Tires can go flat for many reasons. Sometimes you can’t fix it right away.
But just how long can that flat wait to be fixed?
Let’s look at why a tire may go flat and how long that flat can wait to be fixed.
Why Would a New Tire Become Flat Overnight?
Tires develop flats overnight all the time. Knowing why it happens can help you prevent this in the future.
It is a good idea to walk around your car and check the tires before driving.
Defect in the valve stem
All new tires come with new valve stems. Unfortunately, even new valve stems can be defective.
If the valve stem leaks air, your tire will go flat.
New tires on newer model cars have valve stem sensors that let you see the tire pressure on your dashboard.
So if you walk around your car before getting in it, you can see a low tire before you start driving.
Heat causes the air in the tire to expand, creating pressure that can cause air to escape from the tire and cause a flat.
This is why people get flats on a highway; the tire heats up while driving, and the air leaks out, causing a flat tire.
Issue with the tire mounting
You can use an old rim for your new tire but it can let air seep out if the rim has a dent.
If you put a new tire on an old rim, check it carefully for dents before putting on the tire; it will save you from having to fix the flat on the road.
Improperly sealed tire
When the tire was mounted, it had to be sealed (to keep the air in it). If the seal is not good, the tire will leak air.
If you’ve had the tire repaired before, the patch on the tire may not be sealed as it is causing the tire to deflate.
Puncture with sharp objects
Usually, when a puncture occurs, the puncturing object remains attached to the tire and causes a slow leak. As a result, you might not notice the puncture instantaneously. You’ll be surprised the next day you noticing a flat tire as it deflated slowly overnight.
Sharp objects like screws, nails, glass, or wood pieces can make your tire punctured while driving.
Leaks in tire bead
The air of your tire may escape slowly overnight if something like tiny stones, sand, and debris get stuck in the tire bead and provide a way for air to come out of the tire.
People with bad intentions can puncture your tire to get revenge if they find your car parking in a solitary place. A jealous neighbor or fun-loving teenager can also puncture your car or simply deflate it by releasing the air.
Inspect the tire to confirm whether it’s punctured or just deflated before taking any step.
What Happens if the Flat Tire Sits Too Long?
Tire develops a flat spot
Being left in the same position on a deflated tire can cause the tire to flatten out in that area. This flat spot will cause the tire to vibrate and the car to shimmy from the hardened spot in the rubber. Eventually, that tire will develop a crack in that spot, and a flat tire will result.
Erosion caused by the elements
Where heat causes the tire to inflate, cold weather will cause the tire pressure to decrease.
As the air shrinks, the tire will deflate; riding on this deflated tire can cause damage to the tire resulting in a flat tire.
UV rays from the sun can cause cracking in the tires as well.
Bubbles in the rubber can develop. Bubbles on the outside of the tire can be seen; internal bubbles can’t be seen.
This puts the tire at risk of popping or developing a leak.
Leaving the flat tire in one position too long can cause a rubber tire to deteriorate.
Once that starts, you cannot stop it. As the rubber rots, slow leaks and blowouts can happen. This puts you and others at risk of an accident.
How to Avoid Getting a Flat Tire
Regular tire-pressure checks
Checking the tire pressure with a gauge (a manual or digital gauge) weekly will help ensure your tire pressure stays consistent in both hot and cold weather.
It can also alert you to a slow leak before it causes a flat tire.
Move the tires
Moving the car one foot to change the spot on the tire that has the weight of the vehicle on it can prevent flat spots and bubbles.
Never leave a car you are not using parked in the same place for long periods for this reason.
Jack the car off the ground
If there is a weak spot in a tire or you know you have a slow leak, jacking that area of the car off the ground will keep the weight of that tire.
For example, if the tire is on the right driver’s side, use a jack stand to jack up the right driver’s side of the car.
Get the right size tires
Tires are expensive; it is tempting to save money by getting a different tire than the manufacturer recommends.
This a bad idea that will lead to alignment problems and cause issues with the other three tires.
Only buy the size tire the owner’s manual recommends.
Check the tires for bloated patches
Discolorations, pinches, and anything you don’t see on a new tire need to be checked.
The safety of you, your family, and other drivers are in danger when you drive on tires with a structural issue.
If you notice a problem, do not drive at high speeds!
Keeping the wheels aligned
Proper wheel alignment keeps the right amount of wheel on the road; this is important in the rain when water under the tires can cause you to hydroplane.
If your car is pulling to one side, you may have an alignment problem. Alignment problems will create wear on one side of a tire and later cause a slow leak.
Prevent exposure by covering the tires
Tire covers keep harmful UV rays from rotting the tires prematurely, causing cracks in the rubber, and protecting the tires from extreme hot and cold weather.
The thicker the tire covers, the more protected from the climate your tires are.
Watch where you are driving. Avoid potholes and objects in the road that can cause a dent in the rim or puncture a tire.
Also, watch where you park, avoid small metal objects, glass, and other objects that can puncture a tire.
I Have a Flat Tire but No Spare; What Can I Do
Upgrade the flat tire
Buying a better quality tire gives you a better grade of rubber. Run-flat tires let you drive on a flat tire to a safer location or a repair shop.
Unfortunately, most cars with run-flat tires don’t have a spare tire.
Keep a repair kit in the car
Keeping a tire repair kit, Slime Repair Kit, or Fix-A-Flat in the car will give you repair options while on the road.
1. Tire repair kit
You can get a Plug kit or a Patch kit to repair a tire. Both kits require you to take the flat tire off to fix the flat.
a) The Plug Kit lets you plug the hole in the tire. How big the gap is and where the whole is located will determine if you can use a plug kit.
b) The Patch Kit comes with patches and adhesive to fix the flat. Like the Plug Kit, how big the hole is and where it is on the tire will determine if the patch kit is used.
2. Slime Repair Kit
Slime Repair Kit contains the slime machine and the slime to repair a tire. You place the slime in the machine and pump it in the tire to seal the flat. If the flat is too big, the slime may not work.
Fix-A-Flat comes in a can that you push onto the valve stem; it blows a tire sealing material into the tire. It is cheaper than the slime machine and effortless to use.
Note: Fix-a-flat and the slime repair are not meant to fix the flat; they seal the tire so you can get somewhere to have it fixed. You cannot drive more than 50/mph or longer than three days with these options. However, they do inflate the tire so the tire can be fixed the next day.
Make sure to have roadside assistance
Having a roadside assistance number on your phone lets, you call them to fix the flat.
The downside is that you may have a long wait before they can come and assist you.
Keep the name of a reliable tow service in your phone just in case.
The Flat Tire Takeaway
Never leave tire flat for more than 24 hours. The longer that car sits on the flat, the more damage it can do to the tire and your car. An old tire can become flat but new tires can also become flat.
Using the information in this blog will help you spot problems ahead of time, help you avoid a flat tire, and help you if your tire becomes flat. Remember, a good spare tire can help you when you have a flat tire!