It's bound to happen. It's most likely not a question of if, but when. Sooner or later, you'll run over a nail and be faced with the question on the spot of how to deal with it. Here's a quick series of questions you'll want to answer in the moment, and being familiar with them now may just be the thing that gets you out of a potentially sticky situation.
First, can you drive on it? After you notice the nail, check to see if the tire pressure is low or relatively unaffected by the puncture. If so, then it's safe to drive without using your spare, at least initially. But you will still want to address the damage yourself or get it to a shop as soon as possible. If you notice the tire is losing air pressure quickly, you'll want to change the tire immediately, replacing the punctured tire with your spare and getting your vehicle to a professional right away.
Second, does it need to be replaced? If you had to use the spare, it may be more likely that the nail damage is not repairable and thus requires you to replace the tire. Inspect the puncture hole closely and check to see if any ancillary damage exists. Unless the tire was allowed to deflate considerably before addressing the nail, the chances are a repair is possible and replacement tire not necessary.
Finally, can you repair it? If the nail can be removed and the hole patched, you have to decide whether you are comfortable executing the repair yourself or it you prefer to have a specialist do it for you. It can be a very inexpensive and relatively simple repair to do on your own, but each situation is different and individual comfort levels with the steps involved will vary. Either way, the nail is not going away once it lodges itself in your tire. Minimize the time you drive on a damaged tire (or spare, if not a full-sized tire), and be sure to repair or replace the tire as quickly as possible.
Somewhere along your driving journey, picking up a nail is bound to happen, no matter how careful you are about where you drive. Of course, avoiding potentially dangerous locations like construction sites or unpaved roads decrease your chances of picking up a nail in your tire, but don't entirely take it out of the realm of possibilities. Knowing what to do when this unfortunate event happens to you and your car is key keeping your frustration levels low and keeping you safe.
About the Author: This guest post was written by Freedom Rims, a Responsible Military Lender since 1983. Freedom Rims offers rims financing for a variety of performance rims and tires in Jacksonville, FL. We offer fast and convenient credit on a large inventory of tires and wheels with our military financing options.