5 Facts About Spare Tires Every Driver Should Know

Facts About Spare Tires Every Driver Should Know
Facts about spare tires every driver should know. Image credit: Adobe Stock.

A spare tire can be a lifesaver for drivers in certain situations. Many drivers, though, may never drive on a spare or understand their limitations and capabilities. Below, we’ll explain the key facts about spare tires every driver should know for their safety.

Not Every Spare Tire Is the Same

While many of us may think of spare tires as uniform in design, not every spare is the same. There are many different types of spare tires, ranging from small donut spares to larger, full-size ones. Most cars come with donut spares since they’re smaller and lighter, but a full-size spare allows drivers to go longer and faster on their spare.

Spare Tires Aren’t for High Speeds

Spare tires are temporary solutions to flat or blown-out tires, and since most are lighter and smaller, they can’t handle the same high speeds as normal tires. Generally, tiremakers recommend that drivers refrain from exceeding about 50 mph when driving with a spare tire.

So with a spare tire equipped, you should avoid highways. You can also put your hazards on and drive slowly if you must. If your spare is a full-size type, you can drive on it like any normal tire.

Spare Tires Aren’t for Long Distances

As spare tires aren’t as capable and durable as normal tires, drivers shouldn’t use them for long distances. For most tiremakers, the limit for a typical donut spare tire is roughly 50 miles.

You should immediately head to a service center or tire shop with a spare tire to replace it with a permanent solution. If you must drive farther, take it slow and conservatively to preserve the tire as best as possible.

Spare Tires Don’t Last Forever

Many drivers may go years without breaking out their spare, but if they wait too long, it may no longer be good. The typical lifespan for a spare tire is 10 years, but drivers should check the owner’s manual for a closer recommendation for their spare tire.

If you’ve had your car for over 10 years and never used the spare, you’ll want to consider replacing it. An expired spare tire could be dangerous to drive on, ruining the whole point of having it!

Spare Tires Need Maintenance Too

We all know that tires need proper maintenance, but so does your spare tire. In particular, drivers should check the air pressure of their spare at least once a year or every six months. Spare tires with insufficient air pressure will degrade and expire faster, necessitating replacement.

Those are the most important facts every driver should know about spare tires. Hopefully, you never have to use your spare. But if you do, remembering these key facts will ensure your safety.

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Red Lasiste is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and a law student at Western Law. He is also a car enthusiast and enjoys everything financial-market and technology investment related. His hobbies include golf, travelling, hitting the gym, and playing with cats. You can follow him on LinkedIn.

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