How Far Can You Drive On a Flat Tire? It happens to the best of us: a slow leak, an impromptu drive over nails, and suddenly you’re stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire. If you’re at home or in a safe location, this isn’t an issue—you can just change it immediately.
But what if you’re nowhere near home? Is there any way to safely make it to your destination before dealing with the flat? Well, maybe. There are a few factors that determine how far you can drive on that damaged tire while keeping everyone in the car safe. Let’s talk about them!
First, check to make sure the tire is actually flat
The first thing you should do is check the tire to make sure it’s actually flat. The signs of a flat tire are:
- You’ve driven on your car for more than 15 minutes and the car feels like it’s riding on a bumpy road.
- Your car makes a loud noise when you drive at speeds over 50 miles per hour.
- Your steering wheel doesn’t stay in place when you’re driving (it moves from side to side).
Even if you don’t hear the hiss of air escaping, your tire could still be deflating
Even if you don’t hear the hiss of air escaping, your tire could still be deflating. To check for those signs, look at the tread depth and wear on your tires. If they’re worn down or unevenly so, it’s time to replace them before they fail completely. You should also check for signs that there might be something trapped in your wheels—including nail-like objects that have been pierced through by a sharp object like a protruding screw head or bolt.
If nothing seems to explain why this is happening (or if you’re just curious about how far you can drive with a flat tire), take some time to calculate how much air is being lost per hour and then figure out how long it will take until you run out completely based on what kind of vehicle you’re driving:
How much air is missing?
- How much air is missing?
It’s fairly easy to tell if a tire has lost significant pressure. The sound of the car will change, and you’ll feel like your vehicle is driving differently. You may need to test drive it and see how it handles turns, bumps, etc., before deciding whether or not to replace the flat tire. Or you can use a gauge (like those found at gas stations) to measure how much air is missing from each tire. If you don’t have one handy, or if you want an extra measure of safety in case this happens again soon—which it probably will—take the tire into a mechanic for inspection before driving too far on it again.
Use the gauge that came with your car or buy a digital or analog gauge
- Check your tire pressure regularly. If you’re not sure how to check your tire pressure, consult the owner’s manual for your vehicle or find a guide online.
- Use a gauge that came with your car or buy a digital or analog gauge. You can use any type of gauge that measures your car’s tire pressure, but using one that came with it will help ensure its accuracy. If you don’t have one, go ahead and buy one at an auto parts store for about $20-$30 USD (less than $35 CAD). The rule of thumb is: if the tires are underinflated by 10%, they can wear out faster; if they’re overinflated by 10%, they’ll be harder to turn and burn more fuel; if they are inflated correctly, they’ll last longer and drive smoother.
What are you carrying?
The amount of weight in your car and how much you have to haul around also affects your driving distance. If you’re only carrying a few items, your car will be more balanced and can handle itself better. The less weight there is in the car, the farther it can travel on a flat tire.
The same goes for an empty trunk or back seat—the more space available for passengers, gear and other cargo, the longer you’ll be able to go before having to replace that tire as well. Of course we’re not advocating hauling around heavy items just so that they help prop up your tires; however if there’s room for them in your vehicle then it’s something worth considering when calculating how far you can drive on a flat tire before needing replacement parts.*
The less weight in the car, the farther you can travel on a flat
The less weight in the car, the farther you can travel on a flat. This is because heavier cars use more gas when they are moving at a constant speed than lighter ones do. The opposite is true for vehicles that don’t have flat tires. The heavier your car, the farther you can travel without stopping for gas if there isn’t enough weight to force you to do so.
The same principle applies to how much fuel each vehicle uses as well: The more weight it takes up, the more expensive it will be (in dollars) per mile driven on average—and this will also apply when driving with one or more flat tires!
What kind of tire is it?
- What kind of tire is it?
