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How Far Can You Drive With a Flat Tire?

Sometimes you might have no choice but to drive on a flat tire. However, this can be dangerous and cause damage to your vehicle.

Getting stuck on the side of the road can be a scary situation. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so you may even consider driving on your busted-up tread.

Today we’ll look at how long you can get away with it.

Let’s hit the road!

What Is a Flat Tire?

Every driver will have a flat tire at some point. This is when it loses its ability to maintain the pressure needed for safe traveling. It might have a slow leak from a nail-sized hole or a large gash from hitting an object. The whole experiance can be very frustrating.

If you’ve never experienced a blowout, consider yourself lucky. But if one wheel is visibly lower than the others or puffing out, you need to have it checked. If you attempt to drive with a flat, you’ll likely notice pulling in the steering or hear a repeated “thud” noise. If you hear a loud “pop” noise when you’re behind the wheel, the rubber may have ruptured into pieces.

What Happens if You Drive on a Flat Tire?

Safety is essential when operating a motor vehicle. While driving on a flat tire may be tempting, it’s not a good idea. Quite a few things can go wrong, and you could put yourself and others in a dangerous situation.

A flat in the front will likely make it incredibly difficult to control the vehicle. You’ll have to battle it as it pulls you to the side. In addition, the rubber could cause mess up your wheel well and components in your suspension as you travel down the road. 

If there’s any chance of repairing the tube, driving while it’s flat will change that. You could cause more severe or extensive damage that makes it beyond repair. In these situations, it’s common for the rim to rub against the road, which would mean you’d need to replace it too.

Pro Tip: Avoid getting a flat tire by using these tips on How to Easily Patch a Tire Hole.

Flat tire
Driving on a flat tire is never a good idea.

How Long Can I Drive on a Flat Tire?

In an ideal world, you’d never drive on a flat tire. It’s simply not worth putting you and your vehicle at risk. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, and there are plenty of instances where you have no choice. You may have to cross your fingers, say your prayers, and hope for the best until you can get a safe spot to stop.

Turn on your flashers to alert others in these instances. Go as slowly as possible, preferably under 30 miles per hour. You’ll typically want to do this for no more than a few hundred yards.

Driving on a flat for an extended period can cause additional damage and make repairs more expensive. The amount of time and distance you can go will depend on the type of tire, the vehicle’s weight, the road surface, and your speed. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry by finding a safe place as soon as possible to stop.

Can I Leave My Car with a Flat Tire Overnight?

Leaving a flat tire on your car overnight can make things worse. That’s because the vehicle’s weight is on the sidewall, which isn’t its intended purpose, and it can destroy the rim.

If you don’t have the time, tools, or ability to address the situation immediately, you should still protect your ride from further damage. You can do this by using a jack under the flat. Place an object in front of your car to prevent movement. You can then locate the correct jack point and use it to provide some support. 

Fixing flat tire
Regular tire maintenance can ensure you don’t end up with a surprise flat tire.

Tips to Avoid Driving on a Flat Tire

Driving on a flat tire is a good way to mess up your car. However, there are some things you can do to limit the chance it’ll happen. Here are a few tips you can start using today!

Check Your Tires

If you don’t already, you should be checking your tires regularly. Use a pressure gauge and give them a good visual inspection. You don’t want to wait until the low-pressure sensor comes on to discover you’ve picked up a nail somewhere along the way. You may be able to drive to a local shop and have them plug the hole and avoid any damage.

It’s a good idea to check your wheels as often as possible, but at least once a month. This can help you catch any potential issues like uneven wear in the tread or any internal damage from hitting potholes. It’s an important way to protect yourself and others on the road. 

Keep Up on Maintenance

Rotating your tires can prevent uneven wear and tear on your tread. Most people have it done with every oil change. Quick-lube service stores usually include this as a part of the package, and they’ll know the best way to do it. 

You should make sure you have at least 3/32 inches of tread depth. Use a penny if you don’t have the right tool. Place Abraham Lincoln facing down into the groove. If you can see the top of his head, replace your tires before driving on flats. When in doubt, head to a professional shop to inspect your wheels.

Watch Your Weight

It’s easy to forget that your vehicle can only haul so much weight. Many drivers put it to the test by loading up with passengers and gear. However, your tires end up being responsible for carrying that weight.

The more you put on them, the more strain you’ll cause. A big load can increase the likelihood of a blowout, which can be incredibly dangerous and damagingThe more you put on them, the more strain you’ll cause. . You can adjust the air pressure to help with the increased weight. However, you shouldn’t exceed the maximum pressure set by the manufacturer, or you may wind up driving on a flat tire.

Avoid Road Hazards

Unfortunately, road hazards are a normal part of driving, and you must prepare for them. Hitting glass, nails, and potholes can puncture your rubber and leave you stranded on the side of the highways. Keep your eyes in front of you to avoid any potential debris.

It’s not always possible to avoid hazards and debris. However, you can make it easier by keeping your distance from people in front of you. It gives you more time to react to objects on the road. An extra second or two could allow you to change lanes and avoid debris.

Pro Tip: Your vehicle deserves the best of the best. We uncovered Where You Can Buy the Best Tires for your vehicle.

Should You Drive on a Flat Tire?

As you can see, driving on a flat tire isn’t a good idea. It’s not something that we recommend or encourages travelers to do. However, it may need to happen in less-than-ideal situations. 

If that’s the case, you may have no option but to keep going until you find a safe place to stop. Your best bet is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Not only do you need to have gear and equipment available for these situations, but you need to know how to use them.

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