How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire – And At What Speed

How long can you drive on a spare tire comes to many people’s minds when they experience a flat for the first time, and we’ve got the answer. With a donut-type spare, you can only drive a maximum of 70 miles (100 km) and shouldn’t exceed 50 mph (80 km/h).

Drive on a Spare Tire

Check out the details below, including the various types of spares, and find out which one you have. You also want to take advantage of a few practical tips on remaining safe while driving on a spare tire.

How Long Should You Drive Your Car on a Spare Tire?

You should drive your car on a spare tire for at most 70 miles. Manufacturers also discourage exceeding 50 mph because the spare wheel lacks the tread and durability of a standard car wheel. That makes it more vulnerable to road hazards and compromises your safety.

Typically, the tires on your vehicle are made strong enough to cover thousands of miles of gravel, pavement, dirt, and all types of weather conditions. But, sometimes, the unexpected happens, and you run over an object, causing a flat wheel.

How many miles can you drive on empty wheel?

It would be best if you didn’t go on a wheel without air (or the correct tire pressure) due to safety concerns and for your engine’s health.

Thus, when one of your wheels gets flat, don’t try to find an answer to how long can you drive on a flat tire? A spare tire (temporary tire) will have to come into play. But many believe you can normally drive a car on a temporary tire. This type of tire is designed to enable you to reach the nearest repair shop to have your flat wheel inspected and repaired or replaced.

What happens if you drive on a spare tire too long?

As mentioned, driving on a spare tire highway for long distances is bad for your car. The tire is smaller than typical tires, meaning its tread can be significantly different. The lack of proper tread makes the spare wheel vulnerable to various road hazards.

The differences mentioned can also reduce your vehicle handling and trigger hydroplaning on wet or snowy roads. It can reduce your stopping power and distance and put the transmission and other components at a high risk of damage.

Can you drive 70 mph on a spare tire?

As stated, experts discourage driving faster than 50 mph on a temporary tire due to their limited traction and durability.

There are different types and sizes of spares. Some are made to match the other four tires on a vehicle. They can be installed and used at normal speeds and for longer distances. Regardless of the type you have, keeping speeds, and distances minimum is always safe before fixing your flat.

What Are the Main Types of Car Spare Tires?

The main types of car spare tires are donut and full-size. The one you use depends on your type of vehicle. Small to mid-sized cars often use the donut or space-saver spares, while their full-size counterparts are for larger vehicles, such as SUVs.

Donut Temporary Tires

In older cars, most models came with a spare wheel that matched the wheels already on the vehicle. However, since temporary wheels are used infrequently, car manufacturers have found no need to equip every car with a standard spare over the years. For that, the manufacturers started to include a space-saving spare (donut or compact) instead of a full-size one.

Donut Temporary Tires

The donut tires are tiny and usually fit under the trunk floor inside the vehicle. These tires differ from the regular ones in shape, size, and required tire pressure. Most tires for small and medium-sized cars need a tire pressure of about 35 PSI. However, donuts often require roughly 60 PSI.

Some are asking can I drive 100 miles on a donut or can I drive 200 miles on a donut Reddit? The quick answer to both questions is yes, but you shouldn’t in one go. As explained above, spares aren’t meant to replace regular wheels. They are only there to help during emergencies, so stick to the 70-miles-and-50-mph rule.

Full-Size Temporary Tires

If you own an SUV, truck, or any other large vehicle, the car is probably equipped with a full-size spare. Large vehicles are usually heavier. The spare wheels are often larger to support the vehicle’s full load and extra cargo or things being towed. In addition, these spare wheel types are much better quality than donut spares.

That means you can drive on a full-sized spare for as long as you want. However, it still shouldn’t replace a standard tire, especially if it’s a different brand or bears a different tread pattern. Driving on tires with varying tread patterns can affect traction and vehicle handling and reduce your braking power.

Note that a full-size temporary tire is heavier and needs a larger space for storage. It’s mostly mounted outside under the vehicle to save space in the trunk. As such, the tire is more exposed to harsher elements and should be inspected regularly.

What Is the Best Way To Drive Your Car on a Spare Tire?

The best way to drive your car on a spare tire is to give yourself extra space between you and other vehicles to allow for more braking time. Avoid bad weather to prevent the risk of slipping. Always keep your spare in good condition and with the correct tire pressure.

You must be careful while driving whether you have a donut or full-sized spare wheel. As mentioned, spares lack the durability and resilience of standard tires. They are more susceptible to road hazards, which threaten your safety and other road users. Therefore, observing the various measures is essential until you can switch to a more reliable tire.

Observe a Good Space and Braking Time

A spare tire can interfere with your vehicle’s braking system. It can reduce your braking distance. Sometimes, it can trigger your car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) light. If that happens, your ABS isn’t working properly and won’t help you in case of emergency braking.

