Nail in Motorcycle tire not leaking (Reasons and Solution)

Oftentimes Motorcyclists face problem during driving a motorcycle of nail gets inserted in the tire. In some cases they don’t understand what to do when it is founds that a Nail inserted into the tire but no air leakage from the tire.

If the Nail is inserted in the motorcycle tire and there is no leakage from the tire portion then it is better to remove the nail from the tire and apply the soap-water solution. Applying soap-water solution helps to check nail actually hurt the tire or not.

Here, we will assist you in handling a situation when a motorbike tire has a nail or screw in it and there is no indication that there are any leaks.

Why does the tire is not losing air near the nail?

If you found a nail in the Motorcycle tire but never notice a hissing sound from the tire, then there are following two possibilities:

  1. The nail is in the tread layer and not enough longer to penetrate across all layers of the tire.
  2. The nail is deeply penetrated in the tire but tightly sealed by the tire material, thus the air leaks from the tire very slowly. You can’t notice a hissing sound from a tire. Such leaks take much time to lower the air pressure.
Different Nail positions in the tire tread layer

To check whether the nail hurt the tire or not, Remove the nail from the tire and apply the soap-water solution on the tire’s tread surface (from where the nail was removed), and then observe.

If there is no air leaking, then it is because the nail was only present in the tire tread and not inserted deeply to cause an air leak.

But if you found, the air is leaking (Bubbles will form) from nail hole, then there is a possibility that the nail was deeply inserted into the tire.

Therefore each of the nails does not cause a puncture in a tire. The puncture depends on the size of the nail pricked to the tire. The too-short nail never penetrates enough to get the leakage. A minimum of half an inch of a nail or screw can penetrate across the tire to lose the pressure.

In the case of the nail only trapped in the treads, the minimum length of the nail required to puncture the tire depends on the thickness of the treads. A brand-new tire can sustain longer nails without puncture than a worn tire.

Is it better to remove a nail or leave it in?

As shown in the below figure, there may be a possibility of a too-short piece of a nail is just trapped inside the treads of a tire that don’t leak air from a tire. Therefore it’s better to remove it before it causes a puncture in the tire by moving further inside.

nail stuck in tire tread

After removing this nail, apply the soap-water solution at the same location on the tire. Now if you found the nail is short and no bubbles are forming on the location, then there is a possibility that a too-short piece of a nail was just trapped inside the treads of a tire that was not leaking air from a tire.

Even after the removal of a too-short piece of the nail with no leakage, it is better to take the help of a mechanic for an inspection of the tire condition.

Too-short piece of a nail is not enough long to penetrate even across the treads, Therefore there is less risk thus we can ride without plugging or patching the tire.

But in case, After removing this nail and applying the soap-water solution to the hole, if you found the nail is long and bubbles are forming on the hole (As shown in the below figure), Then there is a possibility that the nail was enough longer inserted across the treads.

Air leakage marked on a motorcycle tire

So there is a need to take a help of a professional mechanic to plug or patch the tire for a nail hole.

Is it ok to ride with nail in the tire?

There is a higher risk of riding a motorcycle with a nail in the tire. Let me explain how the nail inside the tire is harmful to you.

While driving, due to the flexing of the tire, the nail also moves inside the hole. The wiggling nail can enlarge the hole inside the tire. Thus the air easily gets escaped from the gap around the nail causing sudden flattening of the tire while driving.

Out of both wheels, if any one of the wheels suddenly gets flat then it can lose control over a vehicle leading to an accident.

If you ride without removing a nail from the tire and the nail is longer then it can even penetrate into the sidewall of the tire. It makes unrepairable damage to the tire. It may result in a sudden flat tire or a tire blow.

Also if you ride such a motorcycle at a higher speed, the tire undergoes expansion by gaining heat due to the friction between the road and the tire. The expansion forms a clearance between the nail and the hole of the tire. This leads to a faster loss of air from the tire.

So it is not recommended to ride a motorcycle if a nail is in the tire.

Buf If you are stuck with the nail in the Motorcycle tire, then it is better to pull the nail from the tire and check for the hissing sound of leaking air from the hurt region. If the sound is more clear then it confirms that the tire will become flat soon.

If the hissing sound is less and you still decide to ride, keep eye on tire pressure and ride at a slow speed (avoid riding on highways) and try to reach the nearest repair shop. Don’t ride on a flat tire, It is more prone to accidents.

How long can I go with a nail in a tire?

It’s difficult to predict how long the motorcycle can go with a nail in it since it totally depends on the location and position of the nail in a tire. As we discussed, in the case of a motorcycle, it is dangerous to ride a motorcycle with nails in the tire.

Therefore, Remove the nail from the Motorcycle tire, and if leakage is slow, then until the tire has enough pressure to keep the motorbike stable during driving, and unless the tire is not flat, you can drive slowly for a short distance to reach the nearest repair shop.

Final words:

The motorcycle has two tires, thus for the vehicle to be balanced and controlled, both tires must function properly. Therefore if you found a nail in the tire, first of all, remove it, then if it was only stuck in the tread layer, No problem (Just take the help of a mechanic for tire inspection), or if the nail is inserted deeply into the tire, plug/patch the hole.

Pratik is officially a mechanical engineer, and his interest in motorcycles drives him to spend hours passionately learning about them. He truly enjoys riding and taking care of his motorcycles from his sixteen. Being an engineering graduate makes him more sound technically in a motorcycle.

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