Can You Drive With Metal Showing On Tires? (Full Guide)

Having metal showing on your tire could send questions running through your mind, starting from identifying exactly which component it is you’re looking at.

If you’re wondering what course of action to take or how long you have to address it, we’ve answered all this and more.

Can You Drive With Metal Showing On Tires?

You technically can drive with metal showing on tires, but you shouldn’t because it would be incredibly unsafe. If the underlying metal is showing on any section of your tire, i.e. the rubber part, you should either change the tire or have your vehicle towed to a service station as soon as possible.

Let’s get into the specifics of metal showing on tires, including what the metal is, what it means, how long you can drive on it, and more!

How Long Can You Drive On A Tire With Metal Showing?

If you can avoid it, you absolutely shouldn’t drive on a tire with the wires or cords showing because they’re a serious hazard to you and other people on the road.

That said, if you have no other alternative, you can stretch it but you probably won’t get more than between 87 to 94 miles (about 140 to 151 km).

Admittedly, this range is an estimation. It would be difficult to determine an exact figure because it depends on the extent of the wear, your speed, the type of surface you’re driving on, your load and vehicle’s weight, etc.

What Causes Metal Showing On Tire?

If you use your tires long enough, they become worn and, with time, the wires or cords making up the belt underneath the tread will naturally become exposed.

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It’s harder for the beads to become exposed but it is possible if you drive recklessly for long enough.

Your tire’s bead is meant to hold up even when air pressure drops, but if you drive for too long with underinflated or overinflated tires, the bead will slip and start showing.

Hitting curbs and other obstacles directly with the side of the tire will cause damage to the sidewall and the bead, and it may become exposed as a result.

Can You Fix A Tire With The Wires Showing?

Can You Fix A Tire With The Wires Showing?

You shouldn’t try to fix a tire with any metal components showing because it’s either too worn or too damaged to be safe to drive on.

Some tire fixes such as sealant and patches are meant to be applied onto a puncture to keep air from escaping and they wouldn’t be effective on a worn tire.

Your best option is to replace the tire as soon as you can.

What Are The Metal Things On Tires Called?

Beneath the actual rubber on the outside, tires have different metal components that play a host of varying roles to provide a more snug fit and stable operation.

This question is usually asked when referring to the belt, because that’s what drivers are more likely to see on their tires.

A tire’s belt system runs along the tread area to make sure it’s more sturdy and, due to this placement, it’s what you’re likely to see when the tire has an issue.

A tire’s bead is its other major metal component, and it ensures that the tire is secured firmly to the rim.

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If you’re using a run-flat tire, it will usually come with metallic reinforcements that temporarily hold the sidewall up in the event of a puncture.

What Does A Broken Belt In A Tire Sound Like?

When you’re driving on a tire with a broken belt, you will hear a thumping sound that becomes clearer the slower you drive.

A broken belt becomes uneven and the rubber doesn’t hit the pavement at a regular rate so the area immediately following the broken section will hit the road harder.

This is what causes the thumping noise, and it’s more noticeable when you’re driving at lower speeds because it’s not as drowned out by road sounds.

What Are The Metal Plates On Tires Called?

Tires themselves don’t normally have any metal component that would be considered a “plate” per se – when people say this, they’re usually referring to the rim.

Some people refer to it as the wheel, and it’s basically any part that isn’t the actual tire itself, i.e. it isn’t encased in rubber.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on how do nails get in tires, cracks in tire sidewall, and why do tires have metal in them.


Underneath the tire’s rubber is the bead and belt, and these are the metal components that become exposed when the tire has certain issues.

A tire’s belt system is made up of interwoven steel wires that provide support for the tread area without making the wheel heavier.

It becomes exposed when the tread becomes worn.

A tire’s bead is the anchor point between it and the rim and it becomes exposed when you drive with tire pressure that’s too high or too low, or after repeated impact to the side walls.

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It makes it so that you don’t have to make contact with bare rubber when mounting or unmounting the tire and it helps it stay fixed on during cornering.

You shouldn’t drive on a tire if it has any metal showing because it’s either going to separate from the wheel or burst. Your best course of action is to replace it as soon as you can.

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