How Do You Know if You Have a Nail in Your Tire?

Many drivers will tell you they didn’t know a nail was in their tire until they took the time to inspect their tires. Others say they knew right away because the nail caused a blowout. Sometimes you can hear the clicking sound of the nail every time that part of the wheel hits the road, but most of the time, you’ll see other warning signs when there’s a nail in your tire.

What are the warning signs that you have a nail in your tire?

Puncture From a Nail that Must be Removed
Puncture From a Nail | Shutterstock

Something doesn’t feel quite right, and you’re not sure what the problem is. You could have run over a nail, and one punctured the rubber you depend on to take you where you need to go. United Tire & Service tells us the warning signs of a nail in your tire are:

  • Clicking sound while driving
  • Tire slowly losing air
  • Physically see the nail
  • Tire blowout

The last one is a pretty clear sign, but the others might not be so obvious.

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

This is a typical Flat Tire, it could be caused by a puncture
Typical Flat Tire | Shutterstock

Yes, you can drive with a nail or other debris lodged into your tire for a while. In fact, most of us drive over various objects every day and don’t realize how often these items get lodged into the tread or puncture our tires. Nails can puncture the wall of your tires so quickly that air can’t escape, which means you might never notice it. Of course, once you know it’s there, you should replace or patch that tire to ensure the nail doesn’t do more damage.

Can a nail cause a blowout?

A Tire Blowout can happen from a puncture
Tire Blowout | Shutterstock

There are a few different reasons you might experience a blowout. A blowout isn’t as dramatic as it sounds or appears in some movies.  Most of the time, all that happens is your tire goes flat. Of course, some blowouts are more dramatic and damaging, so you should be careful once you know your tire is going flat.

AutoFix offers six common reasons for tire blowouts:

  • Road damage
  • Too much weight
  • Punctures
  • Low air
  • Uneven tread
  • Old or defective tires

Only one of these six would involve a nail.

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

Once you discover a nail in your tire, you need to remove the item and either plug or replace the tire right away. It’s unsafe for you to drive on the road with a damaged tire. This can cause problems for you and other drivers on the road.

What should I do to prevent nail damage from ruining my tires?

As mentioned, once you know the nail has punctured your tire, you need to plug or replace the tire. Because it can be difficult to detect a nail, it’s important you practice some regular car care and maintenance to provide some prevention against a blowout.

It’s a good rule of thumb to check your tires at least once a month for proper inflation. When you do this, inspect each tire, and look for items that shouldn’t be in the treads or sidewalls. This is most likely when you’ll discover a nail in your tire.

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