Braking System of Vehicle

Moreover, a donut spare wheel can cause inaccuracies in some cars’ speedometers. So, give yourself that extra space to allow more time to brake and safely bring the vehicle to a stop. In other words, brake early and with more distance between you and other vehicles to avoid nasty surprises.

Avoid Bad Weather if Possible

With a compact temporary tire, your vehicle can’t handle 100 percent. Spares may not have advanced treads and are able to offer the traction of regular tires. That makes your car more prone to slipping or hydroplaning. So, avoid driving in slick wet weather for your safety and other road users.

Remember, you need to expect longer stopping distances. Thus, fog or weather that impairs visibility isn’t a risk worth taking. If you must drive in bad weather, be extra careful and avoid exceeding 50 mph.

Ensure the Spare Has the Correct Tire Pressure

Check your spare tire pressure regularly, especially when it’s not used. Remember, spares have different inflation pressure needs than regular tires. Also, a spare wheel won’t help if it has low pressure.

Replace the Spare on Time

Spares also need routine replacement, just like regular tires. The replacement depends on your spare type. Check your owner’s manual or the spare itself for more information on how often you should replace it. On average, a temporary tire has a lifespan of eight years.

Replacing Spare Tire

You may want to consider investing in a run-flat spare. Run-flat tires are pneumatic tires designed to withstand most road hazards, including punctures. That allows you to continue to drive your vehicle at reduced speeds to the nearest repair shop.

How long can you go on this type of tire?

When the wheel is in good condition, you can drive longer distances like a standard tire. However, suppose you get a puncture and start losing tire pressure. In that case, the run-flat wheel must be inspected and repaired as soon as possible. Failure to which you might need a full replacement.

These tires may be tougher than most but are only made to last a short time. Although expensive, you’ll find them more cost-effective to maintain than traditional tires. They are mostly found on recent BMW models.

With these specialized tires, you won’t need to worry about the startling sound of a blowout that can put you at risk of an accident. They are also space and weight-saving because you won’t need a spare in your trunk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe To Use a Spare on the Front?

Yes, it’s safe to use a spare on the front if you’re only covering a short distance and have no other option.

Using Spare Tire on Front

Your vehicle is typically heavier in the front, which subjects the smaller than a standard-size tire to excess pressure. Ensure you drive defensively and at a slow speed.

Can You Use a Spare for an Entire Week?

Yes, you can use a spare for an entire week or as long as you wish, but not over long distances. The donut-type spare is only safe for up to 70 miles. If you must use your spare, ensure the standard or permanent tire is repaired or replaced immediately.

How Can You Know if Your Spare Is Still Safe To Drive On?

To know if your spare is still safe to drive on, check for any signs of cracking or significant wear. When spares begin losing their durability, one of the first symptoms you’ll notice is cracking along the rubber tread and walls. Check also if it has the recommended tire pressure.

How Many Times Can You Reuse Your Spare?

You can reuse your spare as many times as necessary. However, you should only drive on the tire during emergencies and replace it with a permanent tire the soonest.

Reusing Spare Tire on Car

A spare is just meant to help you go from where you’ve discovered a flat to the nearest repair shop.

Can a Spare Go Flat?

Yes, a spare can go flat like your normal tires, especially if used for too long. For that, you should refrain from driving on a spare for long distances. When not using the tire, check its tire pressure regularly to ensure you can count on it when needed.

Is It Safe to Drive at High Speeds on a Spare Tire?

When considering the safety of driving at high speeds on a spare tire, it’s crucial to acknowledge the limitations. The cruiser versus sport bike comparison reveals noticeable disparities in handling and stability. Thus, it is advisable to proceed with caution when driving at high speeds on a spare tire, as it may compromise both safety and control on the road.

Do Costco or Discount Tires Sell Spare Tires and How Long Can They Be Driven on?

When it comes to spare tires, both Costco and Discount Tires offer coverage. However, the duration these tires can be driven on varies. It is crucial to check with each retailer for specific guidelines and recommendations to ensure safety on the road. Remember, costco vs discount tires coverage is vital for informed decision-making.


The above article has covered what you need to know regarding how long one can drive on a spare tire.

Here’s a summary of some important points:

  • Spares are temporary tires designed to help you go to the nearest repair shop to have your flat wheel repaired or replaced.
  • There are two main spare tire types: donut-type space-saving (found in most modern small and mid-size cars) and full-sized spares (for larger vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs).
  • You shouldn’t drive over 70 miles and beyond 50 mph on a donut spare wheel.
  • You can go on a full-sized spare for as long as you want if it’s from the same manufacturer and has a similar tread pattern as with your other tires.
  • When driving on a spare, ensure you’re extra careful and avoid bad weather, as it reduces traction, increasing the risk of skidding or crashing.

You can now use your spare safely by implementing the knowledge from this article. Remember to take good care of the spare so you can always count on it whenever the unexpected happens

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