Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by John K. Clifford
Sorry for your flat tire – you’re not solo. In the US alone, seven tires flatten every second. So, in a year, there are over 200 million flat tires.
When you get a puncture, can you drive the flat tire? If yes, how far can you? You can move your car on a flat tire for 1.5 miles max. Anything beyond 1.5 miles will damage the rim. So, either drive 1.5 miles to a gas station or stay still and call for help.
In this article, you’ll know the following:
1. What exactly happens if you drive on a flat tire;
2. The lowest tire pressure you can move on;
3. If your car should sit on a flat tire or not;
4. If you can drive for 20 miles on a flat tire;
5. And how to drive on a flat tire.
This read will help you take care of yourself. Remember that flat tires are almost inevitable. So, you’ll deal with several in the course of your driving.
What Happens If You Drive Your Car With A Flat Tire?
When your tire flattens, you may want to keep speeding. And what’s the worst that could happen? Well, here’s what:
1. You could destroy the tire
2. You might damage other related parts
3. You may endanger yourself
Let’s look at each:
1. You Could Destroy The Tire
When your tire loses air, you shouldn’t drive it for so long. You should know that deflated tires have reduced traction. Thus, if you keep going, they will rub against the ground fiercely.
When that happens, the tire could get more damage from screws, nails, and other items. For example, smaller stones that would otherwise have no impact could even tear the tire.
When your tear the flat tire, you can’t fix it. Filling in the air won’t make a difference either, and so you’ll need to buy a new tire.
And are you ready to buy another? If no, don’t drive with a flat tire.
2. You Might Damage Other Related Parts
Apart from the tire itself, you could destroy other parts. The tire relates to some critical parts of the car, which include:
1. The brake system
2. The wheels
And you know what? You can destroy all those by driving on a flat tire. But, if you do, be ready to repair them for thousands of dollars.
3. You Might Endanger Yourself
When your tire flattens, your vehicle loses stability and balance. Also, the braking system weakens, meaning that stopping the car may be a problem.
With such a broken car, you may lose control and crash while driving. And while tire-related accidents do not occur much, you don’t want to add to the statistics.
What Is The Lowest Tire Pressure You Can Drive On?
The lowest tire pressure you can drive on is 20 PSI (pounds per square inch). That is the limit for all P-metric (passenger) tire sizes, almost 90% of all tires.
If your tire is under 20 PSI, consider it underinflated.
And what do you do? Fill it up!
Can A Car Sit On A Flat Tire?
A vehicle can sit on a flat tire, but it shouldn’t. When you let the car sit, you increase the chances of the tire getting damaged. Remember that tires support a car’s weight, and proper inflation helps them to do so.
The vehicle’s GVWR will overwhelm your flat tire. Then, the tire will break because of the pressure, and repairing it will be impossible.
So, don’t let your car sit on a flat tire. Instead, raise the tire corner with a jack and put a block under the frame. That way, the tire, and wheel won’t be sitting on the ground.
Can I Drive 20 Miles On A Flat Tire?
No, and you already know why. Twenty miles is too much, and your tire will die before you complete the distance.
Again, the far you can drive on a flat tire is 1.5 miles. Even then, you should maintain low speeds of 15 miles an hour. If you do your math, you only need to travel for 6 minutes before you stop.
How To Drive On A Flat Tire
Since driving on a flat tire is for 1.5 miles max, let’s see how you can do it:
1. Keep Your Speed Low
Maintain a low speed of 15 mph. If you go any faster, you may cause irreparable damage to the tire. In worse cases, you could lose control over your car.
If you have to drive, press the gas pedal with ease. And what if you’re going downhill? Well, you’ll have to let the car move in its momentum. All the while, your foot should be right above the brake pedal.
2. Drive On A Flat, Smooth Ground
If you can, avoid rough road conditions such as:
a) Steep inclines
b) Broken patches of asphalt
With a flat tire, your rims are nearer to the ground. So, if the tires meet potholes, for example, it bangs against them. In the end, the rim will lose shape.
Stick to the highway, parking lots, or paved roads. Those are your best bet.
3. Drive Straight
If you can, avoid steep curves. These will need extra handling, which may weaken your tire. Be slow when negotiating corners and take direct routes as you look for a place to pull over.
If you make a sharp turn, the edges of your rims will experience more strain – something you don’t want. Also, the flat tire may create some drag, so resist it. But don’t overdo it so hard that you lose the car’s handling.
4. Pull Over When You Get To A Safe Spot
You should drive for about 2 miles before you come to a stop. So, during the entire time, you should be looking for a parking place. Once you do, engage the parking brake and turn on the emergency lights. That’ll signal other drivers that you’re in trouble.
Since you’ll involve your jack, ensure your spot is level. Then, ensure that the area doesn’t have a lot of traffic.
Don’t go too far. If you can, only drive a few hundred yards on the flat tire. And you don’t need a parking lot – a safe area away from traffic is okay. There, you can call for help.
How To Deal With A Flat Tire
Once your tire is flat, what’s the first thing you should do?
1. Drive To A Gas Station
While driving, try and spot a gas station. Once you do, go slow and park the vehicle next to the air pump. Then, ask for the tire patching kit so that you fix the puncture. And if you can’t do it by yourself, a mechanic will, of course, for between $10 and $20.
But don’t push the car too far looking for a gas station. If you look at your location app and see that it’s not near, it’s better to park and call for help.
2. Call For A Tow Truck (Road Assistance)
Once you call, your service provider will dispatch a truck soon. Then, the tow truck will trail your car to the nearest auto shop for problem handling.
In other cases, your road assistance program will send you a mechanic. The expert will do the job on the spot, and you’ll be back driving.
The only downside is that you may wait for up to 1 hour. But that’s better than damaging your wheel driving on a flat tire.