Getting Your Tire Repaired After Picking up a Nail or Screw on the Road

If you have a tire that goes flat while you are driving and you suspect it is a puncture in the tire that has caused it, there are some things you can check to try and determine if the tire can be fixed or not. There are some general rules for tire repair, and tires that go flat without a blow out are often the best candidates for a repair. 

Find The Puncture

Before you can repair a tire that has gone flat, you need to determine what caused the flat in the first place. The easiest way to find the issue is to take the tire off the vehicle so you can move it around and look at the tread and sidewalls carefully. 

If you find a nail or screw in the tire, leave it there so that the tire shop will know where the hole is. If you don't see anything in the tread, the tire tech at your local tire shop may need to put the tire in a tank of water and look for air escaping the tire. This will pinpoint the damage to the tire quickly and accurately. 

If the damage to the tire is in the tread of the tire, the tech can typically plug the hole with a special rubber plug that is inserted in the hole to seal it. A tire plug is so effective that when it is installed properly, it will last the life of the tire in most cases.

Large Punctures

Sometimes the nail, screw, or other debris that punctured the tire leaves a large hole in the tire that may be large enough that you need several plugs in the tread to seal it, but the plugs alone may not do the job. A tire shop can add a vulcanizing patch to the inside of the tire to reinforce the plug from the inside. 

These vulcanizing patches bond with the rubber of the tire and are extremely strong. The result is a patch that, when combined with the plug, is nearly indestructible. Patching the tire in this way does mean the tire needs to come off the rim, and it will cost a little more, but if the tire is nearly new or has a lot of life left in it, it could be worth the cost of the tire repair. 

Sidewall Damage

Damage to the tire's sidewall is almost always unrepairable because the sidewall does not have the structure to support a repair. The sidewall is often only a couple of layers of rubber, unlike the tread that is typically four or more plys thick. Since the sidewalls directly support the vehicle's weight, the likelihood of the damage to the sidewall getting worse as you drive makes it unsafe to try and repair. 

Learn more about dealing with this issue by contacting a local tire shop.