Finding a nail in your tire is an easy way to ruin any trip. Typically, we don’t find ourselves parked in front of a mechanic when the nail is discovered, making driving on the damaged tire inescapable.
However, that doesn’t mean that driving with a nail in your tire is necessarily safe. Below, we’ll take a look at how long most tires can last with an embedded nail, as well as the potential safety repercussions!
Can You Drive with a Nail in Your Tire?
It is possible to drive with a nail in your tire, however, it is recommended to get it fixed as soon as possible. Additionally, driving on a tire with a nail in it increases your chance of a blowout and is considered unsafe. In some cases, a tire with a nail in it might not go flat instantly, but the tire will likely have a slow leak
With that said, you can’t drive with a nail in your tire forever. Keep reading to find out how to fix the nail and exactly how long you can expect your tire to last without a repair job!
What Happens If You Drive with a Nail in Your Tire?
Driving with a nail in your tire can be potentially dangerous. Typically, the longer you drive with a nail in your tire, the more damage the nail will do.
Eventually, the nail can cause a blowout. While the nail may seem completely stuck to us, there is a chance of it coming loose while you’re driving down the road. Not only can this cause your tire to suddenly deflate, but the nail may also end up in someone else’s tire.
If you find a nail in your tire, you can potentially drive to the nearest mechanic to have it fixed. However, the longer you drive, the more at risk you are.
Therefore, I don’t recommend trying to drive to the next town over to get your tire fixed.
If at all possible, it is best to drive on a spare or different tire altogether. While it may seem like a pain to change the whole tire, you’ll have to take it off for the mechanic to fix it anyway.
With that said, higher speeds will absolutely cause more damage to your tire. Therefore, if you do have to drive around, take roads that don’t have a terribly high-speed limit.
Is It OK to Leave a Nail In a tire?
Generally, I don’t recommend leaving a nail in your tire for longer than absolutely necessary. Sure, you’ll need to drive to the mechanic, which may involve driving on the tire with a nail
However, you should not leave it in for longer than that. This problem is not one you can leave until next week to fix. Once you notice the nail, it is essential to remove it right away.
Luckily, most mechanics can remove nails pretty easily, and it shouldn’t cost you all that much to remove the nail.
If you put off getting it fixed for too long, you risk a potential blowout. Blowouts are one of the top causes of accidents. To protect yourself and everyone else on the road, you should not leave the nail in the tire for longer than necessary.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Nail in a Tire?
It depends on the location of the nail. If the nail is in your tread, you can often replace it with a simple patch. While you can purchase these yourself and perform a DIY patch job, we highly recommend taking it to a professional instead.
Typically, the average patch job costs you about $10 to $20. Sometimes, the tire dealer you purchased the tire from will perform the repair job for free. Plus, many companies also offer warranties that cover your tires.
If you purchase “tire insurance” with your tires, that should also cover the cost of the patch.
With that said, not all tire punctures are repairable. For instance, those on the sidewall are never patchable.
Unlike the tread of the tire, sidewalls do not have cords. Therefore, there is nothing for the patch to hold onto. It won’t grip and will continue to leak.
In these cases, you’ll need to purchase a whole new tire. Obviously, this will be considerably more expensive than the cost of patching the tread.
What Should I Do If I Have a Nail in My Tire?
When you notice a nail in your tire, your priority should be getting it out and the tire patched right away. Aim to drive on that tire as little as possible.
If you can, drive to the nearest mechanic and get it patched right away. Preferably, this is not a repair job you wait and fix after work.
In many cases, it is best to change the tire out with a spare and then take the tire to a mechanic. Since you aren’t driving on the tire, you lower your chances for a blowout and limit the amount of damage done to the tire.
However, you can’t drive around on a spare tire for very long, either. In general, you can only drive around for about 50 miles under 50 mph.
If you drive around on the tire for too long, you risk damaging your tire further, which may make it impossible to patch.
Typically, driving a few miles down the road isn’t much of a problem. However, you don’t want to go much further than that.
How Long Can I Drive with a Nail in My Tire?
For the most part, there is no set limit on how long you should drive with a nail in your tire. However, the longer you drive, the more at-risk you are for a blowout. Therefore, you should drive as little as possible.
Typically, taking a trip ten miles down the road to a mechanic will prove to be just fine. However, there is no guarantee that any amount of driving is safe. Your tire can blow at any time!
Furthermore, if you have a blowout, you will no longer be able to patch your tire. While patches usually only cost about $10, a brand new tire will cost hundreds.
Therefore, you’re playing with your safety and your wallet.
If at all possible, we don’t recommend driving with a nail in your tire at all. Change it with a spare and take the tire immediately to the nearest tire mechanic.
Does Fix-a-Flat Work with Nail in Tire?
To use Fix-a-Flat correctly, you need to remove the nail from your tire before use. Luckily, this is often much easier than it sounds.
However, there is always the risk that the nail will do more damage coming out than it did going in. If you accidentally pull it out at an angle, you could make the hole bigger.
Therefore, I recommend going to a professional instead of trying to do an at-home repair job. Typically, patches are extremely inexpensive – even when you’re hiring a professional. Sometimes, the place you got the tire will even do it for free.
Many people drive with nails in their tires all the time. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it the safest option.
Often, nails will plug the hole they make. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about declining tire pressure – usually.
With that said, having a nail in your tire does increase your risk for a blowout. Preferably, you should get the nail removed ASAP by a local mechanic.