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“Can you drive on a flat tire?” How many times have you caught yourself thinking about this? Ever found yourself driving down a long empty highway only to hear the hissing sound which turned out to be a flat tire? Yeah, we have been there and we can completely sympathize with you. We have all found ourselves in such helpless circumstances where one of our tires gives out on us and we are stranded in the middle of nowhere with no visible help. Not only are we left fuming, but also scratching our heads and tearing out our hairs thinking about how to come out of such a situation.
One of the first thoughts that come to our mind is can I drive on a flat tire? We have all been guilty of pushing our luck too. However, there are many experts who caution against pulling such a stunt. Many aren’t aware of the repercussions and tend to occasionally drive on a flat tire, and shrug away the obvious danger they put themselves and their co-passengers in – rhetorically wondering and asking the repairman “can you drive on a flat tire, we sure can, can’t we?”
Well, experts would beg to differ from you on this. And whenever they hear the question ‘can you drive on a flat tire?’, they always answer it with a resounding “no”. There are many reasons for experts equivocally rejecting this as a solution. In this article, we will help you understand the reasons for a flat tire. We will also offer tips on:
- How to fix a flat tire?
- How to change a tire?
- What are the tools to change a tire?
- Are there any emergency tire repair activities you can do?
Stick with us till the end and we will take you through the essential dos and don’ts if you ever find yourself in a pickle with a flat tire.
Would you like to know what causes a flat tire?
What are the reasons for the tire to burst? Haven’t you wondered what caused it? There are many potential causes for a flat tire. Based on research conducted on worldwide causes of a flat tire, we can safely surmise that your tire burst because of either a nail it drove over, or a sharp rock getting stuck in between.
But do you know there are other causes that can also strand you? Before learning the answer to the question can you drive on a flat tire, we should get our basics right. Not a lot of people are aware of the following causes of a flat tire:
Other sharp objects like pieces of glass, metal, or even debris can be a cause for a flat tire especially when you are driving near construction areas, garbage dumps among other problem zones
Your car can get a flat tire if you regularly drive on poor and uneven roads full of potholes. They not only contribute to your tire deflating; they can even ruin the undercarriage of your vehicle.
It is not only about ‘can you drive on a flat tire’, you also need to know what may cause a flat tire in the first place. Car tires have been known to go flat even due to improper inflating. This happens when there is an incorrect tire pressure level. This can result in damage even to the internal component of your tire.
Sometimes the car tire gets flat tire due to overuse and the regular wear and tear that comes along with it.
Another interesting reason why car tires blow is because of heat. Not commonly talked about, but heat can also be one of the most serious reasons why your tire goes flat. With heat, there is a tendency for the air in the tires to expand which causes internal pressure resulting in either leak or the tire blowing out.
One last reason is for the valve stem component to be either faulty or damaged causing leakage.
None of these causes and situations described above are the ideal place to discover the answer to can you drive on a flat tire? We are getting there, but before that, we would like to add some more value to your knowledge.
What to do to avoid a flat tire?
We will answer the question – can you drive on a flat tire, soon. But before that, we need to shed some light on what can you do to avoid getting a flat tire. Now that you know the various reasons for a flat tire, let’s see what are the simple measures that you can take to avoid them.
Avoid: You read that right. The first step most definitely is to avoid. Avoid bad roads, avoid under-construction sites, avoid roads where garbage and debris are strewn around. Basically, avoid any stretch of road that might pose a potential threat of blowing your tire.
Take care: But sometimes it is just impossible to avoid certain routes. In such cases, what you can do is take care while maneuvering your car across those roads. The answer to can you drive on a flat tire might be “maybe” but can you drive carefully always answers with a thumping “yes”
Evaluation: Always do a preliminary evaluation before every ride. Check whether the tire shows appropriate inflation. See if all the valve stems seem okay. Ensure there are no sharp objects lying around your vehicle as a stationary vehicle is also at risk from stray objects carelessly tossed by someone else.
Checkups: Make routine checkups a part of your life. Ensure you regularly go in for checking the air pressure, the overhaul of your vehicle, especially the tires. With age, you will find the tires becoming less reliable. Therefore, have a system of checks and fixes to avoid being caught on the wrong feet, or should we say tire.
