Frequent Causes Of A Flat Tire And How To Avoid Them

Frequent Causes Of A Flat Tire And How To Avoid Them

One of the most frightening scenarios for a driver is for one of his tires to go flat during his ride. I am very curious to know what are the reasons that can influence a flat tire at the most inappropriate moment. From what we found out, the drivers themselves are one of the main causes of such cases. We mean, they don't take enough care of their tires.

However, many times, a flat tire is possible even under conditions of accurate maintenance. If you are also curious to know what are the most common causes of flat tires, all you have to do is read this post. We will also cover some prevention methods for these so that you can have as safe a ride as possible. We found 6 of the most common causes of flat tires. These include, but are not limited to:

- road conditions in which there are many micro-obstacles;
-improper tire inflation;
-natural tire wear;
-lost valve stem;
- wheel misalignment;
-harsh weather conditions.

Of course, there are other reasons as well. But these are the most common. Let's delve a little deeper into each of them.

Natural Tire Wear

The condition of the new tires is ideal. We all want them to keep their condition for as long as possible. Well, it is possible, in fact. But for that, you will have to lock your car in the garage and limit yourself only to its visual contemplation. We bet you don't like such a scenario, do you? Otherwise, whether we like it or not, tires tend to wear out naturally due to friction with all kinds of roads.

New tires have a lifespan of about 50,000-80,000 miles. Once they reach this threshold, they become not at all reliable in terms of performance and safety on the road.
Specialists recommend replacing tires about once every 30,000 miles. During this period, it is critical to rotate them once in a while, once every 75,000 miles to be exact. Tire rotation is done to avoid irregular wear patterns that lead to their susceptibility on the road.

Why is tire wear one of the most common causes of flat tires? For the simple reason that drivers ignore timely tire rotation and replacement. They become thin and are subject to uneven tire wear. The more damaged they are, the more sensitive they are to temperature due to friction with the road, bumps, or any other factor. Our recommendation is to be very cautious about this aspect and to take into account how much your tires wear out.

Lost Valve Stem

You can't even imagine how many drivers forget to fix the tire valve stem back after checking and adjusting the pressure. This component is very tiny and drivers will likely forget about it after checking the pressure. Even the technicians are prone to overlook it, being focused on more important mechanical things.

Ironically or not, a flat tire can occur not only when drivers forget about the valve. Even if he fixes it back, it can become loose while driving. Consequently, drivers simply lose it on the road and continue driving without realizing that the tire is decompressing.

In this context, we recommend being careful with your tires before you hit the road. Quickly inspect if they are all properly inflated and if the valve is present in its place. After you park the car, it would be good to take a quick look to make sure that the valve has not fallen somewhere on the road. In this case, you must replace it and under no circumstances hit the road without it.

Road Conditions

One of the most common reasons for a flat tire is running into sharp obstacles or driving on bad roads. Unfortunately, we don't have many options to improve the condition of the roads. Accordingly, the impact of bad roads is almost inevitable. According to statistics, the tire sidewall and shoulder are the most sensitive to hitting sharp objects, even if it is thought to be the tire tread.

The manufacturers do their best to constantly improve the composition of the tires so that they are as resistant as possible to any road. But, whether we like it or not, the sharp objects on bad roads are an enemy always ready to attack. Especially in the spring, when potholes appear like mushrooms after the rain, the car is even more prone to flat tires.

As the temperature cools, the water in the asphalt channels freezes, dilating the channel. Once the temperatures increase, the ice melts and the small channel turns into a big pothole. This process can generate the appearance of debris that contains sharp elements. So both the bad road and the sharp particles are a potential threat for a possible flat tire.

We cannot really influence road conditions, but we can educate ourselves in the way we drive. Thus, we can minimize the risk of a flat tire. Once we respect the speed limit, we can estimate the quality of the road in front of us and brake before hitting the pothole. Also, it is a good idea to keep enough distance from other vehicles. This allows us to visually assess the quality of the road and take the necessary measures in advance to minimize the impact.

Improper Tire Inflation

Proper tire inflation is so important for the performance and safety of the vehicle!!! Too bad that many drivers still ignore this aspect. The pressure in the tires impacts the way the car consumes fuel. It is also responsible for the car's performance during acceleration, cornering, or breaking. And it is also an eminent factor in causing a flat tire at the most inappropriate moment.

Many drivers mistakenly believe that both over and under-inflation are beneficial for safe driving. If so, why do you think the manufacturers indicate the Recommended Pressure on the driver's door? This is because this pressure index is the optimal one for reasonable consumption and a high safety degree. For this reason, underinflation and overinflation only increase the risk of negative effects, such as a flat tire.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations and do not experiment with increasing or decreasing it. Manufacturers keep in mind the gas mileage and the safety on the road when they indicate the recommended pressure. It is no longer necessary to adjust it to your liking because the manufacturers are more experts than each of us.

