Is It Dangerous to Drive With a Nail in Your Tire?

It’s bound to happen. Whether you frequently drive by construction sites or just aren’t that lucky, chances are your car’s tire is going to wind up with a nail stuck in at some point. But is it dangerous to drive with a nail in your tire? And how much will it cost you to get that pesky nail unstuck? Let’s find out.

A close-up photo of a Michelin tire.
A tire. | Odd ANDERSEN / AFP via Getty Images

How to tell if there’s a nail in your tire

You think that you might have a nail in your tire, but how can you actually tell? Maybe you keep hearing a clicking sound when you drive. Or, maybe there’s a shiny something or other sticking out the side of it. Perhaps you keep hearing a hissing sound every time that you kneel to check your tire. 

These are all signs that there could very well be a shiny metal object taking up residence in your tire. And while such a problem may not seem like such a big deal, it definitely warrants your attention. And quick. Why? Because that tiny, seemingly harmless piece of metal could leave you stranded on the side of the road, changing a flat

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Can you drive a car with a nail in the tire?

Odds are, if there’s a nail in your car’s tire, you’re not going to find it while conveniently parked in front of your local mechanic. That means, should your tire fall victim to a wayward piece of metal, you’re going to have to get it to the shop before it causes even more damage. But can you drive your car with a nail in the tire? It does seem like a bad idea.

Really, it all comes down to distance. Autoblog reports that the longer you drive with a nail in your tire, the more damage it can do. “As soon as you notice a nail in your tire, contact a tire store to have your tire inspected. Driving with a hole in your tire is potentially dangerous and could cause a blowout. Furthermore, driving too long with the nail can ruin the tire, so you will have to replace the entire tire, instead of having a small piece plugged,” Autoblog explains.

A mechanic working on a car tire.
A mechanic working on a car tire. | Emmanuele Ciancaglini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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The easy way to get a nail out of your tire

Fortunately, getting a nail out of your tire isn’t all that difficult. First things first, if you see one in your tire? Leave it alone. According to Autoblog, if it’s deep enough, it can actually plug the hole and stop air from leaking out from the tire. So, if you see a nail in your tire? Be prepared to leave it to the professionals.

Now, according to Repair Pal, once your car has arrived at the shop, you can expect a few things to happen. Repair Pal reports that fixing a tire with a nail in it may involve removing the tire from the wheel and installing a plug and a patch. While the plug fills the hole made by the nail, the patch seals air inside the tire. 

That being said, not all tires are salvageable after having a nail in them. Your Mechanic reports that if the nail entered the shoulder and the tire’s sidewall, you’ll likely need a replacement tire. If the puncture is in the tread, but the hole is larger than a quarter-inch, Your Mechanic reports that it probably be safely repaired either.

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How much does it cost to repair a tire with a nail in it?

Fortunately, this kind of repair isn’t all that expensive. Unless you need to have your tire completely replaced, Cash Cars Buyer reports that chances are you’ll be spending less than $50 to repair a tire with a nail in it. Not bad, right? Though, it’d probably be better just to avoid getting a nail stuck in your tire altogether.