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On the surface, it seems like it should be pretty obvious when we have a nail in our tire. However, that isn’t always the case. Worse yet, discovering that you have a nail in your tire can be trickier than you might think. While it seems like an easy task, it isn’t always that simple. That said, here are some tips if you suspect you may be having a problem with your tire.

Constantly low tire pressure can signify a nail in your tire

Your low tire pressure light can come on for a variety of reasons. For example, dropping temperatures in the winter months can cause decreasing the pressure inside of the tire. Having a damaged tire pressure sensor can also cause a false alarm. But, you can usually do a quick visual inspection and see that the tire is looking a little flat.

This could be a simple problem that is easily resolved by adding air to your tire. But, if you continuously see pressure issues even after stopping to fill it up with air, you have bigger problems.

Flat Car Tire
Damaged, flat car tire | Niall Carson – PA Images/PA Images, Getty Images

How to find a nail in your tire

Sometimes taking a quick peek at your flat tire will reveal a piece of metal embedded in the tread. In this case, it just takes a few seconds of visual inspection to find the nail in your tire. But, unless your car is up on a jack stand or lift, there is always a section of the tire that you won’t see.

Checking the surfaces of the tire that you can see from different angles and then moving the car to expose the area where the tire is covered by pavement is another obvious way to check for a tire. But, depending on how much wheel well gap you have, how low your car is, and how deep the tread is, this might not always work.

A single Goodyear Wrangler tire with outlined white letters
A Goodyear Wrangler with outlined white letters | Goodyear

Checking your tires for leaks

For a thorough inspection of the tire, take the entire wheel off of the vehicle. This might be a bit of a pain, especially if you have a newer vehicle that doesn’t come with a spare tire kit. But with the wheel off, you can inspect the tire for any potential problems and get a clear view of any trouble spots.

With the wheel off, you can also test to see if there is a specific area where it is losing air. These can include bent wheels, excessive wear, or a failed bead. In addition, you can see if the tire has dry-rotted to the point where it can no longer effectively hold air pressure.

Furthermore, soapy water can be your friend. Pour this solution over your tire and check for air bubbles. That will immediately highlight a leak so you can decide what to do next.

Upgraded Toyota TRD wheels entice those car shopping
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro wheels and tires | Matthew Skwarczek

Always have your tire fixed ASAP

It seems like no matter what, we all end up with a nail in our tire at some point. While you can technically continue to drive on the tire as long as you maintain appropriate air pressure, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, having a nail in your tire doesn’t mean the tire has to be replaced. Most of the time, you can get a quick patch for just a fraction of the price of a replacement tire.

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