Nail, Screw, or Bolt in a Tire: What to do?

Did a bolt in your tire catch you by surprise? Tires are susceptible to road objects that cause them to go flat, and one of these objects is a bolt. 

Now, there might be some questions running on your mind, including:

  1. How the bolt got in the tire
  2. The safety of driving with a bolt in tire
  3. How long you can go with a bolt in your tire
  4. How to remove the bolt 
  5. How to patch the tire punctured by a bolt, and 
  6. How to fix a tire damaged by a bolt

Stick around. Let’s talk about these things to have more ideas on how to deal with such a situation.

How Did a Bolt Get in My Tire?

First, let’s understand how possibly a bolt can end up in your tire. Most people would probably think it was an act of vandalism or sabotage. Well, it may not be the case all the time. 

Let’s discover the other possibilities that a bolt or a screw could get in your tire. Of course, we will also talk about the case of vandalism.

Through Potholes or Puddles

If you have been driving for a while, you probably notice more flat tire cases during the rainy season. The plausible reason is that the water carries all the sharp objects down the road where our tires meet them.

These sharp objects go into road puddles and potholes, and if our tire hits them, they could easily punch through. I experienced this one time when I was driving in the rain. 

I knew I hit a small pothole, but I did not think it would create some damage, but my tire went flat in the morning. Guess what? It was the shiny long bolt that greeted me.

Driving Over a Bolt or Screw

When the road is clean, we do not usually pay attention to our driveway. We fail to realize that a sharp object like a bolt could punch through our tires and cause a problem. Even if we look at the road as we roll, it is almost impossible to see a stray bolt on the road.

You might ask: How do bolts get in your tire if you run over them? How does it happen if they only lay flat on the ground?

If a bolt lays vertically on the pavement, it will primarily affect your rear tires. Why is it so? When the front wheel passes over the bolt or screw, it flips it over by the head, and the back wheels get them.

Bolt in a Scrap Wood

This incident usually happens when you pass by near a construction site or a residential area with some construction going on. Scrap woods with a bolt or a screw could get to the road with the sharp end pointing upright.

When your tire hits the wood, the bolt could get into your tire, and the weight of your car would break the wood and leave it behind.

Vandalism or Sabotage

Some people want to make fun with others. They love to see us go through some mess. Thus, vandalism could also be a possible reason why a bold would get in your tire.

If someone forces to punch a bolt in a tire, it would be a difficult job. However, these people interested in sabotaging you could position a screw right under your tires so that when you start to move your car, the screw punches right into your tire.

Is it Safe to Drive with a Bolt in Tire?

A bolt in a tire may not necessarily cause a flat tire, especially if the bolt is short and your tire tread is still thick. If this is so, is it safe to continue driving your car with a bolt in your tire?

The answer is NO. It is not safe to drive your car with a bolt in the tire. The bolt will damage your tire further if you don’t remove it as soon as you see it. However, you need to understand that it is a gamble when you do this on your own.

Aside from the challenge of removing the bolt, you also do not know the depth of the puncture. If the bolt is long enough to penetrate the tire completely, your tire will go flat and could make you immobile. So, the best way is to go to a repair shop and let a mechanic handle the job.

How Long Can You Drive with a Nail or Screw in Your Tire?

There is no definite answer to the question of how long you can drive with a bolt in your tire; the length of the bolt matters. If the bolt is short, it may not cause a flat tire at all. Thus, you can drive longer miles if this is the case.

On the other hand, if the bolt is long, it may allow you to drive at most 10 miles before the tire would go flat. This distance should be enough for you to go to a repair shop to have your tire fixed. If you happen to travel in an area with no repair shops, spare tire or tire repair kits will help.

How to Remove the Bolt from the Tire

As I pointed out earlier, removing a bolt in your tire is a gamble because you do not know its length, and doing it might give you an immediate flat tire situation. 

However, if you are confident that the bolt is short and did not punch the tire throughout, you may remove it on your own. Although, I do not recommend it.

The primary tool you need is a pair of pliers, but you might also need something sharp to push the bolt head out so that the pliers can bite it.

When you are ready to pull out the bolt, do it carefully as the bolt may break. 

It would be challenging to remove the other half of the bolt inside your tire if it breaks.

Also Read: Falken Sincera SN250 A/S Review

Can Patch a Tire with a Bolt?

You can patch a tire with a bolt if the wound is on the tread area. A plug or patch kit can help you do it. If you want to see how to do these solutions work, check out the video below. The video also aims to show which of the two methods is better.

The key difference between a patch and a plug is that you can plug a tire without removing it from the rim. In other words, it is a quicker method and less hassle. You need to remove the tire completely for the patch method because the patching needs to happen inside.

Both of these methods would help you fix a punctured tire. As to which of the methods is better, it is on a case-to-case basis. If you have a bigger hole in the tire, the plug may not be the best method. Thus, a patch is a better method for this.

Although these methods work, tire experts consider these methods as a band-aid solution. If you want to ensure the life of your tire, you better go to your trusted repair shop and have a mechanic fix the tire through rubber curing.

If you want to have an idea on how to fix slow leaks, I recommend that you check out this article that features solutions for air leaks, including fix-a-flat and curing. 

How to Fix a Bolt in a Tire

When you notice a bolt in your tire, you should first consider going to a repair shop to remove it. Then, the repair process follows after the removal procedure.

In most cases, a bolt will get your tire in the tread area. You can repair a puncture or a hole at this particular location. The parts of the tire that experts do not suggest for repair are the shoulder and the sidewall due to safety reasons. 

Can you repair a tire with a bolt by yourself? A plug or a patch may work as a temporary solution, and you might be able to do these methods. However, fixing the tire permanently requires rubber curing to seal the wound properly, and a mechanic best does this job at a repair shop.


Your tires may catch a bolt at any point while you are driving. There are several ways that a bolt could end up in your tire. It could be lying on the road, in potholes or puddles, or on spare woods on the road. It could also be a case of sabotage.

If you happen to see a bolt in your tire, you should go to the nearest repair shop to remove it and fix the tire. You should still be able to drive for at most 10 miles when this happens (if the bolt has penetrated deep into the tire). 

Driving your vehicle with a bolt in its tire is not safe. Although, in some cases, a bolt may not cause a flat tire if the bolt is short. However, you must still fix the tire wound to ensure that no further damage will happen.