A blown tire is a massive headache that can ruin your day. After all, no one wants to drive down the road on the way to work, school or errands just to hear that dreaded “pop” of a tire. However, while a massive inconvenience, this is why most manufacturers include a spare tire, sometimes called a “donut,” with the vehicle.
Being able to immediately get back on the road with a spare tire is extremely helpful, but it’s important to remember that this is not a permanent solution. Spare tires aren’t manufactured to be long-lasting, in most cases, and are designed to be used just long enough to get your vehicle to a repair shop. But just how far can you drive on a spare? Let’s find out.
How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?
Let’s cut to the chase. In most cases, you should not drive more than 50 miles for a standard “donut” spare tire. Additionally, it’s best not to drive above 50 miles per hour to ensure your donut spare does not wear faster than necessary.
Different Types of Spare Tires
While driving less than 50 miles and staying under 50 mph is a general rule of thumb with your spare tire, it’s worth noting that there are different spare tires included with vehicles. And depending on the kind of spare you have will ultimately impact how long the tire can be driven. Some of the most common types of spares include:
- Full-size matching spare tire: This type of spare tire is the same type as those on your vehicle and can be driven as far as any of the other tires on your vehicle. Due to this, it’s a good idea to include your spare tire in your tire rotation schedule to ensure it wears evenly with your other tires.
- Temporary mini spare tire: This type of spare tire is the common donut mentioned above. It is smaller in dimension than the other tires on your vehicle and has a smaller tread. It is not intended for highway use, as this can lead to another breakdown, and should only be at low speeds for short distances.
- Inflatable spare tire: This is a relatively modern type of spare tire that is inflated using a specific substance or air. Of the different types of tires, it is arguably the least long-lasting and should only be used to make a quick and short trip to the shop for repairs or a tire replacement.
How to Make a Spare Tire Last
Unless your vehicle comes with a full-size matching spare tire, making your spare tire last longer should be a top priority to help ensure it’s ready to help you should you ever deal with an unexpected flat. To help you maintain your car’s spare tire, be sure to:
- Get to a tire repair shop as soon as possible, and remember to drive at slow speeds and for short distances when using a spare
- Avoid roads with large numbers of potholes, debris, or other hazards that can damage a tire
- If you have a full-size matching spare, include the tire in your rotation to ensure tread wear stays constant
- Replace non-matching, temporary spare tires if exposed to damage, chemicals, or if they’ve been unused for long periods of time
A spare tire is extremely beneficial regardless of how one of your tires became damaged. However, not being aware of the limitations of this replacement can lead to more issues. Again, always drive short distances with your spare tires and get into a repair shop as soon as possible.
Ensure your vehicle stays protected
While all vehicles come with a spare tire, it’s essential to take the time to check and see what type is included with your vehicle. This will help you determine how to take care of the spare if you damage your current tires. As a whole, the cost of replacing a tire can be extremely high. While a repair shop may be able to quickly repair a hole in a tire, more extensive damage could require a completely new tire.
Certain extended warranties may offer coverage for a tire replacement or even repair, while many offer complimentary services like roadside assistance or towing. So opting to purchase an extended warranty for your vehicle can offer you both help when dealing with a flat, along with the general breakdown protection a warranty offers. To help you find the best plan for you and your vehicle, check out our reviews of the top extended car warranty companies and learn more about the coverage plans they offer and the additional perks and benefits that can help you when dealing with a flat tire.