Harsh Weather Conditions

A little-known thing is that changing temperatures can also cause a flat tire. Statistically speaking, they are more prone to getting flat, particularly in summer, when temperature generates overinflation. However, it is not excluded that with low temperatures, they can also become flat.

The irony is that more often than not, flat tires are likely when drivers get tires that do not match the season. For example, if the driver has winter tires at high temperatures, they are more vulnerable to getting flat. The reason is that they are not designed for high temperatures.

So when the air in them starts to expand, they become extremely sensitive, even if their structure is much more resistant than the summer ones.

The idea is that we cannot influence the outside temperature and its fluctuations. But what we can do is to fit the tires according to the season. They will cope better with the weather conditions for which they were designed and the probability of a flat tire will significantly decrease.

Wheel Misalignment

A flat tire is actually an indirect effect of wheel misalignment. When wheels are not properly aligned, tires tend to wear much faster. The main problem with this early wear is that it takes place unevenly on all tires. And uneven wear is always likely to generate a flat tire.

Wheel alignment is an extremely important procedure for your vehicle. A lack of alignment not only leads to flat tires but also affects the entire suspension system. In the same context, vehicle handling becomes more and more difficult and the car responds poorly to tasks such as breaking and cornering. In order to avoid such an impact on your vehicle, wheel alignment must be performed regularly.

Bottom Line

As you can see, a flat tire is possible with anyone and at any time. Some of the reasons happen by themselves. Others depend a lot on our attitude toward our tires. A flat tire is an extremely unpleasant experience for any driver. So, take all the necessary measures to, at least, minimize its probability.

Flat Tires: FAQs

Is It OK To Drive On A Flat Tire?

When any of your tires go flat, the safest thing to do is to find a safe place to stop the vehicle. Keeping driving on a flat tire is dangerous and very detrimental to the integrity of the tire. If you have the necessary tools, it would be good to replace the flat tire with the spare one. If not, it is advisable to ask for specialized help. Further driving on a flat tire will lead to major structural damage, which in most cases is irreparable. In addition, driving a flat tire endangers your safety and that of your passengers.

What Should I Do With a Flat Tire?

Driving with a flat tire is a very bad idea. The structure of the tire is severely damaged and most likely the damage will be irreparable. The first thing you have to do is to park in a safe place. Then, make sure you have all the necessary tools and a spare tire to replace it with the flat one. If you don't have the necessary tools, you could ask other drivers for help. In case there is no one there to help you, call for help. If you managed to replace the flat on the spare tire, remember that you cannot drive for too long with it, especially if it is a donut tire. 

What Does A Flat Tire Feel Like?

The first thing that will alert you about pressure loss in your tires is your TMPS. However, if the TPMS light goes On, this does not necessarily indicate a flat tire but only some air loss. Additional signs of a flat tire include an unusual misbalance in steering. The vehicle starts to pull to one side and maneuverability drops severely. Also, it is possible to hear an unusual noise along with some vibrations. This set of symptoms indicates a tire issue and you should stop the car to inspect the tires.

Can a Flat Tire Just Need Air?

A flat tire is not the same as a deflated tire. A deflated wheel has a shape that is slightly dropped at the edges but still has a fairly complete structure. In the case of a flat tire, it visibly looks flattened and the rim is close to the ground. In such a case, filling the air is not likely to help much because the air will continue to leak until the tire is repaired.

Will Driving On A Flat Tire Ruin The Rim?

Yes, you can expect severe rim damage while driving on a flat tire. In such circumstances, the rim is subjected to a major concentration of weight on its edges. This wheel component is not designed to roll on the road. Thus, it is dramatically damaged with little chance of subsequent repair.

How Long Can I Drive On Flat?

The less, the greater the probability of being able to repair the flat tire. If the tire loses air, driving severely affects its structure and internal integrity. The more you drive, the less chance you have of saving the tire through a repair. The only exception is the run-flat tires that allow driving for an additional 50 miles with no air in them.

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In this context, we share everything we know about tires in our blog so that every driver can improve his driving experience through the reviews and tips we offer. Count on us when you need great products, great deals, and simply great assistance in everything that means tires. We are happy to help you to improve your driving experience every day. Drive safe and choose your tires wisely!


Brian Darr is a passion-driven enthusiast who has become an expert in the tire industry. His passion for rubber started with his first driving experience. He firmly believes that the performance and safety of any vehicle are due, first of all, to the quality of the tires mounted on it.
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