If you need to use your spare tire, you may be wondering how long can you drive on a spare tire safely.
When you drive on a spare tire, you might be able to get away with driving about 70 miles, but typically you shouldn’t go more than 50 miles.
As long as you’ve got a spare, getting a flat isn’t the end of the world. However, if you’re miles and miles away from a mechanic you may start to sweat. Here’s what you need to know.
How long can you drive on a spare tire?
Despite our best efforts, sometimes we get unlucky and are stuck with a flat tire. Fortunately, that’s why you have a spare tire. Now, it’s important to remember that spare tires are a temporary solution and its job is to get you to a mechanic.
In terms of distance, we recommend only driving up to 50 miles on a spare tire. Some estimates suggest you can drive up to 70 but it’s best not to risk it.
What you need consider when you drive on a spare tire
On top of distance, there are other considerations that you need to consider when driving on a spare. You need to ensure that your spare tire is properly inflated as even an unused spare can lose air over time.
You also need to be careful about your speed, as a spare doesn’t quite have the same structural integrity as a regular tire, you will need to limit your speed and we don’t recommend driving over 50mph.
It’s also important to look out for any potential damage on your tire. Before you start driving on it, make sure there is no damage, punctures or tire bubbles. If you see anything like this, it’s not safe to drive and it’s best to call out a mechanic.
When you do drive, you’ll want to drive even more carefully than usual as the spare tire may handle a little different than your others.
Types of spare tires
When it comes to spare tires, there are typically two types that you will come across.
Full sized matching replacement
The first spare tire you may have is a full sized replacement tire. This is just a fifth tire that matches the other four exactly. It’s the same brand and model to ensure that you can get back to driving normally.
If you use a full sized matching tire then you won’t need to worry about managing your miles or speed as the tire will function the same as the rest.
It is important, however, that you ensure the fifth tire is included as a part of your tire rotation to protect the wear of the tires and manage air pressure.
For the most part, it’s useful to have a full sized matching replacement tire because of how seamless they are if you get a flat. However, they can take up a lot more space and be more expensive when you change your tires (as you’ll need to replace 5 tires rather than 4).
Space saver tire
Space saver tires on the other hand are typically what you think of when you talk about spare tires. They are smaller than regular tires which makes them popular with drivers looking to save space (sounds obvious huh).
However, while they are more space conscious, they are not as effective as your other tires and are only a temporary solution. It’s to get you to the nearest mechanic so that you can get a long term replacement.
Because space saver spares are only a temporary tire, they are not as effective at driving or handling. That’s why you shouldn’t drive more than 50 miles or drive faster than 50mph.
Can you leave a spare tire on overnight?
Typically, a spare tire’s job is to get you to your nearest mechanic for a tire change. However, as long as the spare is undamaged and has enough air in it, then you’ll probably be fine to keep it overnight. We still recommend getting the tire changed ASAP.
How to put on a spare tire?
If you’ve never changed a tire before, it can be a little daunting. Fortunately, we have created a simple, step-by-step guide on how to change a tire, that you can check out.
What to do next?
If you are driving on a spare tire that isn’t a full sized matching replacement, then you don’t want to drive more than 50 miles on it and it should only be used to get you to the nearest mechanic.
Once you do get it to the shop you need to be sure to replace it with an exact match replacement of your tires (so same brand, model and tread).
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!
For more info on buying tires check out our helpful guides.