It’s probably safe to say that most drivers have experienced the inconvenience of a flat tire. Whether it’s from a puncture or splitting at the band that holds the tire together, it’s typically bad news.
In answer to how far you can drive on a flat tire, if there was a way to measure negative distance, or effectively, distance that doesn’t exist, we’d suggest that amount. It’s a bad idea overall to drive any amount on a flat tire, because once the tire loses pressure you’re moving the car on the wheel itself, which can cause deformation of the metal. Then you won’t be able to mount a new tire, you’ll have to get a new wheel, and then you’ll have to get new tires all around if you plan on keeping your alignment. So you trying to make a few extra miles on a flat tire really ends up costing you hundreds more dollars.
In the event of a flat tire, try to get to a safe place as quickly as possible. With only one tire the car is still perfectly able to respond to your steering inputs, so as long as you remember your safe driving habits you’ll be fine. If you are on the highway, pull over to the shoulder safely, keep your hazards flashing, slowly come to a complete stop and turn off the car. Once you’ve pulled over safely to the side, call a tow truck for assistance.
If you’re in a city, where potholes can jump out and attack your car, stop and park somewhere as close as possible. It’s not worth potentially ruining your wheels, just to go a few extra feet and have to stop anyway. Unless a tire shop is less than 10 feet away, don’t risk driving on a flat tire.
Let’s say you have a recent BMW that comes with run-flat tires. These are low-performance tires that are designed to run for a limited distance after they’ve been punctured. Not only do the run flats under perform, but they are also very expensive. One tire in a 205 size can cost $240, and that’s a smaller tire. From what information seems to be out there, you can’t get a run flat tire that performs well and lasts a while, so it doesn’t seem like they are worth the money. Be that as it may, the run-flat shouldn’t be run for more than 10 miles. So in the event that you get a flat, while on run-flat tires, limp the car (reduce speed greatly) to the nearest tire shop. If there isn’t one within 10-20 miles, don’t run the car at all and park on the side of the road.
The bottom line is, you shouldn’t be driving on a flat tire for any real distance. If you really have no choice, then the best option is to drive until it’s safe to pull over, and that’s the farthest you should go.
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