How Low Can A Tire Be Before It Is Unsafe? Is It Dangerous To Drive With Low Tire Pressure?

As part of owning a vehicle, there is the need of ensuring that you drive the car with the right tire pressure.

The tire pressure aspect might be something people often neglect, but it is important that you focus on understanding how best to inflate your car.

So, is there a limit on how low the tire pressure can be before driving?

Safe tire pressure for most passenger cars would be from 30 to 35 PSI. You can get this specific information about your car’s recommended tire pressure from the car owner’s manual.

This would help in maintaining the tire pressure within the right range.

However, how long would the tire pressure have to go before it is considered unsafe?

It can vary from one car to another, but so long as the tire pressure is below 20PSI, then you should not even drive on that wheel. It is best to inflate it or change it with a spare tire until you fix the tire with low tire pressure.

Driving on Low Tire Pressure

As much as you can drive a car with low tire pressure, we do not recommend it. Chances are you will end up with more unnecessary damage to the tire than you could have avoided.

In case you have no option, make sure the tire pressure is not too low. You would visually see that such a tire pressure would just damage the tire so there is no need to drive on low tire pressure.

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If the tire pressure is enough to allow driving, then do it only on very short distances. The idea is to help get to a tire shop and diagnose the low tire pressure to have it fixed. Sometimes it could be a slow puncture.

You may also want to remove any excess weight from the car. This would relieve the weight over the tire before you can have it fixed.

So, it is possible to drive on low tire pressure, but it should not be too low or you risk damaging the tire.

What Stands Out as Low Tire Pressure?

Many people drive around in with cars with low tire pressure. This is simply because they do not understand what it means by having low tire pressure.

So long as the tire pressure is below the recommended threshold by the car manufacturer, then you have a low tire pressure.

An example is when the recommended range is 30 to 35PSI and you have 25PSI, then that is low tire pressure.

Now, there is low tire pressure and unsafe low tire pressure. The moment you start having tire pressure below 20PSI, then you are basically driving the car on a flat tire. This is now unsafe low tire pressure.

Most cars now have a tire-pressure monitoring system. Its aim is to alert you in case of low tire pressure.

When the TPMS light comes on, it might be the reason you need a proper check-up of the tires to see which one has low tire pressure.

Here is a quick video on how TPMS works

The general rule about tire pressure is that you should not have lower than 25% of the recommended tire pressure from the manufacturer.

If the tire pressure goes below this value, have it inflated and check for potential punctures if you lose tire pressure again.

Reasons for Low Tire Pressure

Tires generally do not lose air pressure most of the time. However, some things might make the loss of tire pressure more often than usual. Here are some of them;

1. Having a puncture

This would be the most common reason you have low tire pressure. If you end up having a nail in the tire, then expect low tire pressure due to a puncture.

Luckily, fixing such a puncture is not a problem. There are many tire shops along the highway or even in your town that can repair this damage and get you back on the road.

Newer cars now have repair kits too. The aim is for you to easily patch the puncture yourself and get back on the road.

2. You have bent rims or wheels

Low tire pressure could also be a result of bent wheels. Sometimes how you drive the car can potentially leave you with bent rims. The most common way you can bend the rims is when you hit potholes and curbs all the time.

The bent wheels would slowly release the tire pressure to a point now you have low tire pressure most of the time. So, what is the solution?

The best you can do in this case is to have the wheel straightened to ensure there is a perfect seal around the whole tire.

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Sometimes wheel repair might not be possible. This means you should buy new wheels to replace the bent ones.

3. Late for a refill

This is also a common reason for having low tire pressure. Sometimes you might have been driving the car for too long without checking the tire pressure and now it is low.

As such, you should definitely consider getting a tire refill to solve the problem.

First, measure the tire pressure when the tires are still cold. It would help you get an accurate reading. Now, inflate the tire until it gets to the recommended range.

You can inflate the tire at home if you have the right tools such as an air compressor. If you do not have one, head over to the gas station to refill for free most of the time.

4. You have old and worn tires

Tires can last a long time, but it does not mean you keep using them even if they are old and worn.

Another thing could be that you have poor wheel alignment and now there is excessive tread wear. This of course leads to more chances of blowouts and still losing tire pressure more often.

The solution to old tires is simply having them replaced. Take the time to find good tires within your budget and you can enjoy driving without thinking of low tire pressure.

Here is a video on why tire pressure inflation is important.

YouTube video


What is the correct tire pressure for my car?

You need to check the owner’s manual to learn more about the tire pressure recommended for your car. Also, check the driver-side door label to find out more about such information.

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Can tire pressure be low during the cold season?

It is possible for the tire pressure to drop during the cold season, but it will not drop by much. Most of the time, it would drop by 1PSI. So, you should still keep the tire pressure within the right range.

Is it expensive to fix a tire puncture?

No. It should cost you an average of $15 to fix a puncture. Also, it takes around 30 minutes even for the worse punctures to be fixed. So, it is something that can be done fast and you will be back to driving.

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