Repair a Tire With Nails in it | A Complete Guide

So, you were looking outside your car window, praising the scenic pathways, when that “hiss” sound got you back into the real world. And the realisation of not having a stepney made the situation even worse. The real frustration! We hear you. But no more worries. In this guide, “How to repair a tire with nails,” we’ll share different methods of fixing punctured tires, helping you get back on the road. 

How to Repair a Tire with Nails? 

There are 3 methods of repairing a punctured tire: plug repair, tire patching, and sealant. 

Plug repair

How To Use Tire Plug Kit

You’ll need a plug kit, which includes long strips called plugs, an insertion tool, a rasp, and rubber glue. Follow these steps to plug a punctured tire. 

  1. Remove the nails:

First, free the tire from nails using pliers or a claw hammer. Highlight this area so you can easily find it after removing nails. 

  1. Ream and clean the hole: 

Take a reamer and insert it into the tire hole. It widens and cleans the hole, preparing it for a plug repair. 

  1. Plug the tire:

Next, thread one of the long rubber plugs into the eyelet of the insertion tool and coat it with rubber cement for smooth insertion and strong sealing. Insert the tool into the tire hole. 

Continue doing so until an inch of the plug remains outside. Pull the tool, leaving the plug inside the hole. Apply a thin coat of rubber cement on the punctured area and let it dry for 4-5 minutes.  

For a detailed guide on tire plugs, read this article: How To Use Tire Plug Kit (Quick Method)

  1. Reinflate the tire:

After drying, pump the recommended air pressure into the tire and pour soapy water on it for inspection. If bubbles don’t come out, you’re ready to move.  

Tire patch repair 

tire patches step by step process

A tire patch is a circular rubber piece used to seal the punctured area from the inside of the tire. The patches can be either pre-glued (cold patch) or non-adhesive.  Follow these steps to patch repair a tire with nails in it. 

  1. Remove the nail:

Remove the nails using pliers or a hammer and highlight the area. 

  1. Dismount the tire:

Separate the tire from the vehicle using a lug wrench and jack.   

  1. Break the bead: 

This step is crucial to access the inner part of the tire. You can use a specialised bead breaker or tire irons to break the bead. 

  1. Buff and clean the hole:

After separating the tire from the rim, take a rasp tool or a reamer to buff and clean the tire hole. 

  1. Lubricate the hole:

Now, apply a thin coat of rubber cement to the punctured area and let it air dry for a few minutes.

  1. Patch the tire:

If you have a cold patch tire kit, there is no need to glue it. Place it directly on the punctured area. A rubber cement coat will help stick it to the tire hole for radial or non-glued patches. 

After patching, move a roller on the patched area. It’ll release trapped air between the patch and hole, making a solid seal. 

For a proper, detailed guide, read this article on patching tires: How to Use Tire Patches | Step-by-step Guide 

Tire sealant

Sealants are a liquid mixture of cellulose fibers, rubber particles, thickeners, and binding agents that you can use to fix a punctured tire. Spray the sealant through the tire valve. The liquid mixture gets thickened inside, automatically sealing the holes. However, this method works more for tubeless tires than tube tires. 

Tire Sealant Uses, Do’s and dont’s, To Improve Ride

Best Way to Repair a Tire With Nail in It

With tire plugs, there are high chances of the air leaking out due to the external wear and tear on the plug. Likewise, tire sealant is a temporary fix. The liquid can corrode the tire’s inner structure, leading to irreparable damage. 

And patches? They work best at covering the tire hole from the inside, but the punctured area outside remains somewhat unprotected. Then, what’s the best solution to fix a tire with a nail in it? You may be wondering. It’s a Plug-and-patch combination repair. 

It does exactly what it sounds like, i.e., plug outside and patch inside. USTMA and NHTSA consider patch-plug the best method to repair a tire, whatever the reason for the puncture is. 

Plug patch combination repair:

This method involves using a unique plug/patch rubber piece. It has a broad head to cover the inside area and a tail or stem to plug the hole. Follow these steps to patch a punctured tire. 

  • Dismount the tire and break the bead. 
  • Roughen and clean the hole. 
  • Apply the rubber cement coat to the inside punctured area. 
  • Take a plug patch from the kit and insert its tail into the hole inside the tire.
  • Pull the tail from outside until the head of the patch sticks over the punctured area.
  • Move the roller on the patched area and trim the excess tail protruding outside. 

Tire repair through plug patch combination can last 7 to 10 years or the entire lifespan. However, punctures greater than 6mm are generally difficult to repair, even through plug-patch combinations.


Is it safe to drive with nails in the tires?

No. Driving with nails in tires can greatly increase the risk of blowout and loss of control, putting your and others’ lives at risk. 

How long can you drive with a nail in the tire? 

If the hole is tiny, the air will leak slowly, supporting you to several hundred miles. However, in extreme cases, tires go flat immediately.  

Can you repair a tire with nails in the sidewall?

No. Sidewalls don’t offer a grip for patches to stick due to the unavailability of cords. Hence, replacing tires is the only option left. 

Final Words

Hopefully, this guide has answered your question “how to repair a tire with nails” elaborately. So the next time you see a nail in your car tire, don’t fret. Gather your tools and open this guide for a DIY plug-patch tire repair. 

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