Flat tires are a major inconvenience. If you own a vehicle, you have likely experienced that dreaded moment when you walk out to your car and discover your tire is out of air. Your stomach drops, and your mind instantly starts racing with thoughts about how to remedy the situation. Do you have a spare tire? Do you have all the needed equipment to fix a flat? Do you even know how to change out a flat tire?
Perhaps you do have a spare tire, and once you unearth it from that dusty storage compartment, you see that your spare is also out of air. Maybe you do know how to install a spare tire, but you are short on time, and your destination is only a mile or two down the road. Whatever the circumstances, you come up with the idea to drive your car ever so slowly to where you need to go.
While this might seem like a reasonable solution to get from point A to point B, driving on a flat tire is never the right choice … and let’s review why.
What To Expect When You Drive on a Flat
These three reasons should be enough to make you think twice before traveling on a flat.
#1 – Safety
According to the United States Department of Transportation, 622 people lost their lives due to tire-related crashes in 2021. You put yourself and others in danger when you drive a vehicle that is impaired in any way, including something as simple as a flat tire.
Driving on a flat tire is not like driving on an inflated tire. Properly inflated tires provide control and stability. When you drive on a flat, you compromise the driving experience. A flat tire disables your ability to operate your vehicle the way it was meant to move. In turn, you create a dangerous situation for you and others on the road.
Furthermore, driving on a deflated tire can ignite a tire fire. As the tire materials rub against the roadway, that friction can produce enough heat to strike up a fire. Tire fires are difficult to extinguish and can spread quickly, which makes tire fires extremely hazardous.
#2 – Cost
Not every flat tire is a complete loss. In fact, plenty of flat tires only require a simple and inexpensive repair to be able to hold air again. For example, a tire punctured by a nail can be patched up, and you would not need to purchase a whole new tire to get back on the road.
But when you drive on a flat tire, you can turn a small issue into a big problem. Moreover, you can shred the tire completely. And since a shredded tire is unusable and beyond repair, you will now have to spend more money for an entire tire replacement rather than a tire repair.
#3 – Damage
A flat tire impacts more than just driveability. The air in a tire provides cushion and support to the entire wheel system. Driving on a flat tire puts undue pressure and weight on areas of the car that typically never come in contact with the road.
So if you choose to drive on a tire without air in it, you risk sustaining damage to the:
- Braking system
- Suspension system
- Steering system
These critical components of a vehicle each serve a purpose, and when one or more is not operating as it should due to driving on a flat tire, it is no longer safe to be on the road. Not to mention, you can expect expensive repairs to follow when you incur this type of extensive damage.
What To Do When You Have a Flat Tire
So let’s go back to the beginning … you discover a flat tire at the most inconvenient time. Amidst the stress of dealing with a flat, you begin to contemplate your next step. That’s when you feel out of options and consider making the treacherous trip on a tire that is not suitable to drive on.
But before you risk damage to your vehicle, yourself, and others on the road, please remember that driving on a deflated tire is not the answer.