How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tire? How To Use Spare Tire in Emergency

how long can you drive on a full size spare tire

How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tire, It is always a reassuring feeling to remember that cars come with spare tires. Shutouts to whoever brought the idea of a car coming with spare tires.

Sometimes, you wish that life came with a spare to help you navigate life when you face challenging situations. Unfortunately, most drivers always ignore essential questions like “how long can you drive on a spare tire?”.

Of course, spare tires come in handy, but can you drive it as long as you like? I know you may be tempted to keep driving it if your tire is totally damaged, and you don’t want to face the cost of changing one.

However, before falling to that temptation, take a sit, and go through this article.

Moreover, recently, car manufacturers have replaced the traditional fully-sized marching spares with space saver(donut) tires or some even without one. It saves more space and is less weighted than standard tires.


What Is A Spare Tire

How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tire

A spare tire is as the name suggests is an extra tire that comes with a vehicle as a substitute in emergencies such as a blowout or flat tires.

The tire often comes well fitted on a wheel and ready to be fixed on the go with little to no technical expertise.

When Do You Need A Spare Tire

I would surely tell you that you need spare tires every time you intend to use your car. Yes, it is as essential as any other part of your vehicle.

Donut tires can come in handy when your tire runs flat in the middle of nowhere. However, having a spare tire can often save you the cost of towing your car to your mechanic.

You need a spare tire every time you travel long distances with your family. This is particularly necessary as you wouldn’t want to leave your family, especially kids on the road stranded on a hot afternoon.

Spare tires are also beneficial when traveling through a remote area, it may be hard to come by a mechanic.

Learn About How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tire?

When Considering changing a tire in the case of damage beyond repair, many auto users are faced with the question, ” how long can you drive a spare tire”.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is dependent on the type of spare tire in question.

For a full-size matching spare tire, you can drive it as long as you would drive your original tires.

This is because it comes in the same size and quality and wheel as the original tires. In this case, the spare tire is a fifth tire that can also be a part of your tire location.

 In the case of other types of spare tires, it is advisable not to go beyond 70miles and not faster than 50m/h before visiting a dealer for replacement.

This is because these tires have little to no treads, and also may not be of the same size as the original tire.

How many Miles can you drive with a spare tire?

You should never drive a spare tire beyond 70miles. At Least you should locate a dealer within 70miles distance.

What should be the ideal speed to run on spare tires

You shouldn’t be hitting the gas that hard when on a spare tire. It is not safe to over speed when you run on a spare tire. The recommended speed is about 50m/h.

Why do tires go flat?

Flat tires are one of the most frequent problems that drivers face. It may cause a number of traffic incidents. Let’s discuss a few causes of flat tires.

  1. Damage from a sharp object

This certainly has to be the first and the most notorious culprits of flat tires. Sharp objects such as screws, nails, broken glasses, industrial wastes or other sharp objects on the road can puncture a tire and flatten it.

  • Damage due to wear and tear

The tire, like every other mechanical component, undergoes wearing and tearing. These can be due to various factors such as friction with the road surface, environmental factors, etc. This normal wear and tear will cause the tire to be susceptible to damages.

  • Poor road condition

As unpleasant as it is to drive on bad roads, it also has a grieve effect on only your wheels, and undercarriage, but also on your tires.

  • Damage valve stem: the part of the tire that is often unscrewed before inflating is the valve stem. Damage to the valve stem can cause air loss and leave you with a flat tire. A loose stem can also cause the problem.
  • Improper tire pressure

An over-pumped, as well as an under-pump tire, can both cause a flat tire. An over-pumped tire will most likely cause a blowout, whereas an under-pumped tire will make the tire prone to puncture.

  • Vandals

Sometimes, someone may deflate a tire for reasons best known to him. This can be fixed by simply inflating it back.

  • Accidents

Your tire can go flat unexpectedly even. Regardless of how cautious you may be. It may happen.

  • Leakage from tire bead

The edge of the tire closest to the rim is the tire bead. There may be leakages from this part of the tire.

How to prevent having a flat tire

You can obviously not prevent the incident entirely. However, you can reduce the frequency at which it occurs by following these steps below:

  • Avoid driving on debris, dump sites, and construction sites as much as you can.
  • When on a bad road, do not drive at speed. Maneuver around bumps and potholes slowly.
  • Gauge your tire pressure as often as you go for routine maintenance.

What if you have a flat tire?

Unlike other auto faults, flat tires are easily detected while driving. You don’t need any special skills to know that you have a flat tire.

