Can I Drive On A Flat Tire? (Yes, But Not For Long)

As a car owner, you’ll encounter different kinds of challenges when driving, with flat tires as one of the most common. Flat tires can happen at any time due to varying factors. Therefore, you need to know how to handle them.

However, if you’re missing a spare tire, can you drive on a flat tire? If you’d like to find out, keep reading for more facts!

Can I Drive On A Flat Tire?

While you can drive with a puncture for a short distance to pull over from the road or to a tire shop, it’s not recommended. Driving becomes dangerous once your car gets a flat tire because it causes severe damage to your vehicle and tires. Since your tires have lost pressure, they’re not performing optimally and are unsafe.

For more information about flat tires, whether you should drive with a flat tire, how far you can drive, and what happens if you drive on a flat tire, keep reading!

Can You Drive If Your Tires Are Flat?

On occasion, some drivers have been forced to drive with a flat tire. However, you can only drive for a short distance.

Once you get a flat tire, it’s not advisable to continue driving because of safety issues. You can drive for a short distance to pull over from the road or to the nearest tire shop for tire replacement.

Apart from putting your passengers and other motorists at risk, you’ll cause severe damage to your car if you choose to drive on a flat tire. Therefore, you should only go for a few hundred yards to get off the road.

According to the NHTSA statistics, there were about 612 tire-related fatalities in 2019. These types of accidents happen due to tire blowouts, punctures, and flat tires.

How Should You Drive If You Have A Flat Tire?

How Should You Drive If You Have A Flat Tire?

If you have a flat tire and don’t have a spare, you’ll need to drive to the nearest tire shop to get your tires replaced. Additionally, you need to pull over to a safe distance to avoid endangering the other motorists if you’re on the highway.

Listed below are some of the mistakes you should avoid when driving on a flat tire:

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1. Driving Fast

When driving on a flat tire, you need to be at the lowest speed to avoid further damage to your car and prevent loss of control.

Keep your speed at 15-20 mph until you find a safe space to pull over or get to the auto repair shop. If you drive faster, you’ll increase your chances of getting into an accident.

2. Driving On Rough Roads

If you have a flat, avoid driving on roads with potholes, hills, and other barriers. These road conditions will make your tires worse and destroy your rim.

Rather, utilize parking lots and paved roads until you get a secure place to change your tire. Drivers that make this mistake encounter more problems and incur more repair costs.

3. Driving On Sharp Bends

For safety purposes, use roads that allow you to drive straight. Avoid roads with too many turns and bends because this puts extra pressure on your flat tire and damages it further.

When you turn sharply, you’ll cause more damage to the rim, and your car will be hard to steer due to the drags on the sharp bends, which is quite risky.

4. Driving Too Far

If you have a jack to help you change your tires, pull over into a parking space away from heavy traffic. However, if you park on the side of the road, ensure that the brakes are engaged and your emergency hazard light is on to warn other motorists.

When drivers get flat tires, they question the next steps they should take for their safety on the road.

You shouldn’t drive for more than a few hundred yards with a flat tire. Find your nearest mechanic or tire shop and have the tires fixed immediately to avoid driving for longer.

How Far Can You Drive On A Completely Flat Tire?

How Far Can You Drive On A Completely Flat Tire?

A flat tire is quite dangerous, so you need to have it fixed as soon as possible. When you get a flat tire, you should only drive a few hundred yards to a safe space where you can change the tire or at an auto shop.

If you keep going with the flat tire, you’ll damage your rim, which eventually costs you more money for repairs.

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When your wheel faces damage, it could also affect your suspension components. To avoid incurring all these repair costs, have the tire inflated.

Is It Safe To Drive Your Car With A Flat Tire?

As previously established, flat tires are dangerous, and listed below are reasons as to why you shouldn’t drive with them:

1. Rim Damage

Your car’s rims are critical in the tire’s performance, so you need to preserve them in top-tier condition.

When you drive on flats, the rims will contact the road surface, which shouldn’t be the case. Rims are made up of metal, so when they’re subjected to road friction, they could become damaged beyond repair.

Overall, once your rims get damaged, you might be forced to replace them and spend more money.

2. Loss Of Control

Since flat tires don’t have enough pressure, your car will tend to bend on one side and become harder to control when steering. Once you lose control over your car, it becomes much easier to get into an accident.

3. Excessive Tire Damage

Just because you have a flat tire, it doesn’t mean that you need to replace the tire. If the tire doesn’t have extra damage, it can be fixed and repaired by a professional mechanic.

However, if you continue driving when the tire is flat, your tire could face internal structure damage, which means that the tire is damaged beyond repair. Additionally, this voids your warranty, so you can’t get a new tire from your retailer.

4. Car Damage

Apart from the rims, you’ll damage other parts of the car that are connected to the wheel and the tires.

Driving on a flat tire harms your braking components, suspensions, bearings, and rotors. Therefore, if you don’t fix the flat tire as soon as possible, you’ll spend more on repairing other parts.

How To Avoid Driving On A Flat Tire

How To Avoid Driving On A Flat Tire

Some flat tires happen due to drivers’ mistakes. Therefore, to avoid getting flat tires on a regular basis, below are some steps you can take:

1. Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly

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Every car has a recommended PSI; for instance, passenger cars have a 30 to 35 PSI. So, before driving (especially on long trips), check the pressure on all the tires to ensure they are within the recommended levels.

Your car also has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that sends a warning when your pressure goes below the recommended levels.

You can also buy a tire pressure gauge to help you measure the levels regularly at home.

2. Inspect Your Tires

Flat tires arise from pressure problems that can be due to cuts, bulges, and cracks. When checking your tire pressure, you should also visually inspect for any tire damages to address it before it becomes severe.

Tires have a tread depth limit, and they shouldn’t go beyond 2/32”. Therefore, check the depth using the penny test method or a tire tread depth gauge to confirm that your tires are in good condition. This way, you’ll address any issues early enough and prevent recurring flat tires.

3. Keep An Eye Out For Road Hazards

Flat tires are caused mainly by potholes or other objects on the road, such as debris and nails.

When driving, watch out for such hazards, especially if you know that you’ll be driving on a construction zone or rough terrain.

4. Watch Out For The Tire Load Limit

Tires have a maximum load rating, which you shouldn’t surpass. When you carry more weight on your car, you strain your tires, increasing the chances of getting a flat tire.

If you want to know more about flat tires, you can also see our posts if you can put air in a flat tire, how common are flat tires, and if run-flat tires can be repaired.


Driving on flat tires can be quite dangerous because your tires don’t have the correct air pressure. While you can drive with flat tires, it should be only for a distance to allow you to pull over from the road or to drive to a tire shop.

If you continue driving with flat tires, you’ll endanger your passengers and other motorists; therefore, you should find a safe place to replace them.

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