Backup: The last piece of advice we have for you is always to have a backup. Every automobile has enough boot space for a spare. Make use of that space. Always have a spare tire. Also always carry tools for a quick tire change in case you need to do it yourself.
Learn how to fix a flat tire
Imagine you find yourself in a situation where there is a car breakdown. Your tire has run out on you and is lying there useless and flat. How to fix a flat tire? This is one skill that all driving enthusiasts swear is a lifesaver.
We will help you learn how to change a tire in case you were to be caught with a flat tire. Follow these steps in order and that would help you clean up the mess.
One of the first things to ensure is you have all the right tools to change a tire. Be sure you don’t miss any of these tools as they are going to help you out of a sticky situation in the future if ever it comes to that.
- Car Jack
- Lug Wrench
- A spare tire
- A car owner’s manual
- A bracing material (optional)
All of these are much-needed tools to change a tire, except maybe the last one which you can always substitute with a brick or a log lying nearby.
Can you drive on a flat tire or shall we teach you how to change a tire?
After taking out all the tools you need to change the flat tire, follow these steps to remove it.
Be sure to park the car to the side of the road. You would need to give a wide berth to the speed demons cruising our roads.
- Put up the parking signals or hazard lights
- Brace the front wheels and the back to avoid your car rolling and to ensure stability.
- Position the car jack in such a way that it will not cause additional damage to the car. And gently but firmly jack up the car. Make sure you are not overdoing it; just raise the car enough for you to remove the flat tire
- Remove the hubcaps as they are commonly called or those center plates that are always found on all car tires.
- Now bring out the lug wrench and start removing all the nuts. Rotate them counterclockwise to loosen them enough. Note that you might be required to strain yourself a little as those lug nuts are tightened extremely well. So, exercise those muscles a little and then pull or push whichever suits you to pry loose the lug nuts.
- Once you have managed to loosen the lug nuts you are done with one of the most strenuous activities of changing a flat tire. You can now begin by removing the flat tire.
- Next comes the process of attaching the spare tire. Look at this as a reverse of what you did. That means going exactly opposite to what you just did to remove the flat tire.
- Once you place the spare tire in position, you can put back all the lug nuts first. Turn each lug nut clockwise to tighten them into their slots. Ensure you use maximum force to pull and fix them. We do not want to find them coming to loose and being the cause of accidents.
- If the spare car has a hub cap, then deposit the flat tire and assortment of tools back into the boot. If there is no hub cap on the spare tire, try covering the lug nuts with the hub nut you removed off the flat tire. See if it fits perfectly. We don’t want them falling off as we drive away.
- The last step is to remove all the braces, drive a short distance, stop, park and check if the lug nuts that you tightened are still there and holding fort.
Are there any emergency tire repair activities you can do?
What we are going to share next might help you avoid the long-drawn process of a tire change. But to get the best out of it, it is vital that a few circumstances come into alignment perfectly. Our first advice would always be to change the flat tire. But in the rare case that you do not have a spare tire or the tools, then as an emergency ensure you do one of this:
Reach for the phone and find out if there is an emergency tire repair shop or service nearby. Entrust them to either service your flat tire or tag you to the nearest repair shop. But be warned that you might have to wait a bit as they might take their own sweet time.
See if you have something which will act as a temporary solution. Based on how serious the problem is, sometimes we could drive again on a flat tire if we manage to stem the problem temporarily. What we are talking about is a temporary tire sealant often found in the emergency tire repair kit. Though not a permanent or long-term solution, it will ensure that you reach your destination or even the nearest garage with minimal issues. Of course, you will need to spend some money on both the sealant and inflator. But it is better than remaining stranded in an alien land.
Finally, can you drive on a flat tire?
The answer is it depends. But also, there will be repercussions. Driving on a flat tire is not only hazardous to you, the driver, it is also dangerous for your co-passengers. So, in case you decide to drive on a flat tire, because “hey the destination is so close”, know that it can impact you both physically and financially.
You read that right, dear reader the answer to can you drive on a flat tire is it depends on whether you will be able to bear the cost of repairing a potentially damaged and shredded tire, damaged wheel, damaged wheel studs, fenders, brakes, and even suspensions as the impact can be transferred to all these parts. So, if you find yourself in that situation, avoid driving on a flat tire.