You’re driving down the interstate and your tire pressure monitor light comes on. You notice the tire pressure slowly dropping. 25psi, 20, 15. Your heart quickens and your eyes dart to the side of the road. The shoulder is narrow, and doesn’t feel like the safest place to be. The sign says the next rest stop is 10 miles. What do you do? Keep going and chance damaging your tire and maybe more? Or, should you pull over to the shoulder and call the tow service?
How far is too far?
To be safe, driving on a flat tire at all is too far. If your tire has lost all air pressure, it not only will damage the tire beyond the possibility of repair, but can put you in harm’s way. A flat tire doesn’t have the same traction or control as it does when it is inflated, and can cause you to lose control and get into an accident.
If your tire still has some air, or if you have a way of inflating a tire with a slow leak, it may be safe to take it to the tire repair shop. If you choose to drive it to the shop, stop every mile or so to check the tire’s pressure. If it has become totally flat, don’t drive any further; call a tow service to bring you the rest of the way.
What happens to my tire if I drive on it flat?
When you drive on a flat tire, the rim puts extreme pressure on the tire, pinching it between the rim and the road. It shreds the inside lining of the tire, eliminating the possibility of repairing the tire. Only drive on a flat tire to get yourself out of harm’s way, like driving on a roadway without a shoulder.