How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire? (+ Safety Tips)

Are you wondering how long can you drive on a spare tire? Or have you been using a spare for a long time, and you want to be sure when it will be due for a change? If so, you are on the right page, as this article has the answers you need.

As you read further in this article, You will get answers to questions such as how long can you drive on a spare tire, How fast you should drive on a spare, the dangers of driving too long on a spare tire, and lots more.

A spare tire is smaller and not as heavy as a standard tire for some time. A suitable replacement should be gotten after using a spare tire. Spare tire usage should not exceed a distance of 50 miles.

A distance of 50 miles is enough to get assistance or replace the damaged tire. Maintaining these limits means preserving the lifespan of the tire. It can come in handy and be used later on if one encounters a similar issue.

Also Read: Walmart Tire Installation Cost (Everything To Know)

Types of Spare Tires

How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire

Knowing the type of spare tires will help you know how long you can drive on a spare. With several types of spare tires in existence, a user’s preference is mainly determined by the vehicle category in question.

Compact and Midsize Cars: Cars of small and medium size typically use short-term compact spares, often referred to as ‘donut’ tires. These are small tires that usually fit inside your vehicle, beneath the trunk’s floor. Donut spare tires are different in size and shape from regular tires and have different tire pressure requirements. Smaller vehicle tires need about 35 PSI, while spare tires generally need about 60 PSI.

SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks: Vehicles of bigger sizes are usually built with full-size spare tires. With more significant weight than many sedans and cars of medium size, Spare tires of these vehicles are usually more significant to complement the vehicle weight and other extra things in the vehicle that may add more weight to its original weight.

Usually better in quality than spare tires, full-size spare tires require replacement also as they are not as durable and may also be smaller than standard tires. Different manufacturers may also manufacture these tires compared to other tires.

Regular inspection of full-size spare tires should be conducted too, significantly when not in use and are tightened to the car’s base, exposing them to the worse conditions.

How to Drive Safely on a Spare Tire

Driving carefully on a spare tire is a good safety practice, whether one has a full-size extra tire or a donut spare. Some good habits that may help drivers in practicing safe driving are:

1. A Regular Check of the Pressure of Spare Tires, Even When Unused

With varying inflation pressure, spare tires need to be examined more frequently than regular tires. Hence, checking if they are adequately inflated is advised. Spare tires with low pressure render little or no help.

2. When Driving With Spare Tires, Use the Brakes Early

Driving with spare tires may affect the vehicle’s anti-lock brake system (ABS), making its indicator come on or making the ABS malfunction. Furthermore, donut spare tires may cause inaccuracies in the speedometers of some vehicles. Using the brakes early enough, enough space to the nearest car can ensure nothing surprises the driver.

3. Be Extra Careful When Driving in Severe Weather Conditions

Usually, without advanced treads, spare tires cannot create the grip regular tires create. Therefore, spare tires are prone to slithering or swerving (slipping on wetlands).

4. Change Spare Tires for Normal Tires as Soon as You Can

As said earlier, a spare tire is smaller and not as heavy as a standard tire. A suitable replacement with a normal tire should be gotten as soon as possible. Spare tire usage should not exceed a distance of 50 miles.

How Fast Should You Drive on a Spare Tire?

How Fast Should You Drive on a Spare Tire

To know how fast to drive on spare tires, the driver’s comfort on the road should play a key role. Stability is a primary reason why it is advised that drivers should go at a maximum of 50mph when using a spare tire.

Limiting the usage of spare tires is strategic as it goes down to its structure. Spare tires lack properly made threads, unlike regular tires.

This can, in effect, make the care handling poor and risk slipping mostly when the road isn’t good. In addition, spare tires are usually punctured by objects on the road surface, including nails.

Also, having a small size, unlike the three other tires, means more revolution is required to be on par with the other. Tire security systems are usually not enabled until a standard tire replaces the spare tire.

What Are the Dangers of Driving Too Long on a Spare Tire?

If you drive too long on a spare tire, it may cause damage to another part of the car, including the car suspension and the transmission.

In worse cases, the spare tire may become worn out, creating more complications to repair or leaving the vehicle owner stranded where no solution is closely available.

Never forget that extra tires should have adequate pressure to make them worthy of use.

Also Read: Service Tire Monitor System (Meaning, Causes & Solutions)

How Long Can You Drive on a Donut Spare Tire?

Generally, a vehicle should not go a distance exceeding 50 miles and not more than a maximum speed of 50 mph before changing a donut tire to a regular tire.

An important reason to avoid overusing a donut tire is the existence of just a little tread or none, which makes it susceptible to projectiles and road hazards. In addition, being small in size compared to the other three tires makes it roll faster to stay in line with other car tires.

How Long Can You Drive on a Run-Flat Tire?

Manufacturers have discovered that run-flat tires are less expensive to preserve than standard tires. Hence, they have become more common.