The first thing to consider when trying to decide how far you can drive on a flat tire is the type of tire. Run-flat tires are designed for extended use after being punctured, and generally have a Kevlar belt (a lightweight, high-strength synthetic fiber) in the sidewall that reinforces the rubber tread. This feature enables them to be driven up to 50 miles at speeds up to 50 mph without air pressure, though it’s best not to push your luck if you can avoid it! In contrast with traditional tires with all-season performance capabilities and low rolling resistance, run-flat tires are often made from stiffer materials that don’t provide optimal handling or comfort during normal driving conditions. However they’re especially great for people who want a set of reliable wheels regardless of whether they’re carrying an extra passenger or traveling over rough terrain like gravel; as long as there’s no danger of losing traction (and there shouldn’t be), these kinds will stay together even under extreme conditions like mudslides or flooding.”
Run-flat tires are specially engineered to withstand a blowout and retain air so you can drive safely (though slowly)
Run-flat tires are a specialized type of tire that can be driven up to 100 miles on a deflated tire. In other words, they’re designed to withstand an impact and still maintain enough air pressure in the tire so that you won’t immediately have to pull over. Run-flats aren’t a replacement for regular spare tires; you still have to have one handy in case your run-flat gets damaged or punctured by something sharp.
Run-flat tires are made of stiffer rubber than standard tires, which means they don’t lose as much air when punctured. The sidewalls also contain steel belts embedded within them—which is why they’re called “run” flats instead of “blow” flats—that help protect against sidewall damage caused by impacts or hard braking at high speeds (though these are not recommended speeds).
Where are you driving?
When driving with a flat tire, you’ll want to be careful of how fast and sharp the turns are. It’s also important for you to avoid highways and high speeds, as well as potholes. You should also keep your tires properly inflated to avoid flats in the first place!
If it’s raining or snowing outside, make sure that your windshield wipers are working correctly so that they can clear off any water or ice before they hit your windshield. If there is sand on the road ahead of you, consider slowing down until it dissipates; if there is mud on the road ahead of you, consider slowing down until it dries up; if there is ice on the road ahead of you (even if it looks like just a thin layer), consider slowing down until it melts away!
You’ll need to drive much slower when the tire is flat than you would with regular tires; go no faster than 25 miles per hour, and avoid highways and high speeds
How fast you can drive on your tires depends on the type of tire. Most street tires are rated to withstand speeds up to 120 mph, while some highway tires are rated for up to 150 mph. If you have a car with low-profile tires, such as those found on sports cars or sport utility vehicles (SUVs), you should avoid driving at extremely high speeds because this kind of tire is not designed for high-speed driving.
If the vehicle has four tires and one of them is flat, it’s best to go no faster than 25 miles per hour; if there are five or more flats, you should go no faster than 15 miles per hour. You may also want to avoid highways and other roads that have a lot of traffic because these conditions require extra caution when traveling at high speeds.
Drive slow & safe!
If you’re driving on a flat tire, slow down and drive safely. You may have to reduce your speed by 2 or 3 miles per hour. Avoid highways and high-speed roads in order to reduce the risk of damaging the tire further.
If possible, pull over to a safe place before continuing to drive on your flat tire. If this isn’t possible, look for an area where there aren’t other cars around before continuing on so that you can pull over safely once traffic calms down again.
- If you can’t call for help: Use your hazard lights when driving slowly and carefully until it’s safe to pull over.
It’s not as bad as it seems!
It’s not as bad as it seems! While driving with a flat tire is certainly less convenient than driving with all four of your tires filled to the brim with air, you can still get from point A to point B. Here are some things you can do:
- Don’t drive too fast. Driving slowly will help prevent the car from swerving and keep it from rolling over. You may not be able to reach that 70 mph speed limit, but that’s okay—you’ll still get there eventually.
- Don’t drive in the rain or snow (or anywhere really). The issue here is water accumulating on your flat tire and freezing up when temperatures drop below freezing. This could cause the car to slip off of its wheels and possibly crash into something like another vehicle or pedestrian on the side of the road trying valiantly not to freeze because they don’t have enough money for winter clothes yet because they didn’t budget well enough for this cold season! So just avoid those kinds of situations altogether by staying indoors where it’s warm instead!
We hope this answered your question and gave you some peace of mind. If you’re still nervous, consider investing in a spare tire! Now, hopefully you’ll never have to use it—but if the need arises, at least you know what to do.