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I took my PT Cruiser to the local Ford garage with a tire that had gone completely flat overnight (no previous problems) after returning from a trip. We drove 2 blocks on the flat tire (very slowly) to an air pump to re-inflate the tire, then to the garage. When I picked up the car, the counter guy (not the guy who repaired the tire) said that he wouldn't drive that tire on the interstate after it had been driven on the rim. Is that a legitimate concern? There is no visible damage to the sidewall.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Denise Koeth, Managing Editor at Tire Review Magazine With a completely flat tire, it*s never a good idea to drive because this can cause damage to the rim and/or tire. However, if you only drove it for two blocks, and a very low speed at that, it should be fine. I've actually been in a similar situation and no damage occurred - the tire ran just fine for the rest of its life cycle. I'm not sure if there was a lack of communication on the garage staff's part or if the counterman was simply giving out false information. I would hope that if there really were damage to a tire, the shop wouldn't repair it and return it to you in the first place. If you need some extra piece of mind, you could always call the service manager. As a side note: keep in mind for the future that sidewall damage to a flat tire isn't visible because it's on the inside of the tire. If driven long enough, the heat and pressure from the rim can cut into the tire and weaken the area where the tread and sidewall join.

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