How Long Can I Drive on a Spare Tire?

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The experience of getting a flat tire is definitely an unpleasant ordeal. In addition to costing you time, money and maybe even a few hairs, it can also be a dangerous exercise as you change your tire and drive on the spare.

Spare tires are not designed to be driven on for an extended period of time so the longer you keep them on your vehicle the greater your risk of causing problems for your suspension, axel etc. become.

The lifespan of your spare tire is dependent upon a variety of factors. Ordinarily, temporary tires comprise only a single layer of polyester (in the sidewall) and a pair of steel belts (in the thread). This makes them much less durable than regular tires which are more advanced in terms of engineering design and are comprised of sophisticated materials like textile, fibers, etc.

Also known as a “space saver”, the tire more commonly referred to as a “donut” is the most widely-used spare tire in America. Small and light, donuts are easy to both store and install, making them ideal for their intended purpose. Generally, you can drive on these spare tires for between 50 and 70 miles, no faster than 55 MPH. Most of the time, this will be good enough to get you to a garage to pick up a patch or a replacement for your regular tire.

Alternatively, certain larger vehicles are able to accommodate full-sized spare tires which are much more stable and durable than space savers. Full-sized spares are also usually much different than the other three tires on your car however, so handling becomes problematic the longer you drive on them.

Regardless of what type of spare tire you have, they are designed to be short-term solutions to your problem and you need to have a proper replacement installed as soon as possible after you get a flat or suffer a blowout. If you go too long on a spare tire, you risk causing damage to key components of your vehicle.

Be sure to call us at 707-725-6321 if you have any other tire-related questions or if you’d like to schedule your vehicle’s next inspection!