the tire yet.
The nail is already flushed on the tire, meaning it didn’t go deeper, and the chances of it going further are minimal. If the nail has gone deeper, your tire could not remain inflated enough as it is now. It will lose air very shortly.
Even if a nail in your tire still appears fully inflated, you can still safely drive your car for quite a distance. Many drivers were driving their vehicles for miles without knowing that there were nails in them.
However, if the nail is big, it may fully puncture your tire, and it will go flat very quickly. If you are facing this situation, you must go to a tire service shop and ask them to fix your tire as soon as possible.
Even if the nail is small, you must remove it as soon as possible since it may cause further damage to your tire. You cannot go for long-distance drives with just one nail in your tire. That is unsafe.
It is also possible to repair the tire. However, it depends on where the nail has embedded itself. You can still fix the tire if the nail goes into an area covered by steel belts.
However, if it penetrates a spot near the tire sidewall or the outer edge of the tire tread, you need to replace the tire entirely.
What to Do If You Get a Nail in Your Tire?
Thankfully, most of the tires sold today in the market are tubeless. This means they don’t use tire balloon tubes that need to be filled with air before they are placed inside the tires. Tubeless tires seldom go flat. They prevent quick loss of air pressure.
What to Do If a Nail Goes Into a Tubeless Tire?
If you discover that your tire has a nail but has not gone flat yet, it is probably a tubeless tire. But you must still attend to it to prevent the air from escaping. If you see a nail embedded in your tier, you can do the following:
- Remove the nail: If you have to make a small puncture around the nail to remove it. Then seal that spot with a rubber sealer, or
- Leave the nail as it is: Technically, the nail has not punctured through the tire yet, so you still have some time to drive your car to safety. The nail is already flushed in the rubber and will no longer go deeper. But still, you have to remove it as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to the tire.
You need to know how far the nail has penetrated your tire. Note that you will lose air pressure if it has gone entirely inside the tire. Though the hole the nail creates is small, you will still lose some air because of the opening.
How to Tell How Much Air Your Tire Lost?
There is a way you can determine how much air was lost since the nail punctured the tire:
- Monitor the tire for about 3 to 4 days.
- Record the air pressure when you start and measure it again after 3 or 4 days. The difference in air pressure between readings will also tell you how fast the air is escaping from the tire.
What to Do If the Nail Did Not Completely Puncture the Tire?
If the nail has not yet penetrated the deeper layers of the tire tread, it is best to remove the nails at once. You may have to create a small puncture on the tire to remove the nail. After removing the nail, you can see if it needs further repair.
Even if the rate of air pressure loss is minimal, you still need to fix the hole because a hole-in-tire condition is dangerous at highway speeds. An embedded nail in the tire that is running at tremendous speeds will cause it to be pushed deeper inside. It will eventually damage the tire.
What to Do If the Tire Is Quickly Losing Air Pressure?
It will be a different scenario if the nail causes the tire to lose air pressure quickly. This is a dangerous driving situation where you can get into a car accident. You will know if it’s a loss in tire air pressure if you hear a sharp hissing sound. Acting quickly is a must:
- Turn on your hazard lights, slow down your vehicle, and then park in the nearest safe spot on the road. Turn off the engine and inspect your tires. A tire that has lost air pressure is very visibly deflated.
- Inspect the tire closely. If it is already flat, replace it with your spare tire. Drive to the nearest tire repair shop and ask them to fix the tire so you can remount it on your vehicle.
- If you don’t have a spare tire and there’s still some air left inside the tire, coast along slowly until you get to a car repair shop.
- If the tire is flat, you must call or wait for a tow truck to get you off the road and take your car to the nearest tire repair shop.
Again, is driving with a nail in the tire okay if it’s not flat? You can continue driving if your tire isn’t flat and the nail is small. If the opposite is true, then drive to a tire shop quickly.
How Do You Deal with a Nail in Tire?
Most often, it is easy to spot a nail on a tire. You will see the nail or screw sticking out of the tire tread or side wall. If the nail is not visible outside, it could have punctured the tire deeper. What remains on the outside is only the head of the nail or screw.
However, there are cases wherein the nail is so tiny that you can’t see any trace of it on the outside. What you can do in this is what they usually do in tire repair shops:
- Use ordinary dishwashing soap or liquid window cleaner to create bubbles on the tire surface.
- Spray this soap or cleaner on the tire. The spot where the small nail hole is located will be exposed to the bubbles created by the small amount of air leaking from that tiny nail or screw hole.
- Spinning the tire through some spinning contraptions would be best, then spraying the liquid soap or cleaner while spinning. The hole will cause the soap or cleaner to bubble as it escapes inside the tire. That’s where the leaking comes from and the small nail’s location.
- If the nail causes the hole, which is tough to remove, get a pair of pliers, a vice grip, or a claw hammer to pry the nail out. But if the culprit is a small screw, get an ordinary flat or Phillips screwdriver to unscrew it.
Is It Safe to Drive a Car With a Nail on the Tire?
It depends on the size of the puncture on the tire or the number of nails on each tire. Indeed, if several nails have penetrated not just one tire but two or three tires, your vehicle is unsafe to drive your car.
However, if only one small nail is embedded in the tire tread, you can still drive your car for a short distance. But you must remove the nail and fix the hole immediately. If you don’t, the tire will leak some more, and the hole in the tire can get bigger and cause more damage.
Before driving your car farther, check your tire and determine how much air leaks inside. This will show you how serious or how much air leaked the last time you inflated it and how much pressure it had.
If the air pressure loss is big, it is best not to drive your car farther. Call a tow truck to get your vehicle to the nearest tire shop to fix the hole. Or if you have spare time, you can drive your car to the closest tire shop.
How Long Can You Drive With a Nail on the Tire?
It depends on the speed at which the air leaks. If the rate is slow, you can still drive it enough to get to the nearest tire repair shop.
However, if air leaks fast, using a spare tire is better. If you don’t have a spare tire, you must wait for a tow truck to bring your car to the tire shop. It is much safer this way.
When there’s a nail in your tire, yet it is not flat, leave it as it is. Technically speaking, even if your tire is still working fine, it was not punctured by the nail.
Since the nail is already flushed in your tire, there is no way for it to go deeper. If it could still go deeper, it should have gone flat already.
If your tire is still working well, that means there is very little air that escaped, even with a nail in it. You can still drive your car safely for quite a distance.
Many drivers have driven their cars without even knowing that there are nails in them. However, if the nail is bigger, you must take care of it ASAP.