Categories: Ask MO Anything

Ask MO: Why do Nails Only Puncture REAR Tires?

Dear MOby,

Yes, I have a question that’s, weirdly enough, only now occurred to me after 20-plus years of riding, as I contemplate yet another sheet metal screw embedded in my almost new rear Dunlop Q3 Plus tire. Why do nails and screws always wind up in the rear tire? Is it because it’s the most expensive one and the harder one to change? Do rears have thinner carcasses? I can’t remember ever having a hole in my front tire. Help me understand…

Screwed Again
In the Rear


Dear Screwed,

This is one of those pieces of moto knowledge handed down from the ancients, which, after you’re enlightened, seems so self-explanatory. Without this wisdom, it’s so easy to blame fate and the gods, to develop an unhealthy persecution complex, to begin to mistrust and hate one’s fellow beings.

This is why your rear is always the tire with the nail in it: Your front tire rolls over the nail or screw lying there benignly on its side in the road, and kicks it up at occasionally just the right angle and timing for it to insert itself into your rear tire.

The only time you’re going to get a nail in your front tire is if you’re following the roofing truck just as the one with your name on it falls off and is still bouncing merrily along.

Follow me to the new tire store! Photo by: Nitinut380/Bigstock.com

The only known way to avoid getting fasteners in your tires is to carry a tire repair kit at all times. It’s not a foolproof prophylactic, but it is 94.2% effective in MO testing.


Send your moto-related questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com. If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least make you feel temporarily better by thinking you’re talking to somebody who knows what they’re talking about even if we don’t. And if we’re wrong, some smart aleck like Dick Ruble will let us all know immediately.

Recent Ask MOs:
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John Burns

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John Burns
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