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Can I drive with a nail in my tyre?

Can I drive with a nail in my tyre? Header Image

Getting a nail in your tyre is annoying, it can be costly to fix and it can also be very dangerous. The damage caused by a nail in a tyre can vary, and sometimes you may have a nail in your tyre and not even know about it. It’s a pretty common occurrence, it makes you wonder just why our roads seem to be littered with nails as if a vindictive carpenter is hurling them from motorway bridges.

When you first become aware of a nail in your tyre, it may be because you’ve had a slow puncture and you’re trying to get to the source of it. It could be that you’ve had a blowout and there’s no mistaking something bad has happened, or it may simply be that your garage draws your attention to it during a routine service or MOT. Either way, it’s good to know how best to handle the situation.

Can a nail in my tyre be repaired?

Sometimes the damage caused by a nail in a tyre can be repaired. It does depend on the location of the damage and the extent of the damage. If you’ve just recently had new, expensive tyres fitted, it can be tempting to opt for a repair, but unfortunately, this could be a false economy. Once you’ve had a nail in the tyre, the integrity of the tyre has been compromised. It may be a good temporary fix if you’re away from home and prefer to have your new tyre fitted by your own local garage, but as a permanent remedy, it may not be so good, and slow punctures can often occur even after a repair. A good garage will be able to tell you whether or not the damage to your tyre is repairable. Do take their advice, a replacement for a small amount of damage may seem extravagant and over the top, but it may be necessary to keep you safe. If you’re concerned that the garage is trying to simply sell you a new tyre, then you can always get a second opinion.

For safety reasons, there are a number of laws, rules and regulations regarding tyre repairs, for example if the nail has damaged the outer quarter of the tread, or the tyre sidewalls, then a repair is not allowed by law and you must replace it instead. Also, if the tyre has already been repaired, then a second repair is not allowed and again, it’s time for a new tyre. The tyre also should have 3+mm of tread left on it. If you can and do opt for a repair, it’s a fairly simple process which involves filling the hole with rubber and reinflating the tyre.

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How much does it cost to repair a punctured tyre?

If your garage deems the puncture damage safe to repair and within the government’s legal requirements, then you shouldn’t find the bill too breath-takingly huge. Most of the large chains such as Halfords and National Tyres offer repairs at prices around £25. There are also mobile tyre repair services that will come to your home and fix the problem on your doorstep. This may be more convenient but it will also cost you a little more. Average prices for a mobile service are around £45.

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Is it safe to drive with a punctured tyre?

It’s important that you get your tyre looked at and fixed as soon as possible. You may still be able to drive, but only drive if you absolutely have to such as getting off a busy road or heading to a nearby garage. Don’t ignore it and continue with your day thinking you’ll get it sorted later. It may not seem like a big deal now, but out on the road the damage could become much worse and be potentially very dangerous. One important tip is to not pull the nail out. It can tempting to simply remove the offending piece of metal, but this will simply exacerbate the problem as while the nail is in the tyre, it’s keeping at least some of the air in. If you need to get to a garage, then leave that nail right where it is.

Can you drive with a nail in the tyre?

In summary of the above, most tyres are not designed to operate outside their recommended tyre pressure range, and running the tyre by even 10-20% under that level can result in permanent damage to the sidewall - rending the tyre irreparable. That of-course is before we even mention the risk of accidents increasing due to reduced breaking distances or tyres becoming detached from the rim in extreme circumstances. However, if you have a slow puncture and are able to keep sufficient air pressure in the tyre (no more than 10% of your car's recommended tyre pressure) you should, AT YOUR OWN RISK, be able to drive the car a very short distance at a moderate speed to have a professional tyre place near you check the vehicle over. Alternatively, you may not want to risk moving the vehicle, and have a mobile tyre fitter come to you.

If your tyre is a runflat tyre, unfortunately most of the above still applies. These tyres are designed to give you a little more breathing room, often quoted as a maximum speed of 50mph for a maximum of 50 miles, however they are not indestructible. If you operate them outside of this range you will risk sidewall damage and render the tyre irreparable. If you do this you will often see a "white ring of death" appear on the sidewall or on the inside after removal from the rim, which is a classic sign of overheating and sidewall damage. It is vital you have the tyre looked at ASAP.

Where can I get a puncture repaired?

Most garages will be able to assess your tyre and let you know whether or not you need a new tyre or if a repair is possible. It’s quite likely you will need a replacement tyre, and even if a repair is viable, you may prefer to get a new tyre now rather than risk further problems down the line. Finding the best tyre for your vehicle, at the best price, is simple with Tyre Runner. The Tyre Runner service helps you to find the perfect tyre for your vehicle by comparing all major UK retailers including mobile and mail order tyre services, as well as every major tyre brand. Check out our extensive range of partner garages and providers now to find the best tyres near you today. 

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