I’ve Driven Over a Nail. Now What?

If you’ve driven over a nail, screw, or similarly pointy object, you’re likely familiar with how much it interrupts the momentum of the day. Fortunately, there are good practices for how to avoid tire punctures, and fix them when they occur. With a few quick tips, you might be able to salvage this situation if it ever happens to you.

Can you keep driving if you’ve driven over something that punctured your tire? Can you fix it yourself? How big of a deal is it? Read on to find out.

Can I Keep Driving After Driving Over a Nail?

Yes, you can keep driving in most cases after puncturing your tire, but we don’t advise doing it longer than necessary. When punctured, your tire won’t pop like a balloon would—instead, it will lose air and pressure. Prolonged driving will lower your control, creating a risk. If you choose to drive a vehicle with no air in any of its tires, that will damage several parts of the vehicle, possibly reducing the vehicle’s lifespan.

Assuming you don’t drive over an object that shreds the wheel entirely, we recommend that as soon as you notice the damage, you drive to the nearest Minnesota auto repair shop and replace it. This is never cheap, but it’s more affordable than replacing your vehicle.

If your tire is critically damaged while driving, your only remaining option is to call a towing company.

But I Can Fix My Tire, Right?

Though going to an auto-repair shop is still your best bet, like one of Kennedy Transmission’s Minneapolis-St. Paul area auto shops, you can attempt to fix your tire yourself. Here are your options:

Tire Plug Kit

You can buy a tire plug kit at a gas station. Keep one of these on-hand in case of an emergency.

Once you’ve located the hole in your tire, you need to remove the obstruction with the most appropriate tool: a screwdriver for nails and pliers or a claw hammer for nails. Doing this will make the tire lose air if it hasn’t already, which is okay. The kit comes with a reaming tool—an item with a file on the end of it—that you’ll have to apply to the hole. This is to rough out the hole and make it accessible for the plug.

Next, your kit will have a tool like a needle. Slip the plug onto that needle and insert it into the tire hole. Push into the tire until only a little bit of the plug remains visible. Once the plug is in, remove the needle tool and trim the end of the plug down as close to the tire as you can manage.

Fill the tire back up with air and you’re done! You’ve driven over a nail and repaired it yourself.

Roadside Assistance

Car insurance companies often include the option of roadside assistance, and if not, you can still summon help at a premium. If you don’t want to patch or replace the tire yourself, this is your next best option.

Call whichever insurance company you use to request their preferred roadside service vendor. Depending on the time of day, weather conditions, and your location, they may take over an hour. If you’re confident you can make the fix more quickly yourself, consider that option first.

Let the Professionals Handle It

Kennedy Transmission has been one of Minnesota’s leading car service providers for over fifty years, and it’s been our honor to help people with their automotive trouble whether they call the beautiful North their home or are just passing through.

With service locations throughout Minneapolis, Apple Valley, Shakopee, and beyond, if you find yourself saying “there’s a nail in my tire,” one of our professional staff would love to help you get back on the road. You have places to be, and you deserve to make it there safely. Find a Kennedy Transmission location near you today!

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