Tires are among the most important parts of a car because without them your vehicle will rarely move. They cover the wheels of your car. Just like the engine, they are built to withstand the toughest of conditions and hence need to be tough as well. Tires usually have treads that enable them to have a perfect grip of the roads.
It is not unusual for your tires to encounter sharp objects like nails, small rocks or screws while out there. And like you know these sharp objects may lead to a tire bursting in the worst case scenarios. So, is it safe to drive with a nail in your tire? This question may have two answers; yes and no. This article seeks to explain the same.
Is it safe to drive with a nail in your tire?
As much as this question seems tricky, it is not. Yes it is safe to drive with a nail in your tire. At the same time it is not safe to do the same. Confused? No you should not be. I know you may be assuming that because it is a sharp object it will definitely cause harm to your tires. This is true in some ways but there are factors that determine this.
It is safe to drive with a nail in your tire only if there is still air in it. And this means you can only drive for a short distance with the nail still intact before you make a point of repairing your tire.
When the nail strikes your tire, there will be leakage of air depending on the damage extent. Due to the fact that the nail is still lodged to the tire, air will leak out at a slower rate. This means that you will get enough time to access the nearest gas station before the tire goes flat.
Nevertheless, it is not safe to drive around with a nail on your tire because it will lose air eventually and go flat thereafter. Flat tires may likely cause an accident. And if you go on driving on a flat tire, it may destroy the rims and further make the tire to blow out. A manual tire pressure gauge will help you monitor the amount of air your tire is losing while the nail is still there.
How can you tell if there is a nail on your tire?
You may be speculating that there is a nail on your tire but cannot really tell if this is the case. How then can you be sure? The first thing that may make you notice is the unusual sounds coming from the tires because as the nail hits the surface of the road, there is a sound it makes. So if you are keen, you will hear the sound.
Another thing is the flat tire. This may occur due to leakage of air through the hole made by the nail. If you keep on driving with a flat tire, you will notice that the vehicle will slow down or the steering wheel will be difficult to control somehow.
These signs should alert you that something is wrong somewhere. It is at this point that you drive to the nearest gas station or simply park your vehicle alongside the road and inspect it carefully.
What to do when there is a nail on your tire
At times you will barely notice a nail on your tire thus it is hard to tell if your tire is at risk. Unless your tire goes flat or you go for routine maintenance of your car that is when you will notice a nail lodged on to the tire.
Once you see the nail, do not touch it as you may tamper with it by pushing it deeper into the tire and you do not want to imagine the harm that this will cause.
If you are close to a gas station, then you can keep driving with the nail still on the tire and change the tire when you get there. In the case that you are far away from a station, then you can seek roadside assistant services and they will come to where you are. You can also change the tire on your own if you have the right tools in your trunk.
Now at this point most people ask if you need to repair the tire or just replace it. This entirely depends on the extent of the damage the nail has caused on the tire. It is best to seek the services of a mechanic who will in turn give you the best advice on whether to replace or repair your tire depending on the size and location of the hole.
Normally, repairing a tire is much cheaper than replacing it. If the nail is on the sidewall or on the outer region of the tire, then this calls for replacement. But if the hole is not adverse, let’s say on the tread area, you can just plug or patch the tire. However, this is not a lasting solution because they may fail while on the road. Eventually, you will need to replace your tires to be on the safe side.
Additionally, if the size of the hole made by the nail is a quarter of an inch, then it needs repair but if it is more than this, you ought to replace the tire. When you notice that the tire has multiple nail holes that are very close together, settle for replacement. For a repair, there will be one or more punctures which are 16 inches apart.
Plugging a flat tire
In the event that you do not want to replace your tire, you can easily plug it by following the steps below.
- a) Remove the tire from the car and examine it in order to spot the nail on the tread. If you fail to spot the nail, you can use a bubble solution and apply it on the tire to identify where the air is leaking from.
- b) Use the available tools to get rid of the nail on the tire. In most cases, there will be a hissing sound indicating that the air is escaping, which is not a cause for alarm.
- c) After removing the nail, you need to rough out the hole using tools found in the plug kit.
- d) At this point, you are free to insert the tire plug physically into the hole. Make sure to trim any plug ends that are sticking out. Notably, do not make multiple plugs on a single tire instead just replace the tire with a new one.
Cost of repairing a flat tire
It does not cost a lot to repair a car tire as compared to replacing it, like mentioned above. Most garages and gas stations will charge somewhere between $25 and $30. If you seek for mobile repair services or roadside rescuers, you will part with a lot more because they are more convenient as they come to where you are. The price may be within the range of $40-$50.
Precautions to observe
It is always good to prepare yourself for any crisis because you never know when you will encounter one. In this case, always ensure you have a pressure gauge with you everywhere you go. This will help you keep track of the amount of pressure on your tire.
You may also need an air compressor which will help to fill your tires with pressure till you get to a gas station where you can repair or replace the tire. Knowing how to change a tire is an added advantage in such a situation where a nail is stuck on the tire of your car.
You can always do it on your own therefore saving on time and money. Moreover, you should always inspect your car tires any time before driving your car to look for anything unusual.
Also, it is important to avoid areas that are prone to nails such as construction sites. Do not drive along such places as your tires will easily pick up nails without your knowledge.
you might be interested to read also: How to change a tire without a jack
Car tires encounter different kinds of obstacles on a daily including nails. The question of whether it is safe or not to drive with a nail in your tire is somewhat relative. Depending on factors such as hole size, extent of damage or location, you can or cannot drive your car with a nail on the tire. But the best thing is to ensure that you do not drive over a long distance as this will lead to damages that will cost you lots of money to repair.