Oh no, not again! – This was precisely how I reacted when I found out my tire had gone flat at a local grocery store parking lot. I did not have time to fix it as I had another appointment for the day. So, I asked myself: Can I leave my car parked with a flat tire? Well, I did and did not return until the following weekend.
Leaving a car parked with a flat tire for a long time is not a good idea. It will cause irreparable damage to the tire and possible damage to the rim. When the flat tire bears the vehicle’s weight, the tire’s rubber fabric will be compromised. Corrosion on the rim may happen due to its exposure to cold temperatures or rain.
Back to my experience at the grocery store parking, I had to replace the tire as advised by the mechanic.
Possible Tire Damage When it Sits Flat
When the tire sits flat, it bears the vehicle’s weight, and it can cause structural damage to the tire even if the tire is not in motion. When I let my tire sit for five days, the mechanic found some cracks around the tire’s shoulder. Therefore, I had to replace it with a new one to ensure my safety.
As much as possible, avoid letting your tire sit flat for a very long time. If you have no choice but to leave it parked, you can jack up the side of the vehicle where you have the flat tire. This tip will help avoid tire damage due to the flat tire bearing the vehicle’s entire weight.
A tire sitting flat for a very long tire can also deteriorate. This scenario is especially true if you expose your tire o changing temperatures. Like other things, a tire also requires proper care and maintenance to stay operational and give optimal performance.
If the tire is sitting flat due to a puncture, the metallic portion of the tire can build up corrosion, and if it does, the tire would likely become irreparable.
You might think it is acceptable to leave your tire sitting flat as it is rubber and is flexible. However, it would be best not to do it as it will severely damage the tire. Attend to your flat tire issue immediately. Get it repaired within the next 24 hours so that it will not cost you more.
I want to repeat – if you cannot get your tire fixed as soon as you get it flat, you can jack up the side of your vehicle when the tire is flat to protect it from any possible damage.
Potential Rim Damage Caused by a Flat Tire
Your car tire also serves as rim protection. Your rims stay safe as long as your tire has enough air pressure, as it can avoid contact with the road surface or any road objects.
If your tire gets flat, there is a high chance that damages can occur on the rim. If you continue to drive your vehicle with a flat tire, the rim could get wounds as it can come in contact with the tarmac. You can also hit a curb or a pothole, and this can likely bend your rim.
What about if you will not drive with a flat tire and leave your car parked? Can parking your vehicle with a flat tire damage your rim?
If you decide to stop and park the car as soon as it gets flat, it will likely not cause rim damage if you get your tire fixed in the next 24 hours. However, as I already pointed out, parking your car with a flat tire for a long time can damage the rim.
The typical damage your rim will suffer when you park your car with a flat tire for a long time is corrosion. Corrosion on the rim will not only make it look ugly. It will cause a possible slow leak, which is a common reason for getting another instance of a flat tire.
How Long a Car Can Sit on a Flat Tire
You already learned that the tire would likely fail if you let it sit for a long time. The sidewall of the tire could get weak as it bears the vehicle’s weight. The question now is, how long is safe to leave your car parked with a flat tire?
If you ask around, you will probably get a uniform answer: overnight.
Generally, it is okay to park your car overnight with a flat tire. It will not do the damages you’ve learned so far. But if you can get your tire fixed as soon as you notice that it is flat, the better. This way, you can avoid any possible damages to the tire and the rim.
If you click here, people in this thread have some critical points you can consider regarding parking your vehicle with a flat tire. Most of them advise not to do it.
Aside from the potential damages to the tire and the rim, what are the possible reasons you should not park a car with a flat tire? Well, there is a possibility that you will get an illegal parking ticket. Worst case scenario, your vehicle might get towed.
Additionally, if you leave your car with a flat tire unattended, it will attract the criminals around the area where you parked it. Criminals can strip anything valuable or anything inside your vehicle that can make them money. Now, you would not like to be in such a situation.
Get some help if you don’t have a way to fix your tire when it gets flat. Call a towing company to tow your car to the nearest repair shop. If you had no choice but to leave it parked for a short period, make sure that the area where you park the vehicle is safe.
What to Do When You Get a Flat Tire
Getting a flat tire is not a funny situation. It can get you stranded on the road. So, what things can you consider to help you when you get a flat tire?
First off, you must do regular checks with your tires to see visible damages or if they have the correct pressure. Apart from the routine inspection, you must also have some tools to help you when it does happen.
The typical flat tire solution that most drivers and car owners have in their trunks is a fix-a-flat solution. If the puncture or the tire damage is not severe, fix-a-flat can assist you for a short period. It can allow you to drive your vehicle to the nearest shop or tire dealer to get it repaired or replaced.
Another alternative is using a plug or patch kit to fix the tire until you reach a repair shop. I want to insist that these quick solutions are only temporary. It would be best if you got the tire adequately repaired at a shop using the rubber curing method to ensure safety.
If the tire is deemed irreparable, it is worth getting a new tire. Don’t compromise your safety over a few pennies you save by sticking with the damaged tire.
What if you don’t have an option to repair the flat tire temporarily? You do not have a spare tire. You do not have a fix-a-flat solution. You do not have a plug or patch kit. What can you do?
If you are in the middle of the highway, check the area and see if you can find a space to park your car for a short period safely. If you find one, park your car and come back with either a spare tire or a repair kit so that you can move your vehicle to the nearest shop.
If you are in an area where you cannot safely park your vehicle, it is best to get some help from a towing company to assist you. It could cost you some bucks to do that, but trust me, that is the best solution to avoid worsening the situation.
Getting a flat tire can happen to anyone, anywhere. Parking your vehicle with a flat tire for a short period or in the next 24 hours can be okay. It may not cause severe damages to your tire or rim.
However, if you leave your vehicle with a flat tire parked for an extended period, you must be ready to face the possible irreparable damage to the tire. The tire’s sidewall or the structural components of the tire can weaken, making it unsafe to drive.
Your rim could also potentially suffer from corrosion if you allow your tire to sit flat.
Therefore, when you get a flat tire, it is best to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid further complications. If you had to park your car with a flat tire for a short period, ensure that the area is safe.