Flat tire information and a guide
A flat tire is one of the most frustrating problems a vehicle owner can face. However, while flat tires are extremely common, they can be extremely dangerous depending on the situation, such as the road you are driving on and your speed. For example, if you blow a tire while driving at 75 mph on a busy highway, it can affect your car’s handling and increase the risk of a serious accident.
Flat tires are not always unavoidable, but there are ways to reduce your chances of getting one while driving. In this article, we’ll go over some key facts and statistics about flat tires, explain what to do in the event of a flat, and offer some advice on how to avoid flat tires in the first place.
Many drivers will have a flat tire at some point in their lives. Even the toughest tires deteriorate and weaken over time. Not to mention that potholes, sharp nails, debris, and other objects on the road can easily puncture a tire and cause a flat. Here are some flat tire statistics from the United States:
What is the cause of a flat tire?
You might think that flat tires are only caused by road debris or sharp objects. However, there are numerous factors that can contribute to a flat tire. Some of the most common causes of flat tires are as follows:
- Old tires: Having old tires on your car increases your chances of getting a flat because small cracks form in the rubber and make the tire more vulnerable to damage. Even if your tires appear to be in good condition on the outside, it is critical to replace them once they begin to wear out.
- Road debris: One of the leading causes of tire flats and blowouts is road debris. If you drive over a nail, a sharp piece of glass, or scrap metal by accident, it can puncture your tire. You might not realize you’ve driven over debris until the tire goes flat days or weeks later.
- Temperature: High temperatures have the potential to cause flat tires. Rubber contracts in cold weather and can cause leaks. Tire pressure, on the other hand, rises in hot weather, causing your tires to expand and potentially leak or burst.
- Vandalism: Flat tires can be caused by vandalism. For example, if someone slashes your tires or intentionally punctures a hole in the tire, you will most likely get a flat.
Valve damage: Leaking valve systems can result in a flat tire, especially if there are no visible signs of damage on the outside of the tire. Valve systems can be damaged if they are installed incorrectly or with the incorrect tape.
- Overinflated tires: When inflating your tires, take care not to overinflate them. Too much air in your tires can cause internal damage and a flat tire. A tire pressure gauge can assist you in avoiding overinflation.
What should I do if my tire blows out?
You are not alone if you are unsure what to do after a flat tire. Many people lack the necessary skills to change a flat tire on their own. However, depending on the supplies you have available, you usually have a few options after getting a flat. Here’s what you should do if you have a flat tire.
Repairing a flat tire
If you have a spare tire and the necessary tools, you can change a flat tire yourself. The following items should be kept in your vehicle’s emergency kit:
- Road reflectors for safety: If you are going to change a flat tire on the side of the road by yourself, safety is critical. Keep flares or road reflectors in your car in case you need to change a tire on the highway or in another high-traffic area where you may not be easily visible.
- Spare or donut tire: Many cars come with a full-sized spare tire or a temporary donut tire, which is usually located beneath a compartment in the trunk or on the vehicle’s underside. Check to see if your vehicle has a spare tire. If you don’t have one, consider buying one to keep in your car in case of a flat tire.
- A car jack: is required to change a spare tire yourself. Many vehicles have a plastic piece on the undercarriage where the jack can be placed for maximum leverage and to prevent damage to other parts of the undercarriage.
- A lug wrench: is used to remove the lug bolts that secure the tire in place. To remove the flat tire and replace it, you must first remove the lug nuts.
- Pressure gauge: After installing the new tire and replacing the lug bolts, use a pressure gauge to check the tire pressure. The recommended psi is printed on the side of the spare tire.
What if I lack a spare tire?
If you don’t have a spare tire in your vehicle and get a flat, there are some temporary solutions until the tire can be replaced. This usually entails plugging the hole through which the air is leaking. Here are a few options for temporarily repairing a flat tire:
- Fix-a-flat spray: Fix-a-flat spray can help you quickly plug a tire leak. After locating the leak, move your vehicle to the 6 o’clock position and apply the entire can of sealant to the leak. Remember that this is only a temporary fix and that you should only use it to safely drive to an auto body shop.
- Kit for repairing car tires: If you get a flat tire, having a car tire repair kit in your car can come in handy. These kits frequently include a patch that can be applied to the leak but do not provide a long-term solution.
- Tire plug kit: A tire plug kit allows you to insert a plug into a leaking hole. Depending on where the leak is located, you may need to remove the tire in order to use the plug. Plugged tires can be driven on for about 10 miles, so get the tire replaced as soon as possible.
- Consider upgrading to run-flat tires: If you don’t feel comfortable changing a flat tire yourself or don’t have the necessary tools. These tires, as the name implies, are intended to allow you to continue driving for a short distance after a flat tire. It is not a permanent solution, but it does not necessitate any effort on your part.
Contact roadside assistance.
Finally, many drivers who experience flat tires opt to contact roadside assistance to help them get back on the road. Roadside assistance can provide basic vehicle repairs and towing services such as flat tire changes, battery replacement, fuel delivery, extrication, and locksmith services.
There are several options for obtaining roadside assistance. One option is to purchase a plan from a non-profit organization such as AAA, which charges an annual membership fee and provides several levels of coverage. Most car insurance companies will also provide roadside assistance for a small increase in your monthly premium.
If you’re thinking about getting a roadside assistance plan, compare a few options and get quotes to see which one is the cheapest. You should also consider the benefits that come with each plan, as each one provides different services, maximum towing mileages, and availability.
Is a flat tire covered by car insurance?
A flat tire may be covered by car insurance, depending on the circumstances. For example, if your car is vandalized and the tires are slashed, the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy will cover the cost of replacing the tires (minus your deductible). Car insurance companies, on the other hand, would not pay for new tires if you got a flat due to road debris, extreme temperatures, or general wear and tear.
If you get a flat tire, whether from vandalism or a random act, remember that you don’t have to replace the tire. Depending on the severity of the leak and the type of damage, you may be able to patch the tire instead, which could save you a significant amount of money. A new tire can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 on average, whereas a patch costs only $15 to $30 on average.
Statistics on flat tire accidents
You might think that a flat tire is just an inconvenience, but tire blowouts can cause accidents, including multi-vehicle crashes and single-vehicle crashes. For example, if you have a flat tire on a busy highway, you may lose control of your vehicle and swerve into oncoming traffic. You could also collide with a stationary object, such as a telephone pole or a fence.
How to Avoid a Flat Tire
Although flat tires are not entirely avoidable, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting a flat or blowing a tire while driving. Here are a few pointers:
Check tire pressure: Maintaining proper tire pressure is an excellent way to avoid flat tires. If you notice a tire that appears to be underinflated, use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure. In general, check your tire pressure every few weeks and always before embarking on a long road trip.
Avoid construction zones: Driving through a construction zone may increase your chances of getting a flat tire because nails, metal, staples, and other sharp objects can be left on the road and puncture tires. Avoid driving through construction zones whenever possible, and if you must, proceed with caution and keep an eye out for obvious hazards.
Park in a garage: When possible, park in a garage rather than on the street to avoid flat tires. It can reduce the possibility of vandalism where your tires are slashed.
Replace tires as needed: Although tires can be costly, it is critical to replace them as needed to avoid flats. You should replace your tires every six to ten years, or more frequently if you drive frequently. Avoiding tire replacement can increase the likelihood of a flat and a tire-related accident.