How long can I drive with a spare tire?

Even though the spare tire is an increasingly rare sight on new vehicles – some OEMs just don’t supply them like they used to – there are still many existing vehicles with a spare tire hanging from the tailgate in the case of many SUVs, or hidden in a compartment under the hood. the trunk.

If the time comes to put the spare tire to use, you may be wondering how long you can safely drive before getting a new set, or at least a new one to top off your existing set. How long can you drive on a spare tire? This is the central question of today’s blog.

What is the purpose of a spare tire?

As the name suggests, the purpose of a spare tire is to provide an alternative tire that can replace any of the 4 existing tires should one become damaged to the point where it can no longer be used safely on the road.

For example, if you’ve had a blown tire, or the tire has been damaged by some sharp debris and is rapidly losing air, or if you find that, for some reason, one tire’s tread has worn down to dangerous levels before the others , then you replace it with the spare tire. Furthermore, the purpose of the spare tire is not to act as a permanent replacement, but rather as a temporary interim solution that allows you to safely drive to a mechanic and have your wheels restored to how they should be. This even applies to full-size spare tires (more below).

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What are the different types of spare tire?

Generally speaking, there are 3 types of tires: space-saving tires, full-size tires and run-flat tires.

Space-saving tires – These are also known by some as “spares” and are the simplest, short-term spare tire type. They are normally smaller than regular tires and are the ones usually hidden in internal compartments under the tread. There are several restrictions on the use of these tires, which we will explore later.

Full-size tires – These are basically a carbon copy of your main tires, although they may not be the same brand or seasonal style. They’re the same basic size and shape, though, and should have roughly the same traction as your existing tires did when they were new (but not if you’ve recently switched to winter tires for the cold season).

Run-Flat Tires – It’s funny to call these tires “spares” because they really aren’t. A run-flat tire is one that has a special support system of inner rings that resist deflation when punctured, allowing you to keep rolling until you can drive somewhere where you can get help. Many OEMs are now offering these run-flat tires and tire repair kits instead of spare tires as they help lighten the car and eliminate the need to change a tire on the road.

How much does a spare tire cost?

For a spare donut, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200. For a full-size spare tire, this will be your normal tire cost, which can range from $137 to $250, depending on the size, brand, traction etc. the cost of regular tires.

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How long do spare tires last?

How long can you drive on each type of spare tire? What distance?

There are rules and guidelines for all spare tires when it comes to usage. You cannot use them permanently, even full-size spare tires. First, space-saving/donut spare tires. They can only be used for a maximum of 70 miles, and during that trip, the driver’s speed must not exceed 50 miles per hour. They are smaller and have less traction, so you should always drive over them with extreme caution.

For full-size spare tires, even if they are the right size and shape, you shouldn’t use them more than absolutely necessary, because unless you happen to buy all your other tires the same day you start using the spare, there’s no way to be sure they’re used the same. The uneven tread between the tires is not safe.

For run-flat tires they can last around 80 kilometers after a puncture, so you should find the nearest repair shop within that distance. Drivers must also keep their speed below 50 mph to ensure they can achieve that distance. Reducing speed in general should be a given when riding steppes, regardless of type, road size, weather or time of day.

What should the air pressure be in my spare tire?

The recommended air pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI) on spare tires is invariably slightly higher than on regular tires. Where your normal air pressure might be 30 to 40 PSI depending on your vehicle, a spare can go up to 60 PSI if you save space, but if it’s a full size tire it will be the same as your regular tires.

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Pressure on the space-saving spare should be higher due to its smaller size and dimensions. The higher air pressure helps compensate for the reduced surface area contact. You should also take the time to check your spare tire pressure, even when not in use.

spare tire

Tips for driving with a spare tire

  1. slow down

As mentioned above, it is important that you do not drive faster than 80 km/h. Driving on a spare means less traction and less stability, so your driving should be slower.

  1. Do not exceed recommended distances

If the tire is rated to last 70 miles, don’t drive it more than 70 miles. If you do, you risk your safety, as the tire is only designed and built to go whatever distance it says it can travel. Find an auto repair shop in the right distance.

  1. Remember that your entire car is affected.

It’s not just a matter of recommended speed or distance, your whole car is impacted by the presence of a spare tire. The handling, steering, braking and cornering are all different. Your ADAS systems will work differently. You may have warning lights appearing on your dashboard. Don’t be scared, just be prepared for anything.

  1. keep your spare

Finally, don’t forget to keep an eye on your spare, its condition and its air pressure, even when you’re not using it. Use a tire pressure gauge to find out the current PSI and reset it to the manufacturer’s recommended level, if necessary. The spare tire needs to be ready for the road at all times.

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