Can You Drive On A Flat? A Guide To Dealing With A Flat Tire

Many car owners have never dealt with a flat tire, and aren't sure what they would do if they actually had this problem. These common questions and answers are designed to prepare you for the day when you actually do get a flat. Knowing how to react and what to expect is helpful when you experience a flat for the first time.

Yes, You Can Drive On a Flat

When a car tire goes flat, usually the car can keep driving--for hundreds of yards, if necessary. If you drive slowly enough (no more than 20 miles per hour) and carefully enough (avoiding potholes), you can even preserve the tire without inflicting permanent damage. If you need to drive your car over to the side of the road, or off of a busy road and onto a side street with less traffic, it's better to drive on a flat tire than it is to stop driving in the middle of a traffic-laden area. 

TIps for Driving on a Flat

The key to driving on a flat is to never go farther than necessary--and chances are that you'll be eager to stop driving as soon as you can. Driving on a flat can create a terrible grinding noise that is unpleasant and uncomfortable for car owners to hear and contemplate. Don't worry--the grinding noise doesn't have to mean that you're doing permanent damage to your car. If you must drive on a flat over a rocky area, aim your car for the path of least resistance and slow down to a near crawl. 

Changing the Tire

Change the tire as soon as you've driven the car to a safe location. Changing a tire is--or at least, it can be--easy. The spare tire will be in a compartment usually found in the trunk, but sometimes can be found on the back door of the vehicle or on the underside of the vehicle's body, between the rear tires. The jack and other tools will often be found with the spare tire, but if not, consult with owner's manual. 

Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts that hold the car's tire on the wheel, then position the jack under the vehicle's body near the tire. Twist the nut on the side of the jack to raise it up. Once the flat tire is fully up in the air, remove the lug nuts and take the deflated tire off of the car. Put the new tire on the car and secure it into place with the lug nuts. Lower the jack, and you should be ready to drive. 

Know What to Do If There's Trouble

There are a number of factors that could prevent you from successfully changing the car's tire. Maybe the spare tire is gone, or you can't drive to a safe location to get out of the car, or the tire is stuck to the vehicle. If the tire can't get changed for whatever reason, it's important to have a plan B. Reliable towing services can help. Keep the number for a tow service like Mark's Towing, Inc. in your car's glove compartment, just in case.