How To Tell If Tire Is Flat Or Just Needs Air? [Explained]

Imagine getting in your car to go for a drive and realising something doesn’t feel quite right about the tyres. Is the tyre flat or merely in need of air? It’s crucial to distinguish between the two for both your safety and the health of your car. We’ll walk you through the process of determining how to tell if tire is flat or just needs air in this post, arming you with the knowledge you need to confidently manage these circumstances.

If you want to know whether your tires are flat or simply need air, there are a few warning indicators that can assist you. The sidewall of a flat tire will be considerably thinner than the rest of the tire. On the sidewall, there will also be a noticeable bulge. You can drive the automobile and if the steering feels difficult, you probably have a flat tire. The tire is not always flat when it is deflated. The tire may occasionally only require air. In such cases, there won’t be a noticeable bulge and the sidewall won’t be much lower than the remainder of the tire.

Explain The Difference Between Flat Tire And Deflated Tire

Although they may sound similar, a flat tire and a deflated tire are two distinct problems that can affect your car’s performance and safety. Here is a difference between the two:

Flat Tire:

  • There is no air pressure left in a flat tire.
  • It may appear as though it is touching the ground because of the obvious drooping.
  • Driving with a flat tire is dangerous since you have less control and the tire and rim could get damaged.

Deflated Tire:

  • While not entirely flat, a deflated tire has less air pressure than it should.
  • Although not noticeably so, it can appear slightly flatter than the other tires.
  • Driving on a deflated tire can lead to inefficient fuel use, uneven tire wear and challenging vehicle handling.

In both situations, it’s critical to act quickly to resolve the situation. If you have a flat tire, you should probably change it or get help. You can fill up a tire at a petrol station to the recommended pressure if it is deflated. To avoid both flat tires and deflated tires and to guarantee a safe and comfortable ride, routine tire inspections and maintenance are essential.

How To Tell If Tire Is Flat Or Just Needs Air? [Explained]

Your car’s tires, which keep you travelling without a hitch, are its unsung heroes. However, what occurs if they’re not feeling their best? Does the tire need to be repaired or is it simply deflated? Don’t worry! we’ve you covered. To ensure your safety and a comfortable ride, we’ll explain the signals and provide you with easy procedures to evaluate whether your tyre is flat or requires air.

1. Visual Examination:

The first hint is frequently right in front of you. Look at your tire closely:

  • Flat Tyre:

The tire is probably flat if it appears to be drooping, touching the ground or bulging unusually.

  • Needs Air:

If the tire appears slightly underinflated but not noticeably so, it may only want some air.

2. Check Tire Pressure:

Take a tire pressure gauge and do the following:

  • Flat Tire:

Your tire is probably flat if the pressure reading is much below the recommended level.

  • Needs Air:

Your tire needs air but isn’t completely flat if the pressure reading is only a little bit below the required level.

3. Listening To Sounds:

Your car occasionally provides audio cues:

  • Flat Tire:

Your flat tire may be impacting the road unevenly if you hear pounding or flapping sounds while driving.

  • Needs Air:

A tire in need of air won’t typically generate these distinctive noises.

4. Controlling And Steering

Keep an eye on how your vehicle handles:

  • Flat Tire:

If one of your tires is flat, it may feel difficult or slow to turn and your vehicle may pull to one side.

  • Needs Air:

Low tire pressure may not significantly influence your steering or the steadiness of your vehicle.

What Are The Causes Of Flat Tires?

After learning about the difference between flat and deflated tires and how to tell if tire is flat or just needs air. Now, let’s learn about its causes. Thereby, to avoid flat tires, it’s crucial to routinely inspect your tires for signs of wear or low pressure. Unexpected flat tires might leave you stuck on the side of the road. A flat tire can occur for various common reasons, including:

1. Puncture:

Sharp things, such as nails, screws, or glass shards, can cause the tire to be punctured, allowing air to escape.

