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Can I drive on a flat tire?

Can I drive on a flat tireHow far can I drive on a flat tire?

So many people ask these questions, that we thought we’d try to help.

If you have a flat on the freeway or highway you need to get to the far right emergency lane as quickly as possible.  If you were driving at highway speeds, like most people do, the tire is a goner. Your first thought should be for your safety, not salvaging a tire. For safety reasons, drive slowly to nearest off ramp, side road, or parking lot.

As far as driving on a flat tire, yes, you can drive on a flat tire. BUT the longer you drive, the more chances you have of damaging the wheel and tire. If you MUST drive, it’s better to take it slow and go the least distance possible (mostly for safety reasons).

The Tire Zoo Recommendation

If you notice your tire is flat, or suspect it is too low, put on your spare tire. Bring your injured tire into the Tire Zoo to get it fixed, rather than driving over on a low or flat tire. If you are on the road, get to a safe place to change the tire. Always have a spare tire along! It’s not worth risking your life to save a tire or wheel.

 

Is Your Vehicle Enjoying its Donut?

A few decades ago, a car’s spare tire would often be virtually the same as its regular tires. But nearly all new cars are manufactured with space-saver spares, small and lightweight tires that can be installed easily and take up less space in the trunk. The advantages of these spares are clear, but they come at the expense of drive-ability. When you’re driving a car on one of these spares, follow the guidelines below to make sure that your trips are safe and smart.

Keep your speed under 50 mph at all times, even on the highway. If there’s a lot of traffic and other vehicles around you, stay in the right lane and consider putting on your hazard lights so that people will notice that you’re traveling at a slower pace.

Limit your total mileage on a small spare to 50 miles, unless absolutely necessary. Driving on a spare hurts your gas mileage, wears out your other tires at an accelerated rate, and can even send your car out of alignment with extended use.

Check the tire pressure on the spare and keep it inflated to the PSI indicated on the sidewall of the tire. If you put on the spare and find it to be low on air, stop at the first gas station with an air pump and top it off. It’s almost always free to use gas station air pumps. (Free is good, right?)

Stop to get your regular tire fixed or replaced as soon as possible. If you are in Minnesota, stop by one of our TireZoo locations in Bloomington or Anoka.  

Space-saver spares are basically designed to get your car from the scene of the flat tire to a tire repair shop–50 miles max. It’s not a regular tire, so don’t treat it like one.

Minnesota Winter Driving

What happens if I get a flat tire while driving in the cold, winter weather?

The most important thing to remember with Minnesota winter driving is to stay safe. Minnesota weather makes this critical, as we endure snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. We’ll get your tire fixed in no time, but worry about “the right now.”

At the first sign of trouble it is important to pull your car off the road and away from other traffic.

 

The First Sign of Trouble

Unfamiliar Noise? Trouble steering or controlling the vehicle? Debris in the road?

If you happen to be on the interstate, head slowly for the exit ramp. On a rural road, look for a wide shoulder or field approach. Once you have stopped your vehicle, it is important to warn oncoming traffic that you are there. You can do this by turning your flashers on, as well as turning on your interior light. Also if you have them, use reflector triangles behind your vehicle; they are a good item to keep in your Minnesota Winter Survival Kit.

If you can not get off the highway and are not well versed in changing tires I would recommend calling a tow truck. (Another good item to have in your Minnesota Winter Survival Kit is a list of critical phone numbers). If you are in the metro area during rush hour times, another option would be to wait for a highway helper to stop by. If you are worried about safety or have children with you and weather/traffic conditions are dangerous, 911 is an option to guide you toward the best options for your situation and location.

Once you are safe, you can call us and we’ll help you get your tire fixed or replaced with a new or comparable used tire.