You would often hear a grinding sound, the car will gradually slow down and you’ll notice an unusual feeling on your steering wheel. To continue driving with a bad tire is not even an option as it will cause more damage to the tire.

It is advisable to slowly pull over away from the traffic as you see an open space.

Tools needed to install a spare tire

To change the spare tire, here are a few tools you’ll need.

  1. A jack: used to lift and stabilize the car before removing the flat tire.
  2. A lug wrench: used to loosen and tighten the lug nuts
  3. Two-wheel wedges: used to wedge the wheels and prevent from rolling.
  4. A fully inflated spare tire: to replace the flat one

How Long Can You Drive on a Full-Size Spare Tire? Work Guide For Changing Flat Tires

  • Keep your hazard lights switch-on
  • Get your warning triangle positioned behind your vehicle to alert approaching traffic of a breakdown.
  • Position your wheel wedges to obstruct the car from rolling. Wedge the front tires if you’re changing the rear tire and vice versa.
  • Remove the wheel cover on the tire.
  • With the use of a lug wrench, loosen the lug nuts one after the other by turning it counterclockwise.
  • Employ a jack to lift the flat tire at least six inches above the ground.
  • Remove the lug nuts from the wheel.
  • Hold the tire and drag it to yourself to remove it.
  • Align your spare tire with lug bolts and insert them.
  • Replace the log nuts and turn them in a clockwise direction.
  • With the help of the lug wrench, make sure you tighten the lug nuts properly.
  • Lower your car and remove the jack
  • Recheck your spare tire pressure and you’re set to go.

Here is a simple guide on how to change a spare tire.

Common Spare Tire Problems

Spare tires are not completely immune to damage as many car users may think. It is also made of rubber therefore it loses some of the air over time.

It also comes with expiry dates just like your original tire. It is important to check your spare tire air pressure every time you go for routine maintenance.

Types Of Spare Tires

Spare tires, just like every other car component, are of different types. You will have to choose based on your preference, as they all come with their various features.

Full-Size Non-Matching Tire

It is a full-sized tire, as the name implies. It does not often match entirely with the standard tires on the ground. The size may be different, so also the wheels on which the tire is mounted.

The treads are often not designed to run for a long distance. However, the full-size non-matching spare tire should neva be a part of your vehicle tire rotation.


  • It can save you the stress of waiting for a rowing van because the tire can drive you to a dealer.


  • It can only be driven a few miles, as it is not designed as the main tires.
  • It will not aesthetically match the car, as the tire may come with a different rim.
  • It consumes ample storage space.
  • It adds significant weight to the vehicle.

Full-Size Matching Tires

As the name implies, the full-size matching tires match the car’s original tires both in aesthetic and quality.


  • There may be no need to visit a dealer immediately because the spare tire is the same in quality as the original tires.
  • You can use it for a longer distance.
  • It matches the aesthetics of the vehicle.


  • The full-size matching tires take up large storage space and add weight to the car.
  • If you have rotated all your tires, it costs more to replace them as you’ll have to buy 5 tires instead of 4.

Compact Temporary Tires

The compact temporary tires are way lighter in weight and smaller in size than the other two tire types we discussed earlier.

The tread depth is not deep because it is designed to be driven over short distances. It often requires about 60Psi pressure.


  • The compact temporary tire often takes less storage space than the other tire types.
  • It is usually approved explicitly by your vehicle manufacturer.
  • It is lighter in weight.


  • It does not function as the main tire as it may alter performance such as traction and control etc.
  • It is to be used only for a short distance.
  • It does not exactly match the other tires. It can give your car a pretty weird look.

Run-Flat Tires

many people will not want to classify this as a spare tire. This may be because you don’t often have to change before meeting a dealer.

The run-flat tire is a spare tire because it performs the same function as the regular spare tire. The tire can continue to run for a few miles even after running flat.


  • The run-flat tire does not take up extra storage space.
  • It doesn’t accumulate extra Weight
  • You don’t need any tool or effort to change it.


  • It is meant to run for a little distance.
  • It can impair traction and control.

Folding Temporary Tires

This kind of spare tire is stored collapsed the car and need to be inflated before use


  • It takes up very little storage space
  • It is very light weighted.


  • It needs to be inflated before use. This can be a problem if you don’t have an air canister or electric pump to aid you.
  • It can only run for a few miles.
  • It consumes more time to get it running.


The importance of having a spare tire in your car cannot be overemphasized. It is also necessary to always remember that spare tires come with their limitations, therefore should never be used as the original tire.

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