2. Damaged Valve Stem:

Your tire is inflated from the valve stem. Air may gradually leak out if it is damaged or has a leak.

3. Tire Bead Leak:

The tire bead serves as the rim’s sealant. Air may slowly leak out if it is damaged or not adequately sealed.

4. Worn Tread:

A tire’s tread may become worn over time, increasing its susceptibility to leaks and punctures.

5. Age And Wear:

Tires lose air as they get older because they are more prone to cracks and leaks.

Therefore, unexpected flats can be prevented by maintaining sufficient tire pressure, avoiding road hazards, and taking care of any problems right away.

What Are The Causes Of Deflated Tires?

Reduced fuel efficiency, poor handling, higher tire wear, and even the possibility of blowouts can all be consequences of underinflated tires.  Underinflated or deflated tires can impair your driving comfort and a vehicle’s performance. Tires can lose air pressure for several reasons:

1. Leakage:

Nail, screw, or other sharp item punctures can result in slow leaks. The valve stem, which connects the tire to the air source, is another area where leaks might form.

2. Temperature Variations:

In colder climates, the air inside tires contracts, resulting in a reduction in tyre pressure. Seasonal pressure variations are frequently caused by this.

3. Natural Air Loss:

All tires naturally lose a little quantity of air over time. If not consistently checked and fixed, this gradual air loss might cause underinflated tires.

4. Tire Wear:

As tires deteriorate, leaks and air loss increase. Damage is more prone to occur to worn-out treads.

5. Valve Stem Issues:

Air leaks can be caused by faulty or damaged valve stems. For maintaining optimum air pressure, these stems are essential.

Therefore, deflated tire problems can be avoided with routine tire pressure checks and maintenance, making driving safer and more comfortable.

How To Fix Flat Or Deflated Tires?

Your safety and the performance of your car depend on you fixing a flat tyre or a deflated tyre. Here is how to handle both problems:

1. Fix A Flat Tire:

These instructions will help you safely get back on the road if you find yourself with a flat tire. Pull over first in a level, safe location away from traffic. Put your car in park and activate your hazard lights. Open the trunk and take out the car jack, lug wrench, and spare tire. The lug nuts should be gently loosened but not taken off. Make sure the automobile is stable as you lift it off the ground using the car jack. Remove the flat tire after completing the lug nut removal.

Aligning the lug holes, replace them with the spare tire. As much as you can, hand-tighten the lug nuts. Use the jack to lower the car again, then take the jack out. Finally, crisscross the lug nuts with the lug wrench to ensure that they are completely tight. Before going to a repair shop to mend or replace the flat tyre, check the spare tire’s air pressure.

2. Fix A Deflated Tire:

You can usually fix a slightly underinflated tire without replacing it. Put the warning lights on and park your car in a secure location. To check the tire’s pressure, use a tire pressure gauge. You can re-inflate it at a petrol station if it is below the advised level. For information on the recommended tire pressure, consult the owner’s manual or the sticker on the driver’s side door.

The air hose should be connected to the tire’s valve stem. Fill the tire with air until the pressure is at an acceptable level. After a few days, recheck the tire’s pressure to make sure it’s holding air properly. It’s wise to check the tire for leaks or damage if you detect regular pressure decrease.

Therefore, prioritising safety and appropriate tire maintenance is essential in both situations. To make sure your vehicle’s tires are in top shape, seek assistance from a qualified mechanic if you are uncomfortable changing a flat tire or if the deflation keeps happening.


You may avoid wasting time, money, and stress by learning how to tell if tire is flat or just needs air. Simple air-top-ups or quickly fixing a flat tire both contribute to your safety and a more comfortable ride. You can actively ensure that your tires continue to move you forward without a hitch by remaining vigilant and implementing precautionary measures.

Now, that we’ve covered all the aspects of your query. We hope the above-mentioned information will be helpful to all the viewers. Additionally, if anyone faces any doubts feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading!

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