How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire? – Expert’s Advice


Written by

Henry Speciale



Steven Schiller

how far can you drive on a flat tire

Every car owner’s nightmare is a flat tire. Double that if you don’t have a spare tire around, and make it triple when you’re in an emergency. If you’re wondering how many miles you can squeeze on your flat tire. It’s 50 miles or 80.4 kilometers.

However, you should drive slowly on a flat tire since it doesn’t have much traction or durability. Not to mention the potential of an accident when driving with a flat tire damage.

If you still have lingering questions regarding how far can you drive on a flat tire. Read on to learn more.


How Far Can We Drive on a Flat Tire?

If you must drive with a popped tire then make sure that where you’re going is relatively near.

The limit is 50 miles just right after the tire got punctured. However, you must prepare for any potential damage to your car.

However, flat tires shouldn’t be driven long distances. You’ll risk damaging your vehicle more, notably the wheels, brakes, and other parts such as your suspension and steering system.

Damage to these vehicle systems can drastically reduce handling, not to mention repair costs.

Why Experts Don’t Recommend Driving On A Flat Tire?


It’s tempting to drive a short distance on a flat tire. However, it’s better to drive on a spare tire instead, provided you have one ready.

If you don’t have considerable damage to it, the puncture could potentially be plugged and save you the hassle and money of getting a new one.

Suppose you need to drive a short distance on a flat tire. Just make sure that you’re going slowly.

  • It’s best to stay less than 50mph since, at this speed, you’ll have better control of the vehicle and move without damaging the rim.
  • However, if you completely lose pressure in your tires, I’m afraid you only have a 5-mile window.

If you’re asking, “can I drive a flat tire 2 miles?” .5 more than the recommended distance. Technically you can, but you’ll have to be ready for additional vehicle damage.

Furthermore, the most significant scare would be traffic accidents. As your car mishandles, the chances of getting traffic accidents rise exponentially.

One unintentional turn or stoppage when you ride on a flat tire is a one-way ticket to disaster.

How Long Can I Drive on a Spare Tire?

Spare tires are essential when you’re driving. Having one can save you the hassle of driving slowly yet dangerously as you go on a flat tire, not to mention that a spare tire is a requirement in most state traffic laws.

  • When driving with a spare tire or a donut spare, 50 miles is the safest distance.
  • If you must push it, your vehicle can potentially achieve a 70-mile stretch.

Luckily, this is a lot better than driving on a flat tire. The time and hassle of changing a flat tire are worth it.

Spare tires are, as the name suggests, a spare. When driving with one, ensure you find the right kind of wheels for your car as soon as possible. Not only would this dramatically improve your handling, but you’ll mitigate the risk of popping another tire, this time without a spare.

How to Replace a Flat Tire?


When replacing a flat tire with a spare, you must follow several steps to ensure safer and more efficient work. These steps apply to your front or rear tire.

Step 1: Make sure you pull over safely

If you decide to change your tires instead of driving on, pull over on the safe side of the road.

Also, place a warning device to let oncoming traffic know you’re in a dire situation.

Step 2: Make sure you have tools and a spare tire

You’ll need at least three tools when changing a tire on your vehicle.

  • Jack
  • Tire iron
  • Spare tire

Additional tools can be:

  • Fresh flashlight
  • A pair of working gloves
  • Mat
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Vehicle’s manual

Step 3: Loosen the lug nuts

Using a tire iron, loosen each lug nut on your wheels until you can easily turn them manually with your hands.

Step 4: Lift the vehicle

Raise your car by placing the jack underneath the metal part of your vehicle. Avoid placing it under the plastic frame.

To best do this step, consider referring to your owner’s manual for additional assistance.

Step 5: Remove the tire

Carefully remove your tire by removing the lug nuts. Ensure that the lug nuts are in a safe box. Then, pull the tire towards you to take it out.

Step 6: Place the spare tire

Carefully place your spare tire, and using your hands, place the lug nuts, but don’t secure them just yet.

Step 7: Slowly lower your vehicle

Lower your car and tighten the lug nuts while the tire slowly touches the ground.

Step 8: Ultimately, lower your vehicle

Lower your car and secure the lug nuts as tight as possible. You’re now ready to drive your vehicle.

I quickly looked through Reddit for some pro tips, and I saw that u/Grosse Fahrt advised that a donut spare can potentially damage the drivetrain if you place it on your drive axle. So a spare full-sized identical wheel is better to keep around.

How Can I Prevent a Flat Tire?

There are many ways to prevent a flat tire, as prevention is better than cure. However, you must also be ready as even the most vigilant drivers can still have one, mainly due to wear and tear.

  • Regularly check tire pressure – Routinely check your tire pressure since a decrease in tire pressure could significantly raise your chances of puncturing your tire.
  • Stay aware of how much weight your vehicle can handle – Each car has a maximum weight capacity. Ensure your tires are safe by not exceeding the recommended capacity.
  • Rotate your tires if needed – Rotate them every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to maintain their durability. It’s also a great way to inspect your tires’ overall condition.
  • Make sure that your brakes are in good condition – Your brakes are directly linked to your wheels, and a poorly adjusted brake system can eventually wear your tires down. A mechanic is more than capable of doing this for you.
  • Be careful when driving – Hazardous road conditions or artifacts can damage your tires, so always be on the lookout. Another case is driving off-road with wheels that aren’t suited for the rougher road can also potentially damage your tires.


Most of us have driven on a flat tire at some point. Whether for a short period or longer, driving on a flat tire is never something you want to do.

Certain factors might cause you to drive with a flat tire, such as lack of spare tire, limited ability to change the tire along the way, etc.

Knowing “how far can you drive on a flat tire” will help you get out of the situation without damaging your vehicle or, most importantly, yourself if you are ever in this position.

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Henry-Speciale - Writer

Henry Speciale

I’m Henry, the content writer for PPMC Transport. We build our site entirely on experience and extensive market and customer research. My goal is to create a trusted platform where people can go to determine what is best for their vehicles in terms of safety and convenience. Keep an eye out for our useful guide!...more