Is it dangerous to drive on a tyre with a slow leak?

By Julia Freeman

Any tyre with low pressure is dangerous because it can impair your steering and braking. A puncture could also lead to a high-speed blowout.

If the leak is so slow you are tempted just to pump up more often, the likelihood is you will end up driving on an under-inflated or over-inflated tyre for an extended period – needlessly damaging the tyre and possibly other components too.
 
But how slow is a slow leak? Almost all car tyres are porous to a degree and small pressure drops over time are normal. That’s why our tyre professionals always tell you to check your tyre pressures frequently. Since many motorists simply don’t do this, the government has now passed legislation forcing manufacturers to build tyre pressure monitors into all new vehicles. The fact it has been made a law should tell you how serious the issue is.
 
You can easily buy your own pressure gauge – they are cheap – or use the air pumps in most filling stations. But calling into a Protyre garage is the best option: our tyre checks are quick, free, and professional and we have everything on hand to solve problems.

Book with Protyre

At Protyre we stock a range of run flat tyres, as well as standard tyres, all at incredibly competitive prices. Finding the right tyres for your car couldn’t be easier with our user-friendly tyre guide. Simply click the button below and you can search either using your vehicle’s registration or by using the information embossed on the side wall of your tyre.
 
If you would like any additional help or information, our qualified tyre professionals are always happy to assist. Either call your local Protyre garage or pop in when you’re next passing by.

Assessing the severity of a leak

If one of your car tyres consistently needs topping up with air every week you should seek an expert opinion from our tyre professionals to assess the cause. If it is losing air every day, it is definitely not safe to keep it on the car. Drive carefully to a Protyre garage where you could be offered a choice between a repair or new tyre.
 
If you have a spare, we recommend you replace the faulty tyre before driving anywhere - but only if it is in good condition and properly inflated.

Home and roadside repair kits

These are cheap too: sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. None of them are intended to provide a permanent repair. A DIY repair kit is only intended to help you get to a garage for a professional repair and tyre examination.
 
If there is an object in the tyre you should leave it in until you can reach a garage. Taking it out could leave an unpluggable hole.
 
Car tyres aren’t just a rubber tube, they are a complex structure of laminated layers, fibres and bracing materials that can be damaged by punctures. Pressure loss can also arise due to problems with the rims - so both need to be professionally investigated after a problem.

Run flat tyres

A run-flat tyre has strengthened sidewalls that allow it to support the car even if the pressure escapes. They tend to provide a slightly harsher ride although this is something a lot of drivers don’t even notice. Some have lower mileage than their conventional equivalents, but many motorists consider that a price worth paying.
 
There are run flat versions of most popular tyre ranges. Bridgestone is offering the superb Bridgestone Turanza T005 in run flat versions, and also the purpose-designed Bridgestone Driveguard. There are also runflat versions of the Bridgestone T001 and Bridgestone Potenza range. For winter runflats, take a look at the Falken Eurowinter HS449.
 
Run flat tyres are only recommended for cars that have electronic tyre pressure monitors (TPMS).

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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