The Shocking Truth: How Far Can You Drive On A Spare Tire?

Have you ever gotten a flat tire while you and your family were on a road trip?

It is not a very fun experience, but the most important thing is to have a spare tire ready to get you to the nearest gas station to get a new tire and get back on the road.

What if you get a flat in the middle of nowhere? How far can you drive on a spare tire?

I know how important your family's safety is, so here are some tips for driving on each type of spare tire.

Full-Sized Spare

Full-sized spare tires are the one type of spare that can be used as a regular tire. 

If you have a spare that is the exact same size and air capacity as your regular tires, they can actually replace your flat and allow you to continue down the road without getting a new tire, as long as it is kept in good condition.

Larger trucks and older vehicles have these types of spare, but newer vehicles typically use a smaller, more compact version.

You can use a full-sized tire as long as you like, but if the tire is a different type of tire or it is worn more than your normal tires, it may handle differently than you are used to.

If you have a full-sized spare tire, you may want to consider purchasing five tires and rotating them to ensure the spare is safe to drive on.

If you are unsure how to properly change your tire, check out this guide.



Most vehicles have a donut as a spare because they are a lot easier to handle, and they save a lot of space in your trunk. 

These tires are not designed to be permanent tires on your vehicle. They are typically smaller than the other wheels on your vehicle, and they offer a lot less tread.

If you drive too fast on a donut, it will cause it to wear quickly because its small size makes it spin about three times more than a full-sized tire.

Many vehicles recommend that you never travel over 70 miles per hour with a donut on your car; however, you should keep your speed below 50 MPH to assure the safety of the passengers in the car.

Since this type of spare is not ideal for fast travel, you can probably guess that it will not be great for long distances either. The tread of this type of spare tire is very minimal, making it more susceptible to dangers on the road.

Never travel more than 50 miles on a donut because they are not designed for long distances, and they should only be used to get you to the nearest gas station or repair shop. Some vehicles rate their spares for 50 miles, but I wouldn't suggest taking the risk.

Run-Flat Tire


Some of the newer cars on the road are using run-flat tires instead of placing a spare in the trunk.

These tires are designed to be more durable than traditional tires. They do tend to cost a bit more to purchase, but they do not require as much maintenance throughout the life of the tire.

These tires are designed to be used after a puncture, but as soon as you notice that there is an issue with your tire, it is a good idea to get it replaced. 

In fact, most tires of this type should not be used for a distance of more than 50 miles once the air pressure is low.

The downside to these tires is that since you are effectively driving on a flat tire, it will reduce your gas mileage a little bit.

In addition, a run-flat tire may not be able to be repaired as easily as a full-sized tire, but that will depend on the damage that was done to the tire on the way to the repair shop.

Speed And Handling


No matter which type of spare you are using, it is important that your safety and the safety of your passengers come first and foremost. 

The performance of a spare will always be noticed by the driver, especially if it is not the same size.

Even if it is the same size, a spare tire is never going to perfectly match the other three tires that you have on your vehicle, so it will affect the way that the vehicle handles on the road, especially if you are traveling at higher speeds.

The braking will also be affected by the spare, especially if you are using a smaller tire or a donut. Since you are not sure exactly how your spare will perform on the road, it is always best to put it on a back tire. 

If your front is flat, rotate them to increase the stability of the tires.

Always Check Your Pressure


The last thing you need is to catch a flat and find out that your spare is also flat or damaged.

Always make sure that your tire is inflated to the recommended tire pressure for the spare.

Donuts often use a different PSI then your normal tires, so make sure to that it is inflated properly.

To make sure that you are never caught unprepared, you can also purchase a portable air compressor to keep in the trunk of your car.

There is also other maintenance that you can do to make sure that your spare is ready for when you need it. Check out this video for a few helpful tips.

Wrapping It Up

How far can you drive on a spare tire?

The bottom line is that if you catch a flat tire during your travels, have a spare that can get you to a repair shop. Purchase a portable air compressor to make sure your spare is always inflated.

Do not ride on the spare for more than 50 miles. It is designed to get you safely off of the road, not get you to work for the next two weeks.


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