A nail in your tire can be worrisome and annoying. It's going to cost you to fix the issue, which may bring up the question - does your auto insurance cover a nail in the tire? We've researched the question and bring you some answers.
In most situations, your insurance company will not cover a claim resulting from a nail in your tire unless it causes you to wreck and damage your vehicle. If this happens, and if you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance company may cover the cost of the damage. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario and one that you're trying to avoid. There are certain precautions you can take that we'll list later in this article. They'll help keep your tires running as they should, and they'll keep your commute safer for yourself and for everyone who's on the road with you.
Is a nail in the tire covered under warranty?
Rarely, if ever, will your tire warranty cover the cost of replacing or repairing a tire that has been punctured by a nail. This could be considered normal road wear and tear, and most manufacturer's warranties only cover things like defects in the tire itself. While most tire warranties won't cover nail damage, there are several conditions they may cover, including:
- A mileage warranty that guarantees the tire for a set number of miles. To make a claim, you may have to prove that you had your tires rotated properly at recommended intervals.
- A limited road hazard warranty that may pay to replace (not repair) a tire damaged by road conditions such as potholes.
- A uniformity warranty that may cover your tire in the event that it has a factory-made vibration or other ride disturbance that's a result of faulty manufacturing.
You can usually purchase additional tire and wheel coverage, which is a sort of insurance policy that covers only wheels and tires. Under these policies, a nail puncture might be covered, so might damage from broken glass, metal, and other road debris. This type of insurance is hardly ever included under your regular policy, however.
Is other tire damage covered by insurance?
If you carry comprehensive insurance on your vehicle, it's possible you may have some tire protection. Thing's like vandalism and theft may be covered, but that is probably the extent of your tire protection under a normal car insurance policy. To be sure, talk with the insurance agent who sold your auto insurance and discuss the possible scenarios to find out what is covered and what isn't.
How much does it cost to fix a tire with a nail in it?
The cost to repair a tire is dependent upon several circumstances, notably the quality and brand of the tire. More expensive tires cost more to repair or replace but will likely last much longer than economy versions. And if you've purchased performance tires, replacing one might mean replacing them all. Typically, however, a simple plug to repair the hole left by a nail rarely costs more than $20. In fact, you can buy tire plug kits that let you fix the affected tire yourself. This is probably the most economical way to get yourself back on the road after a nail puncture.
Is it okay to drive with a nail in your tire?
It is never okay to drive on a tire that has a puncture it in, as it can cause irreversible damage to the sidewalls and innerliner, meaning you'll have to replace your tire, and maybe even your wheel if the damage is bad enough. A slow leak in a tire may also eventually go flat and leave you sitting somewhere you'd rather not be. Unfortunately, most people who drive over a nail have no idea that it has punctured their tire until that flat happens. If it does happen, however, drive to the nearest service center or drive home and park your vehicle until you have time to change, repair or replace the punctured tire.
Can you patch a tire with a nail in it?
Usually, as long as the puncture occurred in the tread, it's fine to plug the hole. You can either take your punctured tire to a professional and have it plugged, or you can purchase a small kit at your local auto parts store and plug the hole yourself. To DIY, you'll first need to remove the tire from the car and use pliers to tug the nail free.
Using the provided rasp tool, you'll need to clean the puncture to remove any sort of debris that could interfere with the adhesive on the plug. Next, thread the provided plug through the needle tool by sliding it through the eye. You'll then force the tool and the plug into the puncture left by the nail, draw the tool out again, and leave the plug in place. Trim the plug so that it's level with the tread and re-inflate the tire. It should now be road-ready.
It should be noted that punctures that occur in the sidewall of a tire should never be plugged. This is because there are no threads in this part of your tire, so there's nothing for the plug to hold onto like there is in the tread. Plugging a sidewall is not safe and can result in an eventual blowout that can be dangerous or even deadly at high speeds.
Do I need a new tire if I have a nail in it?
Unless the nail has caused extensive damage, most tires with small puncture holes can be plugged. As long as everything else is good on the tire, such as the sidewall, tread and valve stems, it's usually fine to have your tire plugged or to plug it yourself using a kit. If the tire in question is worn and leaking, however, investing in a new tire or a new set of tires is probably the better option.
Your best insurance against a sudden blowout or flat tire is to practice prevention by following a few simple maintenance tips, including:
- Take good care of your tires. This means having them rotated regularly and checking the pressure from time to time.
- Avoid driving or parking near construction areas where loose nails and screws could be hiding.
- Always make sure you have a spare and a jack and that you've experimented with using them both.
- Invest in an auto club membership that provides free roadside assistance. This perk even comes standard with some car insurance policies.
- Know your tires' limits and replace them once they've reached the end of their mileage.
These smart and easy tricks will help keep you from having flat tires or blowouts at all, but if the unexpected happens, they'll keep you from sitting along the side of a dark road at night or enlisting the help of highway strangers.