Not all rides are comfortable and smooth sailing. There are drives when both the driver and passengers will unexpectedly deal with an overheating engine, busted lights or flat tyres. The latter is among the most common car problem experienced in city drives, outback trips and road trips for all vehicle types. Here at Peninsula Auto Clinic our passionate Northern Beaches mechanics are here to help with some useful flat tyre tips and tricks, such as how to know if the tyre has the correct pressure and whether it is safe to drive.
Can You Drive a Short Distance with a Flat Tyre?
Yes, but it all depends on which tyre your vehicle is using. Several car manufacturers have built-in a feature in their cars that allows driving them for a short distance to get to a petrol station or an auto shop. BMW, for example, has the so-called “Run-flat tyres” feature. This feature allows the driver to keep the vehicle moving with a punctured and deflating tyre. These tyres come with stronger sidewalls. Commonly enforced with steel, it remains intact after being punctured to allow the driver to reach a service centre for a tyre replacement or repair.
While it offers great convenience when the tyre gets punctured, it also has some downsides. It is significantly more expensive, with it being about 25% more, compared to normal ones. While it reduces the vehicle’s running weight, this special tyre’s construction impacts ride quality. For those who wish to keep driving with a flat tyre, our mechanics recommend a maximum speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour.
How To Check Tyre Pressure?
Checking the tyre pressure before a drive is the best preventive measure to avoid having a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere. It could be done at home or in a service station. When doing the latter, there’s a device for checking and inflating the tyre. This equipment usually sits away from the petrol pumps and comes with a sign identifying it.
For car owners unsure about the right amount of pressure for their vehicle, car manufacturers indicate the recommended pressure in the car manual. There are also vehicles where a sticker is attached to the car body indicating the correct pressure for the tyres.
These steps ensure car owners accurately check their tyre pressure:
- Remove the valve cap by unscrewing it from the tyre.
- Using a pressure gauge or the hose of an automatic air compressor, attach any of those pieces of equipment to the valve.
- The tyre pressure is commonly displayed on the automatic air compressor’s display or the attached metre in the pressure gauge.
How Often Should You Pump Up Tyres?
Our mona vale mechanics recommend checking your car’s tyre pressure at least once a month. We recommend having it assessed when the tyres are cold, usually during the early hours of the morning before taking it for a drive. We also recommend checking the tyres cold as it provides an accurate reading of inflation pressures. This pressure usually goes up when the tyres warm up.
If the tyres do not meet the recommended pressure, it is best to fill them up quickly. Using an automatic air compressor depends from one services station to another, but these steps usually help fill up the tyre using an air compressor:
- Unscrew the valve cap from the tyre.
- Attach the air compressor’s hose to the valve. It is best to apply pressure on the hose to ensure air does not escape while filling the tyre.
- For manual air compressors, press the lever to start refilling the tyre. On the other hand, simply holding down and applying pressure on the hose is all it takes when using an automatic air compressor. This device will let out a sound when it reaches the desired tyre pressure. It is always best to periodically check the pressure when filling up the tyre.
- Check the tyre pressure. While air compressors at service stations offer significant help filling the tyres, some devices are not calibrated and may not provide an accurate measurement. Our mechanics recommend having a tyre pressure gauge on hand to double-check the tyre pressure.
It is best to fill up the tyres when it is cold. For cars driven more than two kilometres and with hot tyres, mechanics recommend increasing the pressure by 20 to 50 kPA.
Can You Drive For 5 Kilometres with a Flat Tyre?
It is dangerous to continue driving with a flat tyre. But continuously driving until reaching a service station or a tyre shop is the only option for some drivers. When the driver finds themself in this situation, our Mona Vale mechanics advise checking whether the vehicle has a punctured or flat tyre. These two cases vary significantly. Knowing which is which helps in coming up with a better decision. Punctured tyres usually come with rapid loss of air as the tyre is being cut or sliced by a sharp object. On the other hand, a flat tyre is a slow leak resulting from issues around tyre beads, leaky tube valves and old or worn tyres.
To answer the question, yes, it is legal to continue driving with a flat tyre. However, it is best to minimise the distance to avoid consequences associated with driving with a flat or punctured tyre.
Choose Sydney’s Top Northern Beaches Mechanic Now!
For over 25 years, our team has been helping car owners have a functioning vehicle before going on any type of drive. We understand every bit and piece of the components that make up a car, regardless of brand, size and type. Our team is composed of the most experienced and talented mechanics in NSW. All have met the requirements set by NSW Fair Trading under prevailing laws.
After spending years dealing with all car types and vehicle issues, we are confident we can provide the best solution to any car trouble on this side of Sydney. We specialise in a wide range of car services and repairs, including brake service, exhaust repair and pink slip inspections. Contact Peninsula Auto Clinic to experience why we remain the number 1 and most trusted Northern Beaches mechanics up to this day.