How Long Will Your Spare Tire Last?

The tires on your car or truck are designed to tackle miles of pavement, gravel, dirt, and all sorts of weather conditions. But every so often, you’re going to run over an object that could cause a flat tire. When that happens and you install your spare, how long can you drive and still make it safely to the tire shop? We have some answers to help you save money and stay safe on the road.

Your Spare is NOT a Long Term Solution

According to most vehicle manufacturers, a temporary spare tire (also known as a donut spare) should only be used to get from where you discovered your flat tire to the nearest tire repair shop. While there are different sizes and types of spares, we suggest you keep speeds at or below 50 miles per hour and drive no more than 50 miles on a spare tire before getting your flat fixed. Some full-size spare tires, or spare tires that are designed to match the other 4 tires on the vehicle, can be installed and used for longer distances, at normal speeds. Since these spares may not be used often, just make sure the air pressure is set to the manufacturer's specification, and the tire doesn't have any visible issues before hitting the road. If there are any concerns, proceed with caution or seek advice from a tire professional.

Why? Because your temporary spare tire may be smaller than your everyday tires. This makes it spin faster than the rest of the wheels. Plus, the tread can be vastly different, or the tire may not be designed for long distances. Regardless, those differences can decrease your control, reduce stopping power, cause hydroplaning on wet roads, and can damage your transmission and other parts of your vehicle. See your owner’s manual or the side of your spare tire for recommended safe driving speeds and distances.

Les Schwab Tip: Whether you drive a handful of miles every day or hundreds of miles a week, it’s important to learn how to change a tire. It’s easy and can save you from paying and/or waiting for roadside assistance.

What is a Space-Saver Spare?

Also known as a donut spare, the space-saver spare tire was designed to save space in smaller vehicles. If you drive a compact or smaller vehicle, you may have a space-saver spare. These tires have less traction than your regular tires, are smaller, should not be driven at speeds over 50 miles per hour, and should not be used for more than 50 miles. That’s enough to get you to your nearest Les Schwab Tires for a free flat repair when you have our tires on your vehicle.

Space Save Spare Tire

What is a Full-Size Spare?

Many vehicles, including sedans, SUVs and larger trucks have a full-size spare. As the name implies, they are the same size as the other tires on your vehicle. However, the tread on the spare may be different. If there is far more tread on the spare, you may notice decreased control and comfort while driving. And if the spare has minimized tread, you could experience hydroplaning on wet roads or reduced stopping distance. Either way, it’s a good idea to get to Les Schwab when you have a flat. That way you can reduce your time driving on a spare.

What are Expandable/Inflatable Spare Tires?

Expandable/inflatable spare tires are available in some vehicles, including Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Ferrari models. These spares come with a non-inflated tire mounted to the rim and an air compressor. Once you inflate and install the spare, it’s ready to get you to the nearest Les Schwab.

Expandable/Inflatable Spare Tire

What About Run-Flat Tires?

You may wonder if you even need a spare tire at all. The answer is maybe. Run-flat tires are designed to withstand punctures and remain mostly inflated. However, if you do begin to lose tire pressure, these tires need to be inspected and repaired quickly to avoid a full replacement.

Les Schwab Knows Tires (and Spares)

The distances between tire service can be long. Spare tires, as well as run-flat tires need attention, just like your regular tires. Not sure what kind of spare you have or if it’s even properly inflated? Schedule a Les Schwab free pre-trip safety check. We’ll give everything a visual inspection and show you what to do the next time you get a flat.