How Long Can You Drive on A Spare Tire?

A vehicle is nothing without its tires. As such they are the backbone of a vehicle’s operation. If your car doesn’t have proper tires, not only will it become difficult for you to handle it properly but your chances of getting into an accident will increase multiple folds. There is a reason every vehicle has a spare tire in its trunk, so that when a tire on your car loses its integrity or gets punctured, you can change it with a spare one and continue on your journey. Later on, you can always change the spare tire with your regular tire. However, circumstances can arise where you don’t have the time to change your spare tire with a regular one or you don’t have the choice to do so (especially on highways). In such cases, it is highly important that you know how long you can drive on a spare tire.

Donut Tire

A spare tire is sometimes also called a donut tire. This tire is fitted on the same rim size as your car’s regular tires but the difference is that the spare tire is a bit thin. So, the donut tire appears to look small. In earlier times, manufacturers used to put full-size spare tires in their vehicles. It is still the case with some manufacturers, especially with those that produce SUVs. However, today due to the modernization of the automobile industry, vehicles have started getting smaller and ‘smarter’. Manufacturers have started making vehicles that are small yet spacious and, in their bid, to create more space in these small vehicles they have had to reduce the size of the donut tire. The modern spare tire is thus a reality, but unfortunately it is not built to last. This tire, given its thinness, proves useful for a short extent of time after which it starts to disintegrate.

The reason behind this phenomenon is that a donut tire does not have proper tread patterns. As a result, your car tends to lose grip and it becomes increasingly difficult for you to control it on fast speeds. Furthermore, the donut tire is so thin that it becomes more vulnerable to potholes and bumps. You can drive on a straight road without much problem but if you are standing face to face with a bumpy road you should expect your spare tire to fail you. Not only that, but because of the absence of a proper rubber cushion created by a regular tire, your car’s suspension will be badly affected.

Furthermore, since the donut tire is small in size, it turns more revolutions than other tires on your vehicle, as a result the donut tire experiences more wear and tire than a normal tire would. All manufacturers state useful information regarding the use of the spare tire in all their vehicle’s user manuals.

After reading all the information above, you must have understood one thing that is you cannot and you must not drive fast while your car is running a spare. Generally, you should keep your car under the 50 miles per hour speed bracket. If you go any faster than that, you will cause the donut tire to disintegrate faster while also increasing your chances of getting in an accident. Moreover, you should drive no more than 80 miles when driving with a spare tire and you should try to keep less weight in your car so as not to put more pressure on the donut tire.       

Full-Size Spare Tire

A full-size spare tire is the best kind of spare tire because it is almost the same size as all the other tires on your vehicle.  As we mentioned above, large vehicles like SUVs already get this kind of spare tire from their manufacturer. A full-size spare tire is heavy and requires more space, hence it cannot be provided with small vehicles. However, its bigger size and weight should not be counted as disadvantages. The spare tire’s full-size allows it to perform almost the same as the regular tires on a vehicle. It has complete tread patterns and ample thickness allowing it to absorb the force of impact successfully. However, a spare tire can be slightly different in its make than your vehicle’s regular tires. It might have a different tread pattern or it might vary in thickness. Hence, it should also not be used for a very long time. Yes, with a full-size spare tire you reduce your chances of losing grip on the road but the threat is always there until you get yourself a new tire. In terms of wear and tear, this spare tire will last much longer than a donut tire, so you are better off with it.

Run-Flat Tire

A run-flat tire is the best kind of tire on the market today. This type of tire is built very tough and is able to withstand all kinds of abuse from the road. It doesn’t last long compared to regular tires but it is easier to maintain. Vehicles having a run-flat tire usually don’t have a spare tire with them as they do not go flat immediately. They can withstand a puncture for up to 50 miles, which means you don’t necessarily have to have them replaced immediately. The largest drawback for a run-flat tire is that it costs a lot more than a regular tire, so it is not always the best option.

Can You Drive on The Highway with A Spare Tire?

No, you cannot drive on the highway with a spare tire. On highways cars run for hundreds of miles before stopping. Spare tires can only last for a few miles and even then, they cannot be used at high speeds. You can drive your car on the highway with a spare tire only If it is an emergency and that too at low speeds.


Now you should have a clear understanding how long can you drive on a spare tire. But remember one thing – no matter what kind of spare tire you have in your car, it is always a bad idea to keep driving with one. Taking caution is always better, which is why you should switch to your regular tires as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *