Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Do Spare Tires Differ From Regular Tires?

How Do Spare Tires Differ From Regular Tires?


Unless you drive one of the select few vehicles that are equipped with a full-size matching spare tire, your spare tire is not the same as the other four that are on your vehicle. There are significant manufacturing differences that make it clear that your spare tire is for temporary short-term use only.

The tire is a different overall height and width

Your spare tire, be it a full-size non-matching spare tire or a compact spare, is typically a smaller diameter than your four normal use tires. It may be a slight half-inch up to a couple inches in diameter different and the width is usually significantly less than your factory tires. This is to save space in your vehicle when the spare tire is stored.

The wheel or rim is made of lightweight material

The structure of the spare tire rim is less important than regular use rims, so it may have a much different wheel offset, or may even be made of lightweight steel compared to normal wheels. Being smaller and made of lightweight material makes it easier to install when necessary but also not usually as rigid or capable of the same abuse a normal wheel receives on the road.

The tread depth is much shallower

Because it is designed for use strictly in emergency situations, your spare tire will have very little tread and only a few sipes in the tread. It is meant to get you to a safe location or perhaps to a tire repair facility and not for everyday or long-term use.

Spare tires are not meant for everyday use, no matter if they are a full-size spare or a compact space saver spare tire. Have your regular use tire repaired and re-installed as soon as possible.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...

Related questions

Q: The steering wheel is shaking when driving at slow speeds

Steering wheel shaking could be caused by a couple of things. Check the condition of the front tires for uneven tread wear and how much tread is left. Having the tires balanced and aligned may resolve the issue. If not,...

Q: What should the pressure be in the spare tire?

A246. Your spare tire is a vital safeguard, and the only way to get safely back on the road after you’ve had a flat. However, if it’s not aired up correctly, you might not be going very far. Check your...

Q: How Long is my Spare Tire Good For?

We all hope that we never need to use our spare tire. If you have never had to use your spare tire, you should consider yourself lucky. On the rare occasion that it needs to be used, the last thing...