Screwed: Should You Be Driving Around with a Screw in Your Tire?

Dear Bree,
screw in tireA few days ago, I noticed something shiny on my tire (I’ve got a good eye for anything sparkly).  Upon further inspection, I discovered that it was screw.  My TPMS hasn’t been yelling at me about low tire pressure, and it looks fine, so I’m assuming that it’s not really causing a problem.  Just in case, I thought I’d ask you.  Can I just leave this screw in there or am I driving on borrowed time?

– Screwed in Houston

 

Dear Screwed,

You want my honest opinion?  You’re driving on borrowed time.  At this point, the screw is plugging the hole that it created, right?  And that’s good, but every time your tire rotates, that screw is rubbing against the walls of the hole and making it a little bigger.  That’s not good for a couple of reasons: 1.)  Your tire could blow out, and 2.) if the hole continues to grow, you run the risk of ruining the tire altogether.

Right now, all may not be lost with your tire.  You can probably have it repaired fairly easily; fixing it should be inexpensive and won’t take much time to complete.  Most simple tire punctures are able to be repaired, but if the screw happens to be in the sidewall of your tire (or close to the sidewall of your tire), you’re going to need a new tire–and fast!  Sorry to break the news to you, but that’s just how it goes with sidewalls.  Some repair shops may tell you it’s okay to repair a puncture in a sidewall, but the tire industry agrees that this is a BAD IDEA!  Compromised side walls can lead to blow outs and danger!  You don’t want to compromise that part of your tire or you’re asking for problems and hefty repair bills.

Now, if you’ve been driving around on that screwed tire for a while, you may have already caused enough damage that you’ll have to replace the tire, but just in case it’s repairable, here’s what should happen when you take it in: Any reputable repair shop will plug the hole from the outside AND patch the hole from the inside.  If a hole is just plugged, the plug will start to be pushed out by the air pressure inside the tire as soon as you start rolling again.  It will probably just be days before you’ll have to add air and maybe a few weeks before you need a proper tire repair.  Get it done the right way the first time and avoid the hassle of a second trip to the repair shop.

If you choose to keep driving with a foreign object embedded in your tire, a new tire may not be the only hit you take.  A blow out can cause a serious accident and injure not only you, but other passengers in your car, as well as other drivers on the road.  If you have an accident, there will be repair bills and possibly medical bills, as well.  And don’t even get us started on your insurance rates!  Can you hear the cha-chings ringing in your ears right now?  I can.

You can always bring your car into RNR  to have it checked out and repaired; or if you’ve pushed it too far, we can help you choose a new tire (or tires) and get you back on the road fast.  If you’ve purchased your current set of tires with RNR, we’ll repair it for FREE.  We even offer roadside assistance (with certain purchase packages).  Did you know that?  Give your local RNR a call or stop by, and we’ll take care of you.  And friend, drive carefully.  Borrowed time is unpredictable at best.

– Bree