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How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire

How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?
Spare Tires Are Not The Same As Regular Tires

 

You know how to switch out a flat tire for your spare, but how long can you drive on a spare tire? Is it urgent to go out and buy a new one? Your owner’s manual will tell you to put a new tire on as soon as possible, but is that really necessary?

Is It Necessary To Get A New Tire ASAP?

Short answer: yes. You can drive on the spare tire, sure, but doing it for long creates more problems than it solves. Temporary tires are made smaller and narrower than regular tires to save cargo space and put less weight in your vehicle, which means a few things.

Is My Spare The Same?

For starters, they aren’t as strong as your regular tires. They’re easier to puncture and don’t corner as well, which puts you at risk of another flat or even an accident. If your spare tire goes flat, you’re going to end up wasting money on a tow.

Secondly, the tire is smaller, which means you have less contact with the ground and the traction is reduced, which also makes your brakes and traction control systems work less efficiently. Especially in cold and snowy weather, this puts your safety at risk.

How Far Can I Drive?

You can drive on a spare donut tire for as far as 50 miles, but try to get yourself a new tire or get the old one patched as soon as possible for your own safety and to save money in the long run.

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Spare Tires Are Becoming a Thing of the Past

If you’re out car shopping, you should expect to see fewer and fewer new cars coming with spare tires. Nearly all automakers are in the process of ditching heavy spare tires and jacks for small air compressors and sealant kits.

Some luxury automakers offer run-flat tires, which can be driven on at low speeds for a limited distance – designed to get you safely to a dealership after a normal puncture. Most automakers offer a less-expensive alternative, stashing an air compressor and sealant kit in your trunk in place of the spare tire. For most normal tire punctures, the sealant kit is enough to allow drivers to get to a shop or dealership to replace the tire.

Spare TiresSo why ditch the spare tire? According to Consumer Reports, automakers have been under immense pressure to create lightweight cars that are more efficient. By removing the spare tire, cars can lose 40 to 50 pounds – weight that adds up in gas prices over time.

Losing the spare makes sense in a society where the art of tire-changing is a diminishing skill. With higher-quality tires, improved technology, and roadside assistance programs, roadside tire changes are few and far between.

If you prefer to keep a spare in your car, aftermarket companies and some dealerships offer spare tires, a lug wrench, and jack for anywhere from $150 to $300.

Make sure before you purchase your next car you know what the spare tire situation looks like. You should be prepared to handle your flat tire before it happens.

Stop by Parks Mazda to check out the MX-5 Miata, which offers a light-weight and space-saving sealant and air compressor in place of a heavy, space-eating spare tire.