How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire?

Have you got a flat tire and will like answers to the question of “how far can you drive on a flat tire?”

It is dangerous to drive with flat tires because it could lead to further damage resulting in expensive repairs. Meanwhile, if you are driving and you have a tire blowout, you will have to keep driving till you park safely.

The best advice is not to drive when you have a flat tire. But if you have to, driving with flat tires is quite possible.

This article will share some guidance on how far driving with flat tires can go before the car gets damaged or unable to move further.

Do not drive on a flat tire for long distances. Carefully bring down the speed to 50mph immediately you notice the pressure on the tire is lost. Also, once the pressure is lost, driving on a run-flat for over 50 miles should be avoided.

Avoid driving with flat tires. However, if you must drive, you can drive without causing harm by driving at a reduced speed within a short distance. Driving on flat tires have no specific miles limit, but the longer you drive, the higher the level of damage.

Expert race drivers usually drive long distances at increased speed with low air pressure tires, but this does not imply you can just decide to drive with flat tires on the highway.

According to expert tire fitters, driving about 50 miles at a 55mph speed with flat tires is possible. However, just because this is possible doesn’t mean you should do it.

When you drive on flat tires, the wheels’ rims get destroyed, which may cause damage to the tires, making it impossible to get repaired.

The TPMS sensor can also be damaged if you drive with flat tires. Rather than spend more money on mechanics and repairs, you could park safely and fix a spare tire or inflate the tire.

Also Read: Walmart Tire Installation Cost

What Are the Dangers of Driving With a Flat Tire?

How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire

It is really dangerous to drive on flat tires, particularly if you drive on the rim wheels due to wearing out of the rubber. Common damages that driving on flat tires can cause include;

1. Damage to the Tire

Flat tires caused by a slow leak can simply be fixed using puncture tools. But if you keep driving, heat and friction can cause more damage to the rubber, causing the tire to get destroyed completely.

This total damage cannot be fixed with a simple puncture kit; getting a new tire will be the only solution.

2. Damage to the Car Rims

Driving for a long period with flat tires can lead to wearing out of the tire rubbers, and this exposes the rims of the wheel to the road, causing damage to the wheel rims.

3. Damage to the car suspension system

The car suspension is equally prone to damage if you keep driving with flat tires. When you drive on the wheel rims, the vehicle will lose balance, and so much stress will be on the suspension.

4. Tire Blowout

You risk your safety and your passenger’s well-being, including the safety of another road user, when you ignore a flat tire.

Driving long distances at high speed can lead to a total blowout of the tires. A tire blowout can be explained as a loss of air pressure suddenly in the tires, which can cause a quick deflation and hazard.

When a blowout occurs on major roads at high speed, other road users may be forced to use brakes, and this may cause some kind of havoc.

In addition, struggling to maintain the car balance after a blowout can be difficult; it may cause an accident or other damage.

What To Do When You Have A Flat Tire?

How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire

When you have flat tires, the following tips will guide you on what to do and how you should go about it.

1. Don’t Panic

It can be really disturbing when you realize your tires are flat, especially on a fast busy lane.

If you notice your steering wheel starts vibrating more than usual and you hear a loud sound or TPMS reports low pressure on one of the tires, you will have to try as much as possible to stay calm.

Worry and stress may affect your driving, so you will have to take a few deep breaths and then try parking safely.

2. Switch on Your Hazard Warning Lights

Put on your hazard warning light if your tires are flat and if you cannot park immediately.

The light serves as an indicator to other drivers that something is wrong with your vehicle, and this will alert them to give you more space to park properly.

3. Reduce Your Driving Speed

We discussed earlier that driving with flats at really high speeds could lead to a blowout leading to more expensive damage or an accident.

So immediately you notice your tires are flat, lower your speed. The lower the speed, the better.

4. Pullover

Safely pull over after lowering your speed and turn off the vehicle. Then, go out and examine the tire once the vehicle is stationary.

5. Fix the Tire (Inflate or Repair)

You can easily inflate the tires and continue driving if you don’t see Sharp objects or any obvious puncture on the tire.

But if you notice a puncture, you can fix the problem with the help of the puncture repair tools till you get to an automobile shop for proper repairs.

Having a mobile tire pump and puncture repair tools in case of an emergency while driving is a great idea.

6. Change the Tire

You will have to change the tire if it is damaged beyond repairs. The tire can be changed using simple steps. Immediately after fixing the spare tire, you can continue your journey.

7. Locate the Nearest Mechanic

If your spare tire is flat or you don’t know how to fix a spare tire, you can slowly drive to an automobile shop so that an expert can do the work.

Driving on flat tires is not wise, except it is an emergency. Make sure your hazard light is on while driving slowly to the nearest mechanic.

Always remember that the longer you drive on flat tires, the higher the risk of expensive damages.

8. Call For Roadside Assistance

If your tires are flat and you notice the next available mechanic is far away and may take hours to get there, you can reach out for assistance along the roadside.

The experts will carry out proper repairs on the tires or change them completely.

If the roadside assistance cannot solve the problem, get a tow truck to tow your vehicle to the nearest automobile shop or your house, depending on the type of cover you have.

Also Read: Tire Won’t Come Off? Here Is What to Do 

How to Avoid a Flat Tire

How to Avoid a Flat Tire

Ideally, flat tires can be avoided if you don’t have one. The following tips will help reduce the possibility of a tire blowout or a flat tire:

1. Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly

Regular checking of your tire pressure is tire maintenance rule number one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pressure check on all your tires and the spare is highly recommended at least once every month.

You can save yourself some trouble by getting a tire pressure gauge; they are not so expensive.

