Can you drive with a nail in your tire?

On the Road 2 min read

We learned more about the topic from Margarette Stine, automotive expert for 4 Wheel Online, an online retailer of tires, towing accessories, and various other automotive equipment. Yes, you can drive with a nail in your tire as long as the tire isn’t flat. Stine advises that it’s fine to continue driving on a tire with a nail stuck in it. However, she does point out that driving with a nail in the tire is fine in the short term, but you’ll need to address the problem ideally sooner rather than later.

Sometimes, you drive over a sharp object like a nail which can instantly cause a flat tire. But other times, the nail can wedge its way in just right so air doesn’t escape even as you continue driving with a nail in your tire.

How long can you drive with a nail in your tire?

Whether or not you can continue driving with a nail in your tire depends on the severity of the puncture and how much air is leaking out. If the leakage is slow, you may be able to continue driving for several hundred miles before you think about changing the tire. However, if the puncture is severe, you’ll likely need to replace your tire immediately before driving on it further. Learn more about how car insurance covers tire damage.

Even if the tire isn’t losing air, Stine says that continuing to drive can cause damage to the sidewall. It could eventually cause the puncture to become more serious. Stine doesn’t recommend driving on a flat tire for more than a couple of miles, and she also suggests changing the nail-punctured tire well before it even gets to that point. Learn how to fix a flat tire and how car insurance covers tire damage.

Can you patch the tire rather than replace it?

If the damage from driving with a nail in your tire is minimal, you may be able to patch or plug your tire rather than replace it. You may be able to do it yourself, depending on how car-savvy you are. However, if you don’t have much experience working with cars, Stine recommends taking it to a professional who can assess the damage and patch the tire. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may cause further damage.

The best indicator of whether you can patch your tire with a nail is the puncture’s size and location. If the hole is small and located in the tread, it should be easy to patch. If the hole is large or located in the sidewall, an automotive shop may be able to plug the tire if there isn’t too much air escaping. Once the repair is complete, you can continue driving on the tire. However, remember that this isn’t a long-term solution; you will eventually need to replace the tire.

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