How to Fix a Nail in Your Tire

Every car owner is likely to encounter a flat tire at some point, even if you take excellent care of your vehicle. The most careful drivers in Youngstown, Ohio, can’t always account for road debris and may experience a flat tire from rolling over a nail. Such a minor accident may be hard to notice until your tire has visibly deflated.

However, if you frequently check your tire pressure and examine your vehicle for nails or screws in your tire, you can stop a flat tire in its tracks. You can also prevent long-lasting damage to your suspension and steering systems, allowing you to drive more safely around town. Our team at Sweeney Cars has put together these steps to help you prevent tire damage after rolling over a nail and make your own repairs.

Check Your Tire Pressure

how to fix a nail in tire youngstown ohio

Image via Flickr by Ivan Radic

You can check the tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge. These can be helpful tools to stay on top of your car maintenance, so consider having a tire gauge in your vehicle in case of emergency. Regularly checking the pressure can help you protect your tires. If you notice your tire pressure is low after finding an embedded nail, it may have penetrated the tire’s airtight lining, allowing air to escape. If your tire still has optimal air pressure afterward, the nail could have formed a seal instead.

Measure the Hole’s Size

You can measure the size of the hole in your tire to determine if you should have your tire repaired or replaced. Find the hole in your tire by rotating your tires until you see a nail or a dark spot where you can feel air escaping. If you need to remove the nail, you can use a pair of sturdy pliers. Then, hold a measuring tape flat against the surface of the hole. If it’s over one-fourth of an inch, it may be too big to patch, meaning you likely need to replace your tire.

If the nail is preventing air from escaping, you may not want to remove it. As a result, you won’t be able to get an accurate measurement. Here, consider waiting until you reach Sweeney’s auto repair and service center to judge the severity of the damage to your vehicle’s wheels.

Put On Your Spare Tire

If your tire is losing air, you can remove the original tire and install your spare instead to prevent the nail from doing any more harm. Continuing to drive on the nail can drive it further into your tire or cause more damage, which may not be optimal if the nail hasn’t pierced the tire’s airtight lining yet. 

If you have a spare tire, swap out the damaged tire using specialized tire-changing tools. Spare tires can allow you to drive your vehicle to Sweeney auto service and repair center safely, where you can have your tire patched or replaced.

Use a Tire Plug Kit

If you have access to a tire plug kit, you can cover the hole temporarily until you can reach an auto mechanic or find a spare tire. To use this kit, you need to first determine whether it’s an option. If the nail is on the side or shoulder of your tire, or if the hole is wider than one-fourth of an inch, you won’t be able to use the plug and would benefit from finding an alternative option. 

After determining the plug kit is the best option, find the long, cylindrical piece of rubber and pull it through the insertion needle. Remove the nail from the tire and quickly insert the rasp tool to serrate the hole’s edges. The rasp tool creates a jagged edge around the hole so the rubber can grab into the edges easily.

Then, remove the rasp tool and push the tire needle with the threaded rubber plug into the hole until the ends of the plug fold up and press together. The plastic of the plug creates a seal inside the hole. You may have to apply a lot of pressure to insert the plug properly, as it should remain there when you pull the needle out. Trim the ends of the plug so it doesn’t stick out above the tread of your wheel. You may also need to re-inflate your tire before driving it again.

Plugging a tire from the outside can widen the hole in your tire, requiring you to replace it when you reach the tire center. If possible, have a professional mechanic seal or replace your tire before you drive it on the road again.

Call a Tow Truck

If you don’t have a spare tire or tire repair kit, you can call a tow truck to take your vehicle to Sweeney’s Auto Service and Repair center. The tow truck can load your car onto its bed so it doesn’t have to drive on the punctured tire. It isn’t safe to drive long distances even with a spare tire, so consider calling a tow truck for your vehicle if you’re far away from the auto repair shop.

Take It to a Professional

Driving on a spare or a temporarily plugged tire can be dangerous, so take your vehicle to Sweeney’s tire center as quickly as possible. Once you arrive, a professional will examine your tire, measure the size of the hole, and determine we can repair the tire or if you need to replace it. Our experts at the tire center work with all makes and models in state-of-the-art facilities. Here are some additional services we offer:

Tire Rotation

Tires may wear and tear at different rates depending on where they are on the car and your car’s weight distribution. We can rotate your tires to ensure the tread doesn’t wear down unevenly.

Tire Tread Tests

Your tire’s tread creates friction when you drive, giving you control over your vehicle. Testing the tread of your tires can be essential to your safety when driving.

Anyone can find an unexpected nail in their tire. When you bring your vehicle to Sweeney Cars’ tire center in Youngstown, Ohio, we’re happy to repair any damages or make a quick replacement so you can get back on the road.  Contact us online to make an appointment today. You can also call us instead at 844-417-7333 for Sweeney Chevrolet tire services or 877-360-5230 for Sweeney Buick GMC tire services.