Can Driving On A Flat Tire Cause More Damage?

For every time you drive on the road, there is a likelihood of having a flat tire. Well, what you have to do is to fix it immediately.

But some drivers have questions like: “can you keep driving with a flat tire?”

The answer is No, it isn’t advisable. And here is an article that explains why.

Can you drive on a flat tire?

No, you cannot.

Driving on a flat tire is never a good idea because it can lead to some mechanical issues, ultimately damaging your vehicle.

And for vehicle safety, it is important that you have the tire repaired or replaced with another immediately.

If you will be going for the repair option, it should be because you have a slow leak or reduced air pressure caused by damaged wheels. You can either patch or plug the tire.

On the other hand, you should seek a replacement if it is an old tire or the damage is severe.

When is my tire too flat to drive?

You may not feel that you have a flat tire at first, and even if you do, ignoring it is a bad idea.

That being said, there are some signs that let you know that your tire is too flat to drive on. They include:

1. Constant Vibration

One major sign associated with wheel or tire damage is steering wheel vibration while driving. If the steering wheel shakes a lot, you should have it looked at, at an auto service shop for diagnosis.

You will know if you have to get new tires or rims.

2. Low Tire Pressure

Another sign most drivers often ignore is low tire pressure.

If you have a flat tire, it is often because there is a reduction in air pressure because it was punctured by an external or internal force.

And as the air leaks, the tires reduce in size and shape, until the rims start touching the road surface.

3. Bulging or Blistering Spots

If you have a punctured tire, another way to tell that there is a problem with the air pressure is if there are bulging and blistering spots on the rubber.

This only occurs when leaking air from the inner lining is trapped in the external part of the tire, i.e., the rubber.

4. Uneven Tread

If you have a flat tire, the tread would definitely tell you that there is a problem.

The condition of the tread changes – the thickness reduces and the outer area, i.e., the sidewall becomes worn out.

Keeping uneven tread is dangerous because it could also cause serious damage to your car – for instance, wheel misalignment, making it impossible to drive properly.

What Can Make Your Car Tire Become Flat Overnight?

You may have a flat tire overnight for some reasons, such as:

Sharp Objects

One common cause of flat tires is punctured by sharp objects like nails, glass, or screws.

Due to this puncture on the sidewall, the air gets out of your tire – although a slow leak, until it becomes visibly flat. If this happens, it needs to be inflated or replaced.

Bad Valve Stems

Apart from punctures, bad valve stems can cause problems with your tires. They often get worse as a result of chemicals, road debris, and dirt.

Likewise, your tire experiences a slow leak until it becomes flat.

Tire Bead Leaks

The tire bead is an important part of your car’s wheeling system. However, if debris, stones, or sand gets to it, they could provide room for air to escape, resulting in reduced pressure and ultimately causing your tires to deflate.

High Temperature

There is so much bad that weather can do to your car tire. In the presence of high temperatures, air pressure in the tire increases, thus, causing a leak.

Improper Sealing and Bad Mounting

If your vehicle tire isn’t sealed properly by the manufacturer, it could start leaking over time.

More so, mounting your vehicle tire correctly is consequential because without doing that, there is a good chance for air to escape from the tire overnight.

What happens if you drive on a flat tire?

You cannot keep driving on a flat tire because the effects spread to every other part of your car.

If you drive on a flat tire, the rims of your car carry the entire weight of your car, and without the support of your tires, they can get damaged over time.

Having the structural integrity of your wheel compromised does no good to your car because the new set of tires you put on will be affected.

Besides, putting pressure on your car’s tire for long hours can cause weakened points and flat-spotting, which ultimately requires tire replacement rather than repair.

How long can you drive on a flat tire without damaging the rim?

Within one to two miles before the rims get damaged.

If you experience a flat tire, your top priority should be to get to safety without causing more damage. You should park and fix a flat tire before you continue your journey.

How Long Can A Car Sit On A Flat Tire?

If you park your car and are unable to replace it with a spare tire or call for help immediately, the maximum number of days your car can sit on a flat tire is three days.

If your car sits on a flat tire for an extended period, there could be irreparable damage done to the wheels.

Can A Flat Tire Ruin The Rim?

Yes, it can.

Many car owners have always wondered if a flat tire can ruin the rim, and there is no better answer than saying – “Absolutely!”

The reason is that if you drive on a flat tire, you aren’t entirely driving on the tire but the rims. And as the rims maintain contact with the road, they could crack, bend, or be dented. Eventually, it could cause possible damage to your car.

In the worst-case scenario, your steering and suspension system could be damaged.

Potential Rim Damage Caused by a Flat Tire

Below is a list of the potential damage a flat tire can cause to your rim.

1. Bent Rim

One of the things that could happen is you have a bent rim. This bend often appears as a result of the contact between the tire and the road.

It even gets worse when you cross a speed bump and hit a pothole or a curb while driving.

2. Cracked Rim

Driving on a flat tire also exposes your wheel to the road resulting in cracks around it. A cracked rim poses a huge risk because it could further affect the tires causing visible damage.

3. Scratched Rim

Finally, your rim could encounter curbs while you drive on a flat tire. With this contact, scratches are inevitable and even though it is repairable using a clear coat, the quality of the rim gets worse over time.

What to Do When You Get a Flat Tire Damage?

If you have a flat tire, you should do any of the following:

Change Just The Tire Damaged

The first thing you should do when you want to fix a flat tire is a park on a flat surface – somewhere off the highway.

You should proceed by placing car jacks under your car and raising them to a suitable height.

Then start losing the lugs and nuts so you can remove the flat tire and replace it with a new one.

However, one important thing you must do is to have a spare tire in the trunk of your vehicle.

Call a Tow Truck

Another thing you can do if you don’t have a spare or new tire is to call a tow truck.

This truck will help you get your car away from the highway to a place where it can receive proper care.

Final Thoughts

So, if you ask “can you drive with a flat tire?” The answer is No.

You don’t want permanent damage to your rims because you are driving on flat tires.

More so, a new tire doesn’t cost more than getting new wheels.

Also, an important factor you should always consider is to check if your tire has the correct pressure.

The reason is so that you can avoid the risk associated with low tyre pressure.

In conclusion, if you have a flat tire, get your vehicle to a safer place to have it fixed or call a towing truck service for help. 


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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