How Long Can You Drive With Low Tire Pressure

how long can you drive with low tire pressure

A car needs the right tire pressure to run correctly. The moment the tire pressure goes below a certain threshold, it becomes a big problem even for the driver. That is why the car manufacturer would have specific recommendations on the right tire pressure to always use right now.

It is possible to drive a car with low tire pressure, but this cannot go on for long. Make sure that if you notice a low tire pressure, have it refilled to the right level. In case this happens again, it could be a flat tire and it needs proper repair.

Reasons You Have Low Pressure

A couple of things could lead to having low tire pressure. Here are some of them.

  • Having bent rims or wheels

Living in an area with many potholes or having an aggressive driving style can often leave you with bent wheels.

If the wheels are bent, you can potentially have air leaks from the tire. So, make sure to always check if you have bent wheels before addressing other issues.

  • Your tires are worn or old

Worn or old tires are not the best for keeping the air in them. You may notice that your old tire has cracks on its sidewall. These cracks can now lead to low tire pressure if not addressed early. For such a case, simply replace the worn old tires.

  • Punctures

Sometimes you can be driving in an area with sharp objects. In such a scenario, you may end up with a punctured tire leading to air leaks. It is then important to check the tires for signs of puncture before going on a long drive.

If you have been driving through construction sites lately, you might have got yourself some nails puncturing the tires.

  • Faulty tire valves

Tire valves can also get faulty with time. When the valve is broken, it is not able to hold the tire pressure correctly. So, you might as well replace the tire valves before refilling the tires as they would just leak the air again.

Signs of You Have Low Pressure

Signs of You Have Low Pressure

One of the common signs would be that you see the TPMS or Tire Pressure Monitoring System light comes on the dashboard. When you see this light, it might be time to stop and inspect the highlighted tire just to be sure the car is still drivable.

Just because you have the TPMS light on does not always mean it is a flat tire. Sometimes it could be an early warning telling you there is a problem with the tires and just take a look. So, pull into the nearest auto shop you see along the way.

Dealing with a slow leak is the worst. You might not even be sure it is a puncture. So, if you find yourself having to add more tire pressure each week, it could be a puncture and it needs addressing.

There will be other signs of having low tire pressure. They include;

  • The car pulls to one side
  • There is a thumping noise coming from the side where the pressure is low
  • The fuel economy is also affected
  • You can visually see that the tires are flat

You do not need to wait until the tire is completely flat to take action. Anytime before you drive off, simply do a quick check of the car tire to see if they are still at the right tire pressure level or not.

Here is a video on why to monitor your tire pressure

Are there dangers of driving with low tire pressure?

It is possible that you may experience a few problems here and there when driving with low tire pressure. It is estimated that around 58% of the drivers did not know what the TPMS light meant, so they did not address the issue when it was highlighted.

This shows that there are many drivers on the road who would not address such a serious issue when it first shows up leading to possible accidents when the tire finally has a blowout.

So, the biggest danger of driving on low tire pressure is that you are likely to face a tire blowout due to increased friction. That is dangerous for a person even if you are going as low as 25 mph.

The worst can be when you are in the fast lane and then you end up with a tire blowout.

Effects of Driving with Low Tire Pressure

Effects of Driving with Low Tire Pressure

It is possible that some people might ignore the TPMS light and just keep on driving. When you do this, expect to experience some issues with the car. They include.

  • The car drops in gas mileage

Low tire pressure can potentially lead to a drop in gas mileage. A good example is when the tire pressure reduces to as low as 6 PSI, then you can expect the gas mileage to drop by 5%. That is a lot, thus the need to refill the tire pressure.

  • You can smell burning rubber

Other than the brakes or other causes of having a burning rubber smell, it could also be that you have more fumes due to low tire pressure. This is mostly because there is increased friction between the tire and the road leading to the smell.

  • The traction level declines

Low tire pressure may also affect the traction level. This is where you may notice that the car has a problem getting traction.

Other than having traction problems, you may also notice that the thread wear is faster than normal. The tire would largely wear on the sides and not the middle part. For this reason, ensure you fill the tire pressure properly.

How to Avoid Low Tire Pressure

Sometimes it is good when you address the issue before it becomes a problem. So, how would you prevent low tire pressure? Here are some ideas.

  • First, get yourself a good tire pressure gauge. This is for those who do not have TPMS in their cars. The tire pressure gauge will help you have an accurate reading of a tire if you suspect it has a leakage.
  • Make sure that you also check the tire pressure more regularly. This ensures that you have the tire pressure at the right level.
  • In case you hit a pothole, check on your tires. There could be damage that you did not know.
  • In case you also drive on rough terrain or a construction site, the chances are you can hit something sharp. So, it s best to check the tires just to ensure it is all good before driving again.
  • Those with old worn tires should replace them with newer and high-quality tires. This prevents the need for refilling the tires more often.

Here is a quick video on how to check tire pressure


How do you know the tire pressure is low?

The first sign is that you can visually see if the tire is flat or low on tire pressure. You can also see the TPMS light is on. Just make sure you do not ignore the TPMS light or you might end up with a blown tire.

How far can you drive on low tire pressure?

It depends on how low the tire pressure is. Sometimes it can be low but not too low allowing you to drive to a tire repair shop and get it fixed. However, if it is a flat tire, get your spare mounted rather than driving on it.

Will low pressure bend my wheels?

It is possible to have bent wheels if you keep driving on low pressure. This is because there is not enough tire pressure to cushion your wheels in case you hit a pothole.

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