When the tires get ‘cold’, this means probably 3 hours after driving, ensure to check the tire pressure. Apart from the low fuel efficiency caused by driving with flat tires, the tires are equally susceptible to punctures and wear.

The TPMS may not indicate low tire pressure till a significant quantity of air is lost by the tire, or if the entire tires get low equally, it may be a bit difficult to carry out a visual inspection.

Most tires appear flat only when they lose about half of their air pressure.

It is advisable to carry out a regular check on your tires using the tire pressure gauge to be sure the tire pressure is the same as the manufacturer’s recommendation (this information can be found in your user’s manual or by the side of the driver’s door).

2. Rotate and Inspect Tires Regularly

Together with monthly checks on your tire pressure, regularly rotate and inspect your tires visually.

Rotations of the tire help spread out the wear, and this help extends their life span. Generally, try rotating your tires every 5000-10000 miles.

A simple method that can assist you in achieving this is rotating your tires whenever you change your oil.

It is best to examine your tires visually for damage signs or tread wear. The tread depth of the tire should be 3/32 Inches minimum for safety and should be free from bubbles, sidewalls, bulging, or cracks. (Most manufacturers and states may require a higher minimum tread depth).

3. Don’t Surpass the Tire Load Limit

Apart from the required tire pressure, tires have the maximum limit for loads and maximum pressure limit printed on the side.

Heavy loads exert more pressure on the tires, and when the load limit is exceeded, it could cause a blowout.

Pay attention to the amount of weight you place on your vehicle; if necessary, add more pressure to your tires so that they can handle the heavyweights, but make sure you don’t exceed the tire pressure maximum limit.

4. Always Watchout for Road Hazards

Roadways have a lot of potential hazards, such as pieces of glass, nails, and potholes for your tires. During driving, scan and pay attention ahead for hazards on the road.

For example, large road debris and potholes can cause damage to your tire even without puncturing it but can lead to bulges and cuts that can cause flat tires, vibrations, or severe tire damage later on.

It is not so easy to avoid rocks, metal pieces, and other road hazards; consider an alternative route if the road you intend to drive has lots of debris and rocks or it’s close to a construction area.

Meanwhile, if your tires get flat frequently, the problem may be from the tire and not the road.

5. Always Have Run-Flat Tires Available

Pieces of glass or stray nails cannot be seen easily on the road, so one way or the other, the tires will get flat. Run-flats tires help in providing a better solution to the uncontrollable flat.

When the tire pressure suddenly goes low, the Run-flats become self-supporting. After a puncture, your car can drive 50miles and about 50 MPH with the help of cutting-edge bead technology and reinforced sidewalls.

While driving, run-flat tires give you a level of assurance that you will not be helpless on the road if your tire gets flattened.

Is Driving on a Flat Tire Safe?

Flat tires can be caused by lots of reasons. Factors like extremely low pressure, faulty tires, and road hazards are only a few.

If you don’t have a Run-flat tire on your car, it is better to carefully pull over and examine the damage on your tires.

More damage can be caused by driving on deflated tires, and this will, in turn lead to spending more money rather than fixing just a flat.

How Far Can You Drive With Run-Flat Tires?

How Far Can You Drive With Run-Flat Tires

You can drive longer with a run-flat tire and a puncher till you fix the flat tire or replace it. The run-flat tire was specifically designed for that.

If you are not speeding, you can drive for 50 miles extra with a run-flat tire.

How Far Can You Drive on Tire Foam?

Tire foam may be life-saving, but not for a long time. It often lasts for about 50 to 100 miles; before that, you should get the tire replaced or fixed.

The tire foam’s major function is to give you a temporary fix till you find the nearest garage and fix the tire. The 50 to 100 miles should be used properly!

Also Read: How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire? (+ Safety Tips)

Frequently Asked Questions – How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire

How far can you drive on a completely flat tire?

When there is limited mobility and total pressure loss, You can drive up to 50 miles, but with a speed of 50MPH maximum. The distance a run-flat can go is equally influenced by the vehicle load, tire condition, weather conditions, road type, speed and style of driving.

How long can you drive on a flat tire before damaging the rim?

The rim can get damaged beyond repairs after driving 1 or 2 miles.

What happens if you drive on a flat tire for to long?

Driving on flat tires does not only decrease your car’s handling; it can equally lead to structural damage to the alignment, brakes, wheels and some other components like your steering system and suspension.

Can I drive 3 miles on a flat tire?

Do not drive more than a few hundred yards on a deflated tire, even when it is not deflated completely. The few yards distance may not get you to a mechanic, but at least you will be able to drive to safety without causing more havoc on the highway.

How far can you drive on a blowout?

Do not drive faster than 20 mph or farther than 1.5 miles. This will help your tires withstand any form of disaster.

Can I drive with low tire pressure?

Driving a few miles before getting to a mechanic is possible if the air pressure on your tire is slightly low. Tire failure can be caused by really low tire pressures. This may lead to a blow out, and this can be really dangerous.

Can you push a car with a flat tire?

When four of your vehicle’s tires get flattened, pushing it may look impossible, but it can certainly be done. All you have to do is to use four-car dollies. Before buying the dollies, make sure to find a sticker by the side of the driver’s door or your user’s manual to know how much your vehicle weighs.

Conclusion – How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire

If you lose all pressure in your tires as it gets flat, it’s possible to drive up to 50 miles at 50 mph. Factors such as how fast you’re driving, what kind of road you’re on, and the weather can affect how far you’ll be able to go.

Drivers should always try to avoid driving on flat tires as much as possible. However, this may be not easy because situations may come up, and you have to keep driving with a deflated tire.

There is no specific distance limit when driving on a deflated tire; it is best to drive at low speeds within a short distance.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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