For example, recent BMW or MINI models come with a run-flat-tire. Although they don’t last as long as an original spare tire, they are usually tougher than many other tires.

Run-flat tires, unlike spare tires, are typically made to withstand a lot of road threats, including punctures.

Unlike traditional tires, a run-flat tire does not go flat or blow out and can be used for about 50 miles after a puncture before a replacement is required. However, replacing traditional tires can be less expensive than run-flat tires.

With extra distance to cover on a run-flat tire, inspecting the tire immediately after a change in tire pressure is noticed. Making this check lets the driver know the distance he may go on such a tire before he has no other choice but to replace the tire.

How Long Can You Drive on a Full-Size Spare Tire?

How Long Can You Drive on a Full-Size Spare Tire

You can drive up to 100 miles safely on a full-size spare tire, but check your owner’s manual to see the recommended distance and speed.

Also, have your full-size spare inspected or replaced at your dealer or local tire shop as soon as possible.

For a long while, cars were manufactured having spare tire shafts with the capacity to use standard spare tires. Some recent car models and several old models are still made like this.

Large vehicles, including trucks and SUVs, have standard size spares. While full-size spare tires are large and need more prominent space for storing, regular tires are not as durable as full-size spares; hence, using them the same way is impossible.

After a vehicle has been taken to a repair shop and confirmed that the punctured tire could not be repaired, a spare tire may be fixed to the original rim.

Remember, regular size spare tires are produced by different manufacturers and not those who made other tires for the vehicle; this may allow it to have little difference from the remaining tires.

Replacing with another tire immediately that the car owner can afford is non-negotiable and the best option, although having a spare tire means it can be done after a while.

What Is a Run-Flat Tire?

Tires produced to keep pressure after being punctured are known as run-flat-tire. Run-flat tires come with certain benefits and shortcomings, including:

  • After a puncture, run tires may not flatten for up to 50 miles.
  • Space-saver tires or full-size spares are not as durable as run-flat tires.
  • They are usually more expensive than standard tires.

When a run-flat tire is in use, attention should be paid to the tire pressure indicator. When it shows low pressure, the vehicle should be stopped and the tires checked.

if a puncture can be seen on the tire, then heading straight to a service point to replace or repair the tire is expected.

What if You Use a Fix-A-Flat Product?

Vehicles may be designed without spare tires for various reasons, including reducing weight. However, it is not necessarily the worst idea because a fix-a-flat product may be used on a flat tire until you can get it changed.

This method makes driving possible even after having a flat, but it has a significant disadvantage.

A reduced distance of two to four miles depending on the production average is a disadvantage of using a fixed or a flat sealant. Notwithstanding this is a temporary solution, tires should be fixed soonest.

Do You Need to Drive Differently With a Spare Tire?

How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire

As stated earlier, spare tires are merely temporary solutions. After installing them, driving carefully cannot be overemphasized until the regular tires are installed.

For easy usage, spare tires are usually smaller than full-size tires. However, the halting of a vehicle may be affected if a spare tire is used.

On a Wet road, due to rain or any other reason, Driving with a spare tire demands extra care and diligence. For example, you have to drive slowly, not get too close to the next vehicle on the road, and use the brakes properly when braking.

Also Read: How Long Does An Alignment Take?

Frequently Asked Questions – How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

How Long Does a Full-Size Spare Last?

Between 7 to 10 years. Many spare tires of full size are made to be efficient for about 7 to 10 years. A tire that is seen to be damaged, maybe through cracks by the sidewall, holes, impact lumps, or abnormal tread wear, should never be used by drivers as these issues make driving on such tires unsafe.

What Is the Max Speed on a Spare Tire?

The maximum speed on a spare tire should not exceed 50 mph on a maximum distance of 50 miles. Other car parts may be damaged if a vehicle is driven at a very far distance using a spare tire, including the transmission.

Can You Drive Full Speed on a Spare Tire?

When uncertain about “the distance you can go using an extra tire” or “the maximum driving speed on an extra tire,” consider the following: 50mph should not be exceeded on space-saver extra tires. and 70 miles should not be the maximum distance for space-saver spare tires. This is because spare tires don’t have as much grip as regular tires.

Can I Drive 60 Miles on a Spare Tire?

A distance of 50 miles should be the limit when driving on an extra tire, and should not travel beyond 60 miles. They are made to avoid getting a driver stranded and getting to a tire store or a service center. Changing both tires to the same axle with a damaged tire may be the best thing to do, although this depends on the condition of the tires.

Can You Drive Faster Than 50 on a Donut?

You should not drive faster than 50mph on a donut spare tire. driving too fast on a donut spare tire can damage several components of a car, such as the suspension and transmission.

Conclusion – How Long Can You Drive on a Spare?

You should not drive more than 50 mph and no more than 50 miles with a spare tire. Driving too fast or for too long on a spare tire can cause damage to other parts of your car, including the transmission.

We hope this post was of help to you. Please feel free to check out our other blog articles if you want to get answers to more car-related questions!

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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