How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tire

​You probably see and experience it frequently. You drive to a parking lot, and you see a car with a spare tire that has had better days. Your car might be the one with the donut tire. You need to know how long you can safely use the spare tire in your car. The spare tire is safe to use but only for a limited distance.

Why these spares are in the market

​Most manufacturers make small spare tires for their cars. They are more profitable for the companies compared to making full-size tires. There are few who make full-size spares since cars are becoming smaller and space is limited. New cars are even not having spares but instead rely on run-flat tires. If you install one after getting a flat, you will need to know how long you can use it.

If you experience a flat on the way, your spare tire comes in handy to help you out of the tricky situation. That is exactly what manufacturers thought which is why they were designed to be compact and narrow. They are not designed to have the same lifespan as regular tires.

The common thumb rule is to drive your spare for a maximum of 70 miles. However, it can vary depending on your manufacturer’s instructions. Designs of all spare tires are not same.

However, there are two types of spare tires you can get.

Donut or space savers

Donut spare tires are usually small in size. They are popular among drivers since they do not occupy a lot of space in the vehicle. They are also light making them easy to install and remove.

However, they are not durable and stable since they are small and compact. The tires have a limited top speed of 50mph. The maximum you are expected to get from this tire is 50 miles although some can go as much as 70 miles. It gives you enough time to get to a mechanic and repair or replace the tire with a puncture.

Things to remember when driving with a donut

​Braking, cornering, and handling will be affected: Once you put the donut on your car, you will notice that the braking will diminish compared to the other wheels. When you brake, the vehicle is likely to dip to the side where the donut spare is. It is more noticeable if the spare is on the front axle. There will also be poor cornering, and the handling will also be affected.

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    Slow driving speed: Unlike regular drivers, you will need to drive slowly when using donut tires. The reason is that the donut tire is compact. You can safely drive your donut tire at speeds of not more than 50mph. It is also safer to avoid driving on the highways as much as you can.
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    Tire pressure: The safe air pressure for donut tires is 60 pounds per square inch. You should inspect it and check the pressure since the tire stays for a while before using.
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    Safety systems will be disabled: Since the braking and handling of the car will be affected, the safety systems might be disabled. Once you replace the donut with the regular tire, the systems should be back on line.

Full-size spare tires

​Some manufacturers have more durable spare tires that are the same size as regular tires. These tires are bigger and heavier than donut tires and last longer but also occupy more space.

The tires can be made using a different type of rubber or tread makeup than regular tires. The state of the tires can affect the handling ability of the car on the road. One advantage of these tires over the donut is that allows you to reach your destination so you can deal with your punctured tire.

​Run-Flat Tires

​Your car might be equipped with run-flat tires if you do not have a spare. You can get these tires from the factory especially if you drive a BMW and MINI. The tires are made to be tougher than most kinds of tires and can withstand the effects of a puncture for longer.

The tires can usually run for about 50 miles after getting a puncture. They should be replaced soon after you notice a puncture. Although some repair shops can patch run-flat tires, most manufacturers discourage from that. Repairing the tires is more expensive than repairing regular tires.

Repair kits in place of spares

​There are automakers that put tire repair kits in the cars instead of spare tires. It saves on weight and space. The instructions for fixing the flat are ​available in the owner’s manual.

It is important to replace your flat tire as soon as you notice it. Spare tires are just short-term replacements and are substandard in terms of quality when compared to regular tires. You can drive using your spare tire for about 50 miles to 70 miles just to be safe.

You can see this video for more information about the spare tire.

Caring for your spare

In case the spare is damaged, you should replace it instead of choosing to repair it. Also, remember to check the pressure of the spare tire together with the others to make sure it is okay. Your car is the only thing protecting you, and you should ensure it is in good condition.

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