A spare tire is not something any driver wants to have to use. It is something put to the back of our minds, and usually the back of our vehicles, in the hope that we never have to use it. Unfortunately, flat tires are pretty common for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, using a spare tire is unavoidable.
If you have found yourself Googling ‘How far can I drive on a spare tire?’ then you are in the right place. In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know. This includes the different kinds of spare tires out there, how fast you can travel on a spare tire and the dangers of ignoring safety regulations. Let’s jump in.
It depends. That probably isn’t the specific answer you were after, but it is the truth. Based on the type of spare tire you use, the distance you can travel is greatly affected.
A full-size spare tire will effectively operate as a direct replacement, so you can continue indefinitely.
If you use a donut tire, it is generally agreed that you could safely travel up to 50-70 miles, allowing you to get to your destination or a mechanic, but you should keep your speed below 50mph.
The Different Kinds of Spare Tires
The deciding factor of how long you can drive on a spare tire all depends on the kind you are using. Not all spare tires are built the same. Depending on their size, material, and intended use, you can get significantly different results. To better illustrate this, we have broken down each type for you to review.
Full-Size Spare Tire
This is your best option as far as spare tires go. A full-size spare tire refers to one that is a direct replacement for your current tire. It is the same size, weight, and is made from the same materials. If you are using a full-size, the answer to ‘how far can I drive on a spare tire?’ is ‘as long as you need to’.
For decades, cars were fitted with spare tire wells for this very purpose. Newer cars, favoring greater storage, did away with the full-size spare tire. These days, it is only trucks or SUVs that still have them. If you do have a full-size tire, you can go to a garage to have it fitted, and you will be on the road again in no time.
NOTE: The newly fitted full-size tire will be less used than the others, which can create an uneven drive. This can prove dangerous, so the purchase of a full new set is recommended.
The Run-Flat Tire
The modern answer to full-size spare tires is the use of run-flat tires. As their name suggests, these tires are designed to keep going even following a puncture. BMWs and MINIs in particular are known to feature these tires. Despite their tough exterior, they are not entirely invincible.
They are designed to keep going rather than blowing out or deflating, but they don’t last forever. Following a puncture, depending on the severity, a run-flat tire can go for around 50 miles. Don’t push it further than that, or you risk significant damage and a potential accident.
The Space Saver or Donut Spare Tire
Last, and maybe least, on our list is the donut spare tire. These were designed with the aim of providing last-minute assistance without taking up space in your car. They are compact and helpful, but they aren’t a long-term solution. They aren’t particularly durable.
All donut spare tires should be sold with a manual. You can usually find everything you need to know about it there, including how far you can travel with it. How fast can you drive on a spare tire? Generally speaking, this will be for up to 70 miles at the very most. It is also important that you never drive faster than 50mph, as they are not designed for speed. Their lack of tread also makes them liable to road hazards.
Although helpful in a pinch, the donut spare tire is not designed for extended travel. Do not try to push this tire beyond its means. You could cause irreparable damage to either yourself or your vehicle.
Don’t Push It!
It is likely that you will have to use one of the spare tires listed above at some stage. Flat or punctured tires are pretty common, but being prepared can alleviate most of the stress involved. Just make sure you abide by the relevant guidelines. No matter where you are headed or how soon you need to get there, nothing is worth risking your health. Drive safe, take your time, and don’t push your luck!