Dean Thompson, 35, of Marshall Wallis Road, Chichester, South Shields, nabbed the Renault Clio – and took off.
But his charade came to light when the loud screeching of metal-on-road alerted police on Wednesday, February 16.
Thompson’s crime has landed him an interim driving ban ahead of his sentencing on Monday, April 25.
Prosecutor Sarah Malkinson told magistrates in South Tyneside: “He’s been at a friend’s address with the victim.
“The victim has gone to sleep that night and awoke to find that his car was not there.
“The defendant is later seen driving that vehicle. One tyre has come off and there is a loud noise due to metal touching the floor.
“He admitted to police that he had taken the vehicle without consent.
“The crown would say that it’s dangerous driving because he’s driving a car without a tyre on a road.”
Thompson pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said only that Thompson’s case needed a pre-sentence report.
Magistrates adjourned the case for a report and granted Thompson unconditional bail to be sentenced at the same court.