Repairing tires with nails

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

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

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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.

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Can a Tire with a Nail be Repaired?

If you drove near a construction site or your neighbor just had their roof repaired, you might experience a nail in one of your tires. In many cases, a nail in the tire can be quickly repaired, however, there are certain times it might cost you a whole new tire. This is what you need to know. 

Nails and Tires

When you take your car out on the road, you risk your tires getting hit by a foreign object, like a nail. When your tire becomes punctured by a nail, the tire will begin to lose inflation pressure. Over time, if not repaired, you can experience extensive damage to the tread that can’t be repaired and a new tire will be needed.

Repairing a tire with a nail all depends on the location of where the nail punctured the tire. Most tires today are made up of soft, flexible sidewall and rigid steel belts that line below the tread. RepairPail explains if the nail is in the area covered by the steel belts, it can be repaired in most cases. However, if the nail is located on the outer edge of the tread or near the sidewall, the tire will most likely need to be replaced. 

Can I Drive with a Nail in my Tire?

If you have just noticed the nail indoor tire and don’t notice a big leak in air, it’s most likely fine to drive a short distance to your local repair shop to get it repaired. However, before you drive, it’s important to check the tire pressure. If needed, refill the air to a safe level before you drive. Do not try to remove the nail yourself. 

If you have rapid air loss and the tire won’t hold air at all, then you will need to put your spare tire on before you drive. If you don’t have access to a spare, contact Scott’s Auto for your options. 

How to Drive Safely with a Spare Tire

If you have to apply your spare tire, it’s important that you know how to drive safely. Spare tires aren’t as sturdy as a regular tire, so precautions need to be taken. Napa’s Know How Blog offers these safety tips for driving with a spare on your vehicle:

  • Restrict your speed. Most tire manufacturers recommend not driving faster than 50 miles per hour on a spare. If you have to get on the highway, be sure you stay in the right lane to allow other cars to pass you as needed. Depending on the laws in your states, you might be allowed to drive with the hazard lights on to warn other drivers that you are driving an impaired vehicle. 
  • Limit your distance. Along with not driving as fast as you typically would, you need to limit how far you drive. When you have a spare on your car, you shouldn’t drive more than 70 miles, or the distance stated in your car’s owner’s manual. 
  • Know the affected systems. When you put a donut spare on your car, the wheel-speed sensor might detect the difference and light up your dash with brake and ABS warning lights. This is caused by the spare rotating faster than regular tires, and the sensors will detect a problem. 
  • Handle with care. With the ABS system compromised, you’ll need to be sure to drive extra safely, not driving with cruise control and taking curves with extreme caution. 

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Scott’s Auto is your one-stop-shop for tires and any auto repair needs. Our vast knowledge gives us the upper hand when it comes to outfitting your vehicle with new tires, diagnosing, servicing, and repairing your vehicle with state-of-the-art alignment and diagnostic equipment, and more! With three convenient locations, we’re here for you:

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what tire damage can be repaired :: Autonews

Photo: Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS


See also

Nail, rebar or sharp stone - sometimes you can damage a tire almost from scratch. First of all, the scale of damage is important, and often rubber can still be repaired. Most often, motorists turn to tire shops for repairs in the middle of autumn or spring - just in the season of replacing summer tires with winter tires and vice versa. In order not to stand in lines, it is worth knowing exactly when to go to the tire shop and when to go to the store.

The most common "injury" to rubber is a puncture, and it can most often be repaired. Professionals in the nearest service will do it much faster, and your hands will remain clean. But if the puncture caught you in a deserted place, and there is a pump and a tire repair kit with harnesses in the trunk, you can patch up the tire yourself. Most often, when repairing the front tires, the wheel can not even be removed, it is enough to turn the steering wheel in the right direction and find the puncture site.

First, the hole is cleaned with a helical awl, the repair harness is smeared with glue and tucked into the eye of the awl, after which it is inserted into the tire hole. With a sharp movement, the tool is removed, and the tourniquet remains inside and securely clogs the hole. The tails are cut with a knife, but it is recommended to leave about 20 mm. After that, the tire can be inflated and the pressure checked.

Repair with tourniquets is not considered long-term, because after some time they dry out and begin to let air through. A more advanced puncture repair method is vulcanization. The hole is sealed with an elastic patch, and the funnel at the puncture site is filled with a special compound. A vulcanizer is put on top, which heats the patch and solders the excess.

Under service conditions, the puncture is also repaired with cord fungus. The puncture site is processed and drilled to roughen. Everything is smeared with glue, after which a fungus is introduced from the inside of the tire, its cap is rolled, and the excess legs are cut off from the outside.

Photo: PA Images / TASS

A puncture can also be repaired with sealant. Many car manufacturers with run flat tubeless tires put compressor repair kits in the car instead of a spare tire - a bottle of pressurized sealant. The car is raised on a jack, after which the sealant is pumped into the damaged wheel through the nipple. Next, you need to spin the wheel and pump it up. After repair, the car should be driven a couple of hundred meters to check the tightness of the tire. If it has not recovered, the procedure is repeated.

It happens that a self-tapping screw or a nail closes the hole in the tire, remaining inside. Do not rush to pull it out - until the pressure drops, you can safely get to the service for vulcanization. Sometimes the wheel begins to blow off a few weeks after the self-tapping screw got into it. Therefore, it is better to check tire pressure periodically, and if the pressure sensor lights up, you should at least visually inspect the tire for a nail head.

