How Fast Can I Drive On A Spare Tire?

How Fast Can I Drive On A Spare Tire

If you’re a safe driver, you are likely familiar with the typical protocol for safely operating your vehicle. What about the instances that come few and far between, like using a spare? 

Use this guide to answer your questions about “how fast can I drive on a spare tire?”

Short Answer

The speed that you can safely drive on a spare tire depends on the type that you have. 

Generally though, if you are wondering how fast can I drive on a spare tire, you should keep it below 50 mph for best safety and longevity. You should also avoid driving more than 70 miles in total.

Types of Spare Tires

Spares don’t just come in one variety. There are several types that vary in size, weight, durability, resistance to road hazard damage, and more. 

The type that you use for your vehicle impacts how long and how fast you should drive on it. Use this section to help you figure out which types are best for you.


how fast can i go on a spare tire

Full-size spares tend to appear on larger and older vehicles. This type is heavy and requires a lot of storage space, which can deter smaller car owners from using them, even though they are more durable than other spares.

Along with their impressive durability, full-size spares can also be driven on for longer and faster. They are more similar to a new tire than the other types of spares are. 

You can even opt for a rim replacement, which allows you more time before you have to replace it with a regular tire. Replacing early is always better, but it can be a lifesaver to have that option in a pinch.

Safe-Saver or Donut

how fast can u drive on a spare tire

This more compact type allows drivers to conserve space and cut down on the weight being placed on the vehicle. With this benefit comes a compromise of being less durable and having a shorter lifespan than full-size spares or regular tires.

You may be able to stretch a full-size tire to traverse more than 70 miles before replacement is necessary, in some cases reaching distances up to 90 miles. 

The safe-saver type, on the other hand, will begin to do damage to other parts of the vehicle if driven over 70 miles, and should optimally be kept below 50. Driving further than this on a safe-saver or donut can cause wear and tear on the clutch plates and the gears. It should also be kept at a speed less than or equal to 50 mph.

While this lightweight alternative is ideal for short periods, another challenge of this type is that it has almost no tread. This means that you are at an increased risk of puncture damage and other hazards on the road.


how fast can you drive on a donut tire

Run-flat spares are tough, but not long-lasting. The appeal behind this type is that it can keep driving for 50 miles even after suffering a puncture before requiring replacement.

Road hazards can be incredibly detrimental to other types of spares. The run-flat option offers a unique opportunity to pay a bit more for replacement in exchange for a tougher spare that is less vulnerable to blowouts and road hazards.

How Long Can I Drive On A Spare Tire?

 how fast can you drive with a spare tire

The best way to use a spare tire is to drive on it for as short a time as possible. The longer you drive on it, the more you risk doing damage to other parts of your vehicle due to wear and tear. That being said, there are circumstances in which you may want to push the limits of what your spares can handle.

So how long can you drive on a spare? 70 miles is the typical cap that is recommended to avoid exceeding. Anything past that risks doing damage to your alignment due to size differences between the spare and the other three tires. It can also wear on the brakes and other tires.

how fast should you drive on a spare tire

Can You Drive With Spares On The Highway?

Full-size tires can sub in perfectly on the highway. Smaller or less compatible tires, though, may have different limitations that could restrict where, how fast, and how far you can drive with spare tires. This is case-by-case, so always check your tires before driving on them. Many spares can be used on the highway and should be kept with your vehicle and up to date. This includes proper inflation and lack of damage.

Bottom Line

If you choose the type of spares that you have based on speed, you may be able to push speeds upwards of 50 mph. However, it still risks damage due to wear and tear on your vehicle caused by spares that are not durable enough for higher speeds. 

The safest choice for your vehicle is to stay below or at 50 mph while driving on a spare.

Did you find this guide helpful? Then consider looking through the others:

How To Remove Spare Tire
How To Remove Spare Tire Dodge Ram
How To Put A Spare Tire Back Under A Truck
How To Put On A Spare Tire