How To Tell If Someone Put A Nail In Your Tire?

So, your tire is punctured, and you notice a shiny, or perhaps, a rusty nail stuck in it!

Was it just an accident, or did someone try to sabotage your day? How to tell if someone put a nail in your tire?

Honestly, it is difficult to say. In this article will discuss some reasons this pesky nail found its way into your tire and how you can prevent this.

Did Someone Drive a Nail in Your Tire?

Accept reality! There are literally ‘thousands of things’ laying on the road, just waiting patiently for you to drive your vehicle over them. You may have picked it up somewhere on the road.

If your car’s front tires kick up a nail, the back tires may catch it.

Similarly, a car in front of you may kick up a nail, which may be caught by the tires of your car. These are just unfortunate events, and they do happen!

There is no big mystery here. It is a nail, and it could have come from anywhere. Perhaps the nail fell off a construction truck that had been in that area.

If the nail is stuck on the sidewall of your tire, there is a possibility that someone did that on purpose.

But again, that will require someone to drive the nail through the tire using a hammer or a large stone. It is not easy!

A person trying to put a nail in your tire must deliver a hard blow to overcome the bounce of the rubber.

It would be very unlikely for someone to put a nail in a tire with their bare hands.

Trying to hammer in a nail will be time-consuming, and the possibility of the perpetrator getting caught increases.

Another possibility of a deliberate attempt to sabotage your car’s tires is that someone places a nail upside-down right next to the tires and waits for you to drive over it.

The weight of the car will do the job. This eliminates the need to hammer a nail into the tire.

How do you know if you punctured a tire with a nail?

Check the tire pressure. If the pressure is low, it is possible that you punctured a tire with a nail.

However, if the nail has embedded deep into the tire, it may be plugging the hole it created, thereby preventing air leakage right away.

If you suspect that a nail has caused a puncture, jack up the car and inspect the tires. A nail or a screw will be easily visible.

Ways a nail can get your tire?

There are many ways in which a nail can get into your tire. Some of them are:

  • Someone hammered in a nail on the sidewall of your tire (deliberate sabotage).
  • Someone deliberately placed a nail upside-down right next to the tire.
  • If a vehicle in front of you kicks up a nail, the nail can get lodged in your tire.
  • The front tires of your vehicle can kick up a nail only to be picked up by the rear tires.
  • Road debris on street shoulders doesn’t often lie flat as it would on an even surface. The debris can contain nails and screws that can get lodged in your tires while pulling off the roadside or getting too close to the edge of the road.

How long can you drive with a slow puncture?

There is no definitive answer to this question.

A slow puncture means that there will be a slow and gradual loss of pressure. You may be able to drive for many miles before you notice the problem.

It is not easy to spot a slow puncture, but it is not impossible either. You need to stay alert to spot the subtle signs of a slow puncture.

Here are some telltale signs:

  • You may notice a slight drift to the right or the left side of the road as the tire gradually deflates.
  • You may hear a regular ticking noise if something external, like some sharp debris or a nail, pierced a tire, causing a slow puncture.
  • You may notice the car wallowing when going over bumps. This may indicate a slow puncture.
  • When braking, you may notice the car wanting to pull in one direction. This, too, can indicate a slow puncture.
  • If your car has pressure monitoring sensors, the system may alert you of a slow puncture when a tire starts losing pressure.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Such Incidents

It is unfortunate if your car tire picks up a nail somewhere on the road.

However, there are a few things you can do to prevent deliberate sabotage by someone who just hates you for some reason (perhaps you didn’t invite the person to your weekend barbecue party).

Here is what you can do:

#1. Check:

Inspect the sides of your four tires. Make sure that you check both sides of each tire. If you notice a nail, remove it before moving your car.

It takes a few seconds, but it is totally worth the effort.

If your car is parked on asphalt, it will be easy to check. However, if it is parked on gravel, make sure that you sweep around 3-4 inches on both sides of each tire and look for nails.

#2. Park in a Safer Location:

Try to park your car in a place where there are enough people around.

The possibility of someone spotting a deliberate sabotage attempt remains high, thereby deterring the perpetrator from committing this serious crime (if you call it so).

#3. Install a Car Camera:

If, for some reason, you are convinced that someone has deliberately put a nail in your tire, consider installing a car camera that can snap photographs whenever it detects physical presence around your car.

The VAVA Dual Dash Camera is a great option because it comes with an additional camera that you can mount in your car’s cabin or on the rear window.

It also comes with night vision, 360-degree swivel, and 24-hour operation, even when the engine of your car is turned off!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put a nail in someone’s tire?

Yes, it is possible!

You can hammer a nail into someone’s tire, but you will need a significant hammering force to counter the bounce caused by the rubber.

Alternatively, placing a nail upside-down next to the tire is an easy way to do that.

The weight of the car will cause the nail to penetrate the tire as the car starts moving.

How can you tell if there’s a hole in your tire?

You can start with a simple visual inspection.

If you notice one of your tires slightly deflated compared to the other tires, you can be sure that there is a hole in it.

However, there are other ways to tell if there’s a hole in your tire. They are:

  • Pressure check: Check the pressure at frequent intervals (perhaps every few weeks). If one tire consistently shows low pressure during every check, there is a hole or leak.
  • Reinflate: Reinflate the tire and see if you can hear a hissing sound caused by an air leak. If you hear that, there is a hole or a leak.
  • Bubble test: Use a spray cleaner and spray on the tread. If you notice bubbles appearing, you will know that there is a leak.
  • Visual inspection: Jack up your car and rotate the wheels to perform a visual inspection. Look for embedded objects, cracks, splits, and cuts. If you notice any, there might be a hole or a leak.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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