A bump or bulge most often occurs on the side of a tire after hitting an obstacle or hitting a hole at speed. From the impact, the sidewall carcass threads are damaged, the tire ceases to hold the load and pressure, swelling appears. Any small bump eventually turns into a larger one, and with such a defect, the wheel can burst at any time. This is a direct safety hazard because a sudden flat tire can cause loss of control and a road accident.

Some bulges can be repaired, but no patch will ever restore a tire to factory stiffness. The ideal option in this case is to replace the tire. If a hernia has appeared on the tread, then you can extend the life of the tire with the help of cord patches - ready-to-use patches with an adhesive layer. But if swelling is found on the sidewall, the likelihood of repair is minimal, the wheel is easier to change. Blisters on low profile tires are generally not repairable.

Only car service professionals can repair a side cut. Cord patches will be needed to repair the damage, but after some time the wheel will still have to be changed. This method will work only if the gap is not in the shoulder area of ​​the tire, then no one will repair it.

In general, cuts or punctures, unlike punctures, are considered non-repairable, since the integrity of the frame is violated. And breakdowns do occur on the go, when the tire abruptly loses pressure and has time to make only a few turns “on the rims” before it comes to a complete stop. In this situation, the cord breaks and the layers of the tire are destroyed. Even if it is possible to close the hole, it is not recommended to use such a weakened tire.

Photo: Mikhail Pletsky / Russian Look

Cracks, sidewall abrasions and unprofessional tire fitting can also lead to tire problems. Cracks can occur as a result of improper storage of tires. Their danger is that moisture begins to flow to the cord, and this already renders the frame unusable. Air can also escape through cracks. Cracks cannot be repaired and tires will not last long. A tire with cracks is deformed, blistered, and may even break while driving.

Rubbing against curbs or driving on uneven roadsides can damage the tire sidewall. When driving like this, it is worth inspecting the tires for damage regularly. If a slight wear is found, the wheels can be swapped, which will slightly extend their service life and allow you to delay the purchase of new ones.

Improper fitting can damage the tire bead. In this case, the tire will lose its geometry and sit on a disc with a bevel, “eights” will be visible during rotation, and the driver will feel vibration while driving. It is impossible to repair this defect, the wheel must be changed as soon as possible, otherwise there is a risk of damage to the suspension.

How to Tires

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Nail or screw in the tire: is it possible to drive?

A tire is a round piece of rubber that is the main part of a car's wheel, allowing it to move. The tire also provides traction and shock absorption while driving. Over time, stones get stuck in the tires. How to remove them, we have already told you in one of the previous articles. But stones are not the only enemies of tires. There are also nails, self-tapping screws and many other sharp objects that can easily pierce a car tire. If, having caught a self-tapping screw, a flat tire, it is clear to everyone what to do. But what if the pressure continues to hold in a punctured wheel? Can I keep driving, and if so, for how long?

See also: Is it safe to drive with a screw in a tire?

So, if you happen to know that a nail (or self-tapping screw) is stuck in the wheel of your car, but the tire is still holding pressure or deflating slowly, then in no case try to pull the nail out. Leave it in the cover. Next, check the pressure in the wheel and, if it does not correspond to the one recommended by the automaker, inflate the wheel to the norm.

Otherwise, pulling out the nail that prevents the pressure from escaping from the tire will cause the tire to zero.

Of course, there is another option - to flatten the tire, pull out the nail, take a tire repair kit and repair the puncture yourself, and then re-inflate the wheel. But, unfortunately, not every motorist has such a repair kit, and not everyone will be able to repair the wheel on their own. In fact, in order to install a tourniquet into a puncture, remarkable strength is needed.

How to notice a tire puncture in time?

Unfortunately, a wheel puncture with a nail or a self-tapping screw happens quite often on our roads. Many punctures do not cause the tire to flatten almost instantly. As a result, many drivers notice that the wheel caught the self-tapping screw, not immediately. True, if your car is equipped with tire pressure sensors or a wheel rotation monitoring system (the system tells the driver about a sharp change in wheel rotation parameters, which usually occur when the pressure in the wheel changes sharply), then the security system will inform you of a possible problem in wheel.

If there are tire pressure sensors, you will be able to know which wheel has changed pressure. Unfortunately, very often this system gives false warnings (for example, when there is a sudden change in road grip or a sudden change in temperature outside). As a result, over time, many drivers stop paying attention to the warning of the tire pressure monitoring system. But in vain. After all, the system can warn of a broken wheel.

To prevent this from happening, carefully inspect the wheels for punctures after each ride. If a self-tapping screw is found, contact the tire service as soon as possible.

How long can you drive if the tire holds pressure after being punctured with a screw?

This is another question that is often asked by car enthusiasts on various thematic forums. We want to upset car owners right away. If you have a punctured wheel, in principle, you can not ride. After all, a car is not a toy, but a vehicle of increased danger. And not only for you and your passengers, but also for other road users. Therefore, you should contact the tire service as soon as possible, even if the punctured tire does not flatten. You are not clairvoyant and cannot know at what point the wheel will instantly lose pressure. Can you imagine what will happen if this happens at speed while driving on a motorway?

How fast can you drive with a nail in a tire?

As we have already said, it is IMPOSSIBLE to drive with a flat tire. Is it dangerous. But we understand that not everyone has a spare wheel or tire repair kit in their car. Of course, if the tire is slowly losing pressure, you can continue driving by pumping up the tire first. But you don't have to drive fast. First, it's dangerous. And secondly, the faster you drive, the faster the damaged tire will bleed air.

See also: That's why big wheels hurt modern cars

If it is far from the tire fitting, then every 2-3 km stop and check the pressure in the wheel.

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