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A flat tire is a major frustration and inconvenience, but the thing is, where once you may have reached for your spare tire, it is no longer the rule. Spare tires are not considered as standard gear in a car. So the question now arises how far can you drive on a spare tire?
Not having a spare tire in your car is an effort to improve fuel efficiency as the spare tire can weigh in the region of 40 pounds. In some cars, they can also take up important space. Nonetheless, they have always been a useful addition to a car, so if you need to replace your flat tire with a spare, the question is ‘how far can you drive on a spare tire?’ This is an important question to answer, particularly when you are stuck out in the boondocks.
Well, the answer to how far can you drive on a spare tire is not straightforward because certainly with a donut tire it would be about 50 miles while with a well-maintained standard spare tire, you could go for as long as you like. Let us look into more detail.
How far can you drive on a spare tire?
Different factors impact the spare tire’s distance
There is not just a single word answer to this question such as 40 miles. It depends on different factors. For starters, there are different kinds of spare tires, so if you are unsure about the spare tire you have, check the owner’s manual to find out what kind of space you have.
Also, you have to check on the spare tire from time to time as spare tires can lose pressure with changes in temperature. You will need to check the tire pressure in your spare, certainly prior to leaving on a long trip. Essentially your tires should be rotated every 5 000 miles and then it is a good idea to check your spare tire to make sure it is inflated and in a state of good repair.
With donut tires, you may have to resort to towing
For instance, all older cars had a spare tire that was the same as their tires the car came with. Over the years, however, car manufacturers have seen that these spare tires were not often used and that they were essentially just taking up space.
They began to equip cars with a ‘donut’ tire. This is a smaller, lighter tire – just a temporary solution for when you have a flat tire. The tire’s job is to get you to where you need to be so that you can get to an auto repair shop to get a proper tire installed. Most of these spare tires come with a single layer of polyester on their sidewall.
The whole purpose of the spare tire is that it should only be used in an emergency. The tread on these tires is less than a regular tire too which means you can’t go faster than 50 mph and you would not risk going further than 50 miles with them. How far can you go with a spare tire that is a donut is not too far and you may have to resort to towing services as there is only so far the donut tires can go.
You can go much further with a Standard Spare Tire
The type of spare tire you have will make a difference to how far can you drive on a spare tire. Yes, a full-size spare tire, especially one that is new, can be put on in place of the flat tire and take you to safety.
If the spare tire is brand new and the other 3 tires are well used, things will feel different and unbalanced and therefore you would drive at a slower pace. How far can you drive on a spare tire that is a full-sized spare is not particularly far either. Some car manufacturers do not give a donut spare tire but they give a full-sized spare tire that is much the same as your regular tire.
Irregular treads jeopardize the safety
As already mentioned, the tread pattern can be different from the ones already on your car. Because you will be driving on different tread patterns, there will be some issues with car handling. With these standard spare tires, they will go far more than the donut tires, and in fact, if your car has a standard spare tire, you should be able to drive with it for as long as you want. Just remember to get the flat tire repaired, so that you are not driving around without a spare.