The most important facts, figures and instructions on flat-tire safety and tire maintenance.
Flat tires may be the last thing on your mind when you get behind the wheel, but they’re one of the most common car issues drivers face. Knowing what to do in the event of a flat tire and how to prevent flat tires will keep you, your passengers and other drivers safer on the road. But what kind of precautions should you take? What’s the best course of action if you find yourself on the road with a flat tire?
Below, we’ll cover everything from the most important flat tire facts and figures to how to navigate the stressful process of dealing with a flat tire.
Flat tires lead to hundreds of fatalities per year. The numbers below underscore just how important tire safety, maintenance and preventative measures are in the United States:
It’s important to have a plan for the off chance that you encounter a flat tire on the road. Following the steps below will ensure you maneuver your vehicle in the safest manner and do as little damage as possible to your car:
Although a simple tire patch-up can cost $30 to $60, driving on a flat tire could lead to other vehicle damages, such as structural wheel damage, brake damage or alignment issues, which cost thousands of dollars.4
As discussed above, you can give yourself some peace of mind by learning how to change a flat tire and carrying the proper equipment. And practicing changing a flat isn’t just about building confidence. Making mistakes like leaving the lug nuts too loose, crawling under the car or placing your jack on the plastic part of your car frame can all lead to unnecessary injuries and damages.
If you’re unsure exactly where to place your jack or other car-specific information, consult your owner’s manual.
Do you want some practice removing and placing tires? Watch a step-by-step video, like this one from O’Reilly Auto Parts, to see how it works.5
You can sign up for roadside assistance with your own insurance company, a third-party provider or your credit card company. Roadside assistance companies offer a number of benefits and services, including:
Some of the biggest roadside service companies include AAA, AARP, Motor Club of America and the Allstate Motor Club Membership.
If you have a Visa card, Mastercard or Chase card, you can sign up for roadside assistance with rates starting at around $60 per service.
You can reduce your risk of getting a flat by having proper tire maintenance and safe driving habits, like driving slowly through construction zones. Some of the biggest things you can do to keep your tires safe include:
Flat tires can be unpredictable, stressful and dangerous situations to navigate. However, with a bit of preparation and planning, you can acquire the tools and knowledge to manage a flat tire with ease. Proper tire maintenance, safer driving habits, having the right equipment and other key points presented in this guide will keep you safer, prevent vehicle damage and save you money in the long run.
Run-flat tires are reinforced with a sidewall design that keeps your tire running even after it’s been punctured. The additional support will allow you to drive for about 50 miles on a flat tire.
Here are some of the most common reasons why you might be experiencing a recurring flat tire:
According to CARFAX, a run-flat tire can cost anywhere from $150 to $500. Rates for regular tires start at about $50.
Run-flat tires will sit lower to the ground than other tires on your car. If you can’t tell by looking at the tire, you can always check the air pressure with a pressure gauge.
Tires. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2023).
How to Prepare for a Flat Tire in the Age of Social Distancing. Consumer Reports. (2020, Apr 12).
What Are Run-Flat Tires? Edmunds. (2022, Feb 23).
Here’s Why You Really Shouldn’t Drive on a Flat Tire. AutoGuide.com. (2019, Sep 8).
How To: Change a Flat Tire. O’Reilly Auto Parts via YouTube. (2018, May 1).
Why Blowouts Happen—and How to Avoid Them. Popular Mechanics. (2013, Aug 20).