How Do Nails Get In Tires – Can You Fix It?

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Getting your car out on the road only to get a flat tire can be distressing, right? Among many other reasons, it can be a nail causing the tire to go flat. Although it is not that common, it can still happen. 

It may not be serious initially, but if you continue driving with nails in your tires, it can result in blowouts and flat tires. Read more to learn about how nails get in tires and how to fix the issue.

How Do Nails Get In Tires?

It is rare for nails to get in tires. But when it does, most of the time, it is the rear wheels that get affected. The front tire flips the nail first, and the rear wheel picks it up. Below are some scenarios where nails are more likely to get in the tires. 

#1- Under-inflated or over-inflated tires

If the tires in your vehicle are under-inflated, they will touch the roads more than necessary and can quickly contact sharp objects like nails.

Over-inflated tires are no good, either. They are more prone to getting damaged by sharp pebbles, screws, or nails, leading to blowouts or flat tires.

#2- Nails scattered on roads

Sometimes, tires pick up screws and nails just randomly scattered on roads. If you have been recently visiting or passing by any construction areas or roads under repair, chances are that your tire has picked up a nail or two from there. 

The chances of getting in the tire are more significant with small nails. But the smaller ones possess less threat as they hardly cause any damage to the tire. 

#3- Nails in hardwood boards

Nails can get in the tire if you go over a hardwood board containing them. The board acts as the perfect base to hold the nails upright. 

This position allows the nails to enter easily when a tire rolls over the board. Also, when a vehicle passes over the hardboard, it breaks, allowing the nail to pierce through the tire. 

#4- Nails in puddles

If you drive your car through a puddle, any nails hiding beneath the water surface can get in your tires. You may be careful not to go over nails in the open, but it’s harder to notice while driving through puddles. 

What To Do If Nails Get In Tires?

If you get nails in tires, you would most likely need to replace the tire. Another way is to patch the tire, but it is conditional.

Let’s check out the steps you can take upon getting nails in your tires below. 

Step 1: Check the tire pressure

If you suspect a nail in your tire, the first thing to do is check the tire pressure. If the nail has already pierced through the thick exterior of the tire, it will start to deflate, and you may even hear the air leaking out

You need to check the air pressure to determine the tire’s condition. You can pump a little and set for the nearby shop if it is not too low. Swap it with the spare tire before going to the shop if it has already deflated significantly. 

Step 2: Get the tire repaired

After taking your vehicle to the repair shop, a technician will examine and suggest the needed steps. A simple plug and patch procedure may solve the issue if the nail enters through the middle part of the tire.

However, this may not be the right solution for a nail in the sidewall or shoulder of the tire. In such cases, you should proceed to the next step.

To get an insight into how the tire plug-and-patch repair is done, check this out –

Step 3: Replace the tire if needed

The technician will tell you if replacement is mandatory. If the hole is near the shoulder or sidewall or too big to manage with a plug and patch procedure, you must get it replaced.

Also, if the technician performed a plug and patch on your tire, check well before leaving to ensure that the patched tire can handle the pressure from the vehicle. Please ensure you get the tires checked and repaired/replaced by a qualified technician.

Can Nails Cause Flat Tires?

Yes, nails can and most certainly will cause flat tires. But for that to happen, the nail has to penetrate the tire well.

When a nail enters and stays inside a tire, air should start coming out steadily, leading to a deflated tire. This is your cue to get to a nearby repair shop ASAP.

If the nail comes out, you can experience an instant blowout or flat tire. Although the tires are unlikely to explode, it can happen if you continue running the vehicle with plugged nails.

It is unsafe to continue driving with a flat tire. However, if you must do it due to the unavailability of a spare tire, do it only to reach the nearest repair shop. Otherwise, you may end up damaging the rims leading to more expensive repairs.

How Can You Tell If Someone Put A Nail In Your Tire?

You must be extra careful if there’s even the slightest possibility of someone sabotaging your tires. There are no clear signs to say for sure that someone is putting nails to undermine you. Also, there can be many other reasons that can cause this to happen.

In case you are doubtful, the following tips can help you take necessary measures to prevent getting nails in tires –

  • Always check around the vehicle for potential threats before getting in the driveway.
  • Check underneath the vehicle and around the wheels for nails. Use something to sweep the area, or simply use your legs. 
  • Examine the wheels to rule out the possibility of nails being driven inside already. 
  • Carefully drive around any construction sites. 
  • Be extra careful while driving through roads with puddles and debris. 
  • If possible, avoid going on the streets during or right after heavy rainfall or storms. 
  • Check the tire pressure regularly and maintain an optimal level. 

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Nails In Tires?

There are two solutions to get rid of the nails in tires and to get the tires fixed: plug and patch or tire replacement.

Plugging and patching are usually not expensive. Many repair shops and technicians solely focus on repairing tire punctures. It can cost you between $10 to $25.

If plug and patch is not the proper fix for your tire, replacement is the only option. Replacing a tire can be pretty expensive. You will have to pay for the new tire as well as the labor.

This is precisely why many vehicle owners prefer the plug-and-patch procedure. However, you should never take risks with the tires.

Driving with a plugged tire can be dangerous. Also, if the technician suggests tire replacement, you should think twice before ignoring the suggestion.

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