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How Far Can You Safely Drive on a Spare Tire?

How Far Can You Safely Drive on a Spare Tire

How Far Can You Safely Drive on a Spare Tire?

Everyone hates flat tires. They can stop your day in its tracks, so much so that replacing them with a spare becomes a high priority for anyone who's suffered the inconvenience and indignity that comes with this kind of breakdown.

Many drivers have questions when it comes to the capabilities and limitations of spare tires, so let's answer the most important ones. In the process, we'll also answer one of the most vital questions of all-how far can you drive on a spare tire?

What are the Different Types of Spare Tires?

To some extent, the amount of time and the number of miles you'll be able to get from your spare tire depends on what kind of car you're driving.

If you drive a compact or a midsize car, for instance, you'll often have a smaller, temporary spare. These are often referred to as "donut" tires, and they fit into a small enclosure beneath the floor of your trunk.

They have a higher tire pressure but not much staying power, so they're designed to be replaced by a similar size tire as soon as possible. You should be able to get a day out of your spare, unless you're doing a longer trip, in which case you should change your plans immediately.

If you're driving something larger like an SUV, a crossover or a truck, you'll probably be using a full-size spare that comes with the vehicle. These tires are the same size with the same load capacity as the other ones on your car, so in theory you can drive them for as long as you want.

In practice, though, this really isn't a good idea. Adding a spare tire means the entire set should be rebalanced and aligned again, and while this doesn't necessarily need to be done immediately, it should be done as soon as possible

What If You Have Run-Flat Tires?

If you get a flat and you drive a late-model car, there's a decent chance it came equipped with run-flat tires.

The good news about run-flats is that they're designed to handle a lot of road hazards, and they'll drive safely even after being punctured for a short distance.

How short? They're designed to run for 50 miles, but that number can vary by a significant amount, which means it's not a good idea to gamble on your run-flats for very long.

They also cost more to replace than regular tires, so keep that in mind if you want to replace one run-flat with another, which is generally a good idea because you want matching tires whenever possible.

Some Other Things to Know About Spare Tires

Some drivers assume that whatever spare tires they put on make them bullet-proof once they're swapped in, but that simply isn't the case.

There are several maintenance procedures you need to perform with your spares on an ongoing basis to make sure they'll be there for you, and there are some driving restrictions you need to observe once they're installed.

The maintenance procedures revolve around inspection and air pressure. Spares can go flat when they go unused for a long time, so check the pressure periodically to make sure that doesn't happen. And you should always inspect the tire just to make sure it hasn't undergone any kind of inadvertent damage.

When you're driving with a spare, it's important to give yourself more braking distance. Your spare tire may not work correctly with your vehicle's anti-lock braking system (ABS), and donut spares are notorious for creating inaccurate speedometer readings.

You should also change your driving habits if you're driving in inclement weather with a spare. The tread on many spares is very basic, which means you may slip more than usual, so cut your speed accordingly and increase your braking distance.

Get the Best Possible Spare You Can

If you need to replace one of your spare tires after an incident, or if you're looking for the piece of mind that comes with a fresh spare, call us to see our full array of choices.

Once you do, contact us, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. We'll also do that in person if you happen to be located in South Florida or visit the area. If that's the case, come visit us at our Miami store at 3401 NW 73rd Street, or call us toll-free at 305 694-6112 if that's more convenient for you.