How To Learn the Real Rules of Flat Tires

Common sense tells you to pull over to the side of the road when you get a flat tire. Beyond that, what are the real rules of flat tires? You know the drill: The flat tire must be changed to the spare tire. Then, you go to the closest service station in a day or two to fix the flat tire. An attendant can fix the flat tire if it has a puncture along the tread and no other visible damage. You'll pay between $10.00 to $25.00 to get the flat tire fixed and mounted back on your car.

The real rules of flat tires come into play when you decide to drive on a flat tire. There are times when driving on a flat tire makes sense. For example, you may be one mile from home. Due to age or lack of tire changing abilities, you don't not want to stop. As a rule, you can drive about a mile on a flat tire without negative consequences. When you get to the service station, the flat tire may appear to have the same type of damage as a regular flat, and it can be repaired accordingly.

However, driving on a flat tire causes damage to the side walls, tread, and rim. Generally after driving two or three miles on a flat tire, the tire is completely shredded.

You'll need to buy not just one but two new tires. You must have equal wear on tires to maintain good steering control. So you'll need to replace two tires: the shredded one and its match on either the front or back of the car. A set of new tires costs from $100 to $200, depending on quality. Plus you'll have to consider the service charge. Now the cost to fix the tires jumps to roughly $250.

In the real rules for flat tires you cannot ignore damage to the rim. As the tire rolls over the road, the rim often gets bashed in and loses its circular shape. At this point, you have a choice between rim straightening and buying a new wheel. Rim straightening costs from $100 to $300. But rim straightening is always a risk. A damaged rim, even after it has been straightened, makes it difficult for a tire to fit and seal correctly. Consequently, a good tire mounted to a defective rim can become flat from a slow leak. A new wheel costs from $120 to $200, but with no risk. In this case, you'll pay $200 for two new tires, rim straightening or a new wheel for $200, and a service charge for about $100. Stopping for a flat isn't so bad after all when you consider the $500 consequences for driving on a flat.


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