All cars lose air pressure over time and vehicle owners need to be prepared for a flat tire. It is important to have a backup wheel on hand, so you can safely return home or drive to a mechanic if you suffer a puncture.
Temporary “donut” tires are smaller wheels that are designed to save weight and space on your car. These wheels are not meant for long distances or high speeds. Fully inflated spare tires can function longer than “donuts”.
So, how long does a spare tire last? Find out below.
Driving on a Spare Tire
After switching out a flat tire, you will either be driving on a donut tire or a fully-inflated emergency spare. These wheels should not be a permanent replacement for a flat tire for reasons we’ll discuss below.
How Far Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?
How far can a spare tire go? Since a donut tire is smaller, you should not be driving more than 50 miles. Hopefully, 50 miles will be enough distance to bring you to the nearest mechanic who can provide you with a new wheel. If you drive on a donut for too long, you run the risk of damaging your car’s transmission or other car parts.
With an inflated tire, you can drive longer than 50 miles. However, it will be out of balance with the other wheels and may throw your car out of alignment. It would be a wise decision to get to a mechanic as soon as possible.
How Fast Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?
How fast can you drive on a donut tire? You should not drive more than 50mph if you are using a small donut tire. If you are stuck on the highway, continue to drive at low speeds, with your hazard lights on. You may need to stick to the slower, right-hand lane and keep your windows down if you need to inform others to pass you.
With a fully-inflated spare, you will be able to handle driving at higher speeds and drive on the highway. It is recommended to treat the fully-inflated backup as a temporary solution until you arrive at your destination. Drive carefully as your spare may have lower air pressure and not be as stable as the other wheels.
When Should You Replace an Inflated Spare?
You should replace inflated spare tires on your car around every 8 years. It is suggested to replace your backup because all wheels degrade over time, even if they are not being used. A hot climate will speed up the aging process.
How Long Will an Emergency Wheel Last?
A donut spare will not last very long and is not a permanent solution. An inflated spare tire will last longer, but it’s also recommended that they are switched out as soon as possible. The average spare does not have the same wear and tear or alignment as the other wheels.
Changing a Spare Tire
To be prepared for a flat, it is important to know where your emergency tire is located and how to change it. Reviewing the proper steps to change a flat tire can help you if the situation calls for it.
Secure Your Vehicle and Tools
The first step is to secure your vehicle in a safe space like a parking lot. You want to make sure the car engine is off and the emergency brakes are on. Locate your car manual to find where your tools are located. You will need a jack and lug wrench.
Remove the Lug Nuts and Wheel
If your car has a hubcap, you will need to remove it first with a screwdriver. Consult your owner’s manual on using the jack and make sure the car is lifted at least 6 inches above the ground. Use a wrench to remove the lug nuts. Remember not to lose them.
Put on Your Spare Tire
Remove the flat wheel with both hands. Pull the wheel towards you and place it under the car. Put the backup on and align with the wheel bolts. Put back on the lug nuts with your wrench. Make sure the bolts are tight before lowering the car back down.
Getting a flat on a long drive is a terrible dilemma to be in. So let’s recap: How long does a spare tire last?
A donut tire or inflated spare tire are not long-term solutions after getting a puncture. Especially if you have a small donut tire, it will only last 50 miles to get you to the nearest mechanic. An inflated backup will last longer than the donut, but not enough for a stable solution.
Learn more tips on how to be prepared for a flat tire. If you have an inflated spare wheel on your car, make sure you replace it every 8 years, so it is in tip-top shape if you ever get a puncture.
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