Can You Drive with a Nail in Your Tire?

Can you drive with a nail in your tire? Sincerely, it depends on the nail size because a nail in a tire sometimes serves as plugging. If the nail is massive, driving will cause more damage and is even worse if the tire sidewall picked the nail.

Recently, my scrap metal guy came to work in a commercial-grade truck carrying a dump trunk-styled bed. While departing, I spotted a nail in the front tire.

Since he is a curious sort of person, he walked up to the tire and listened for a buzz. “No buzz,” he said and jumped into the truck for a hammer. After removing the nail, the air buzzed through hastily. Upon noticing the leakage, he hammers the nail inside the truck tire again.

Unfortunately, the weight of the vehicle, coupled with the fact that he attempted to remove the nail, resulted in fast air loss. Now, in your case, can you drive while a nail sits in your car vehicle tire?

What is plugging?

Plugging, in this context, means the nail sits tightly in the tire to prevent air loss.

What happens if you drive with a nail in your tire?

What happens when you drive with a nail in your tire would depend on the size of the nail, vehicle weight, and driving speed. While the nail might be plugging your tire, it could shift or escape the tire, causing a blowout, which endangers you and other road users.

Can You Drive with a Nail in Your Tire?

NO, and YES, you can drive with a nail in your car tire. However, nail size, driving speed, and vehicle weight factor in it, and you must not drive for too long.

Meanwhile, if the low pressure warning light is active on your dashboard and you have a nail in your tire, do not attempt to remove it. Allow the nail to remain in the tire; it serves as a plugging alternative, except you have the skill and tools to plug or repair the tire immediately.

You may drive to a tire shop if your tire is losing air and buzzing/hissing without removing the nail. Your tire will not run flat instantly with the nail in it, but you must not cover a too long distance. Otherwise, the nail will escape the tire after wearing the hole.

As a mechanic, I can tell that most tire repair professionals dislike Fix-a-Flat. Meanwhile, how long can you drive with a flat car tire? If your car is sitting on the road, find a professional to plug your tire or fix the bust

If your tire is so flat that you can pull the nail in it, you can pump Fix-a-Flat. Inform the tire repair professional about the Fix-a-Flat before the work on the tire. Unfortunately, Fix-a-Flat messes the tire and may explode or inflame until it is cleaned.

Note that a plugged or Fix-a-Flat tire is not a fixed tire; the repair is temporary. With a TPS (Tire Pressure Sensor) system on your newer vehicle, Fix-a-Flat must be removed ASAP. Fix-a-Flat does not ruin the tire sensor, but you can visit the nearest tire store as soon as possible.

Should you drive while your car tire is nail flat?

It is a bad idea to drive with a nail in your car tire. Two reasons you should not drive with a nail in your tire are:

  • Safety
  • Economics

Regarding safety, a nail in the tire might escape at any time, thereby endangering other road users. As for economics, it is less expensive to plug, Fix-a-Flat, or patch a punctured tire temporarily while locating the nearest tire shop.

Like I mentioned earlier, depending on your vehicle’s weight, speed, and nail size, it may not be a good idea to keep driving with a nailed tire. The tire damage increases eventually, and it is not worth it since about $10 can plug the tire temporarily.

Tire plugging at a tire shop takes a few minutes and is typically free at the shop you purchased the tire. The tire fix store may plug your tire without removing it from the rim, though.

Unfortunately, if the nail penetrates through the tire sidewall, it may require a replacement tire. You may check your tire “road hazard” warranty for your fate with a nail in the sidewall. Lastly, verify your eligibility for a low-cost or free replacement tire.

Can you drive on the highway with a nail in your tire?

Yes, you can drive on the highway with a nail in your tire, but factor in the nail size, highway speed, and vehicle weight. Make sure not to remove the nail and locate the nearest tire shop for plugging or Fix-a-Flat temporary remedy.

Do I need a new tire if I have a nail in it?

If you have a nail in your tire, you do not need a new tire. However, you must not drive with a nail in your tire for too long to avoid damaging it. A nail in your tire sidewall may require replacement, though, but check your tire “road hazard” warranty first.

What to do when you find a nail in your car tire

What do you do when you find a nail in your car tire? If the tire is not leaking or hardly buzzes, you may drive to the closest tire repair shop for plugging. At the repair, it is OK to remove the nail since the professional can fix it. If the distance to the nearest tire shop is far, replace the tire with the spare to keep it from damaging after a long drive.

What if your spare tire is bad? If your spare tire is bad, you may drive the car with a nail, but do not exceed 45 mph. Enable your hazard light and avoid potholes too.

You can always patch the tire using your patch kit. However, it requires strength but will get you to a tire shop safely.

How long can you drive with a nail in tire?

You can drive with a nail in the tire for weeks or thousands of miles, but only if you intend to get rid of the tire. Driving on a nail in tire for an extended period damages the tire, though. So, as long as the tire does not run flat or the nail size is small, you can keep driving at your peril. Note that a nail in a tire threatens public safety.

If you drive on a regular tire, you can’t go too long with a nail in it. However, you can drive for a long time on a run flat because it features a rigid interior for tire support.

Despite running on a run flat tire, it is not advisable to drive for an extended distance because it overheats the tire from the flexing. The tire may also become irreparable.

A run flat tire mitigates accidents and the tire from running flat instantly. It allows you to drive with a nail in your tire some reasonable distance, if necessary, to get a fix.

Final Thoughts

Like I mentioned earlier, a nail in a tire may fly out when you hit a bump, pothole, or go at high speed. Though the chance is slim, it may drop in the roadway; thus, another motor vehicle picks it up.

And although you can drive with a nail in your tire as long as you want, it may dislodge, causing a rapid air leak.

A nail can destroy your tire; make sure not to ignore it. Ultimately, you may plug the nail to keep it from critical damage when driving.

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