Getting a nail in a tire is perhaps one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a car owner. It often happens when you are away from home doing regular errands and it is not the owner’s fault. You could be the safest and most experienced driver in the world, and you could still fall prey to a nail poking your tire. In fact, a nail in your tire is probably something you can guarantee will happen in your life at some point.
What makes it worse is that it is not always easy to detect when a tire is punctured this way. Since the nail tends to stay in the tire when punctured, the leak tends to be slow and therefore quiet. Unfortunately, car drivers generally only notice when this has happened to their tire if they physically see the nail in the tire or if the air leak has become so severe that the tire pressure is nearly flat. That said, sometimes a nail punctured tire will happen in such a way that the tire will go flat on impact.
Either way, in this guide on what to do when you have a nail in a tire, we’ll look at how to remove a nail from your car’s wheels and what to do if you think the tire needs to be replaced in its entirety.
Related Post: Low Profile Tires
How to remove a nail from your tire, rim with nail, how to fix a tire with a nail
Those who already have a nail in their tire will be delighted to know that it is fairly easy to remove a nail from a flat tire.
First, arm yourself with a kit that is specially designed to repair holes in your tires. This kit can also be sold as a plug and patch kit which are always available from auto shops and auto suppliers. These kits are useful to have in your arsenal even before you’ve suffered a flat tire, as the plug portion of the kit allows users to fill in the hole that’s there when a nail is removed. A set of tire plugs will normally come with a number of items in each package: these will be tire plugs, an insert needle, and a scraper.
When you have your kit, take the nail out with a pair of pliers from your tool kit. The tire may need to be removed to gain better access to the nail. It may not come off easily, so be prepared to pull as hard as you can. However, if you are really struggling, you can try using a screwdriver or similar item that has a sharp or pointed end. If you need to use a screwdriver, you will need to run around the edge of the nail head to slowly loosen it until you can finally use your pliers to pull the nail out.
Then when you’ve finally managed to remove it, follow the instructions in your kit to plug the hole as best you can and then patch it so that the plug remains secure. In general, each kit will have a slight variation of the following steps:
- Put a tire plug into the hole at the end of an insert needle from the kit you have. Then put the plug in the center of the hole so that there is the same amount of rubber or plastic on both sides. Set this tool aside for later.
- For this step, you will need to locate the scraper tool. It will look a bit like the insertion needle. The difference is that it does not have a hole and, instead, the end is serrated. Once you have this, insert it into the puncture hole and begin rotating it back and forth. The jagged edges are important as they create a textured surface when you move it back and forth so that when you finally insert the plug as a patch, the plug has something on it that will give it some friction to adhere to. Remove the scraper tool.
- Now is the time to push the tire plug into the hole using the insert needle from the kit. To do this, place the top of the needle over the puncture hole and push down firmly, with both hands if needed. It takes a lot of pressure to push the plug into the hole, as the ends fold and come together to form a plug large enough for drilling. Stop when the ends come out of the hole about half an inch. This is a safe distance so you don’t end up pushing the plug all the way into the hole.
- At this point, remove the insertion needle. You should be able to do it safely without unplugging the plug at the same time. If it does, just follow the steps above again.
- Finally, cut off the end of the plug, either with a razor, saw, or knife. This will mean that the cap will not stick outside the perimeter of your tire. Cut it …