Tire shops near dowtnown WPB see uptick in flat tires from nails, other debris

Posted at 7:12 PM, Apr 18, 2017

If it hasn't happened to you, chances are it will.

At some point, just about every driver runs over a nail and gets a flat tire.

But lately, tire stores in and around downtown West Palm Beach report a steady increase in business and they give the credit to nails. And drivers are blaming the nails on construction sites that have become the norm in West Palm's ever-growing downtown.

"We get a lot of nails," said Donald Murray, a manager at The Tire Choice on Dixie Highway. "We get a lot of objects such as metals from trucks, machinery."

He showed us one tire they replaced for a customer.

"You have the shard that broke off there and we took the tire off and we noticed it's a worker's file," said Murray, pointing to a large and sharp metal file -- about 4 inches long -- protruding from the inside of the tire.

Another tire shop in the area showed us a pile of twisted nail debris removed from tires recently.

Downtown resident Cheryl Dunne is convinced construction sites are to blame.

"Our beautiful West Palm Beach is fabulous, however, we're growing so fast that we have a lot of construction. That's something I didn't prepare for when I bought my car."

Since December she said she's replaced three tires after running over nails.

"At $200 a tire, it's about $600 that I didn't expect to pay," she said.

She posted her dilemma to a local social media page for West Palm Beach community members and quickly found out she wasn't alone. Several people reported running over nails in downtown. One woman said she was one of five people in her building that had to replace tires. Another woman said she ran over nails and had to fix her tires two times in a row.

"We got a lot of construction going on downtown. A lot of truck workers, drivers come by, nails fall off," he said, adding that many of their flat tire customers were driving on the right side of the road and too close to the curb, where debris potentially builds up on the curb.

Murray advises if your tire loses pressure, pull over immediately. That's the first mistake drivers usually make.

"If you're able to change it, put a spare in. If not, call AAA or some type of service to tow your vehicle to a shop," he said.

Murray said driving even two blocks with a flat can mean more money down the drain.

"Once the tire is deflated, they're very soft. It can't hold much weight. So the weight of the car is going to go on the outer part of the tire and just destroy it," he said.

While it's unknown if construction is the culprit, Dunne hopes the city can do more to clean up the streets.

"How can you prevent it? How do you clean it up? And whose gonna clean it up?" she said. "Do something to clean it up, that's all. And I know the city will do it because the city is great."

We spoke to a worker at one of the construction sites, who said they have crews set aside to clean up debris.They also have barricades to keep stray objects away from the streets.

We also called West Palm Beach Public Works, which said they have two sweepers that operate during the day and two that operate at night. With the current schedule, street sweepers clean the downtown area about once a week.