Flat Tires: What You Need to Know | Chase – Chase News & Stories
Flat tires are a common nuisance for drivers and can happen at the worst times. Nearly every driver will face a flat tire at some point, so what do you need to know if it happens to you?
What causes a flat tire?
Flat tires often result from an air leak in the tire itself. A sharp object — nails and screws are common culprits — can puncture the tire and leave a hole.
A tire can also go flat from what’s known as a “bead leak,” where the tire can’t get an airtight seal because of debris or corrosion to the wheel. It’s a bit like a plastic container with a loose lid that allows its contents to spill out.
In addition, a tire could be flat when it’s simply underinflated, or leaking air from the valve.
Then there’s a blowout. In contrast to the examples above, a blowout happens suddenly with a large rupture and is caused by things like overload, driving over road damage, or uneven structural weakness due to treadwear.
How to know if you have a flat tire
A flat tire will sit flat on the ground and visibly lower than the other tires on your car. When driving, a flat tire will sometimes create an imbalance in the steering and alignment, “pulling” the car to one side. You may also notice vibrations or a “flapping” sound. Occasionally, you could hear a loud “pop” if your tire was punctured during a drive.
Why is driving on a flat tire dangerous?
Car tires are calibrated to hold a certain amount of pressure. This ensures a smooth, even ride. Driving on a flat tire can be risky for both you and your car, so you may want to limit how far you drive and get it repaired as soon as possible. Here are some of the possible dangers it poses:
Irreparable tire damage
While an external puncture can often be repaired, driving around on a flat tire can cause damage to the internal structure of your tires. This internal damage may be irreparable, in which case you’d need to completely replace the tire.
Damage to your rims or vehicle
Driving on a flat tire means your rims are likely making more contact with the road than they were meant to. This can bend them out of shape. Continued usage in this way may even cause damage to the vehicle itself.
Loss of control on the road
A flat tire can lead to unsafe handling, possibly even loss of control, because the tire isn’t as responsive to steering. This could create a dangerous driving situation.
Driving on a spare tire
If you were able to replace your flat with the smaller, donut-shaped spare tire in the trunk, it’s best not to drive around on it for too long. Spares aren’t built for everyday use and therefore have limitations on how far and fast you can drive with them. They’re temporary replacements to get you safely to the nearest garage.
What to do if you have a flat tire
If you find yourself with a flat tire, there are a few basic steps to consider:
If you can, very gently run your hands along the front and back of the tire to see if you can …….
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