How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

You’ve seen it every day this week, and you’re pretty sure it was like that last week too. When you pulled into your parking stall, the car beside you has its spare tire on. That little compact spare tire, or donut, looks like it’s seen better days. Isn’t there a rule for how far you can drive on a spare tire?

Types of spare tires

  • Compact, or space-saver tires, known as donuts
  • Full-size spare tires

A donut is a rudimentary tire, with very little tread or sipes in the tread. It is often undersized in both height and width and is mounted on a basic steel rim.

A full-size spare tire is most common on sport utility vehicles and trucks, especially ones equipped with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The full-size tire usually matches the specifications of the tires on the vehicle and can be operated under normal circumstances indefinitely unless otherwise indicated on the tire.

How long can a spare tire be used?

A donut specifically details the guidelines of its usage on the sidewall or rim of the spare tire. The general rule of thumb is a donut can only be used for 70 miles in distance at a top speed of 50 miles per hour. This is because there is very little tread on the tire, and it is more susceptible to road damage than a regular tire.

A full-size spare tire can be used as long as you would like if you’ve confirmed it is the same size and type as the ones on your vehicle. You will still want to have your tire repaired as soon as possible so all your car's tires are the same.


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Jonathan

26 years of experience
33 reviews
Jonathan
26 years of experience
Honda Civic - Spare Tire Installation - Smyrna, Georgia
Jonathan was very punctual, friendly, and transparent. He clearly explained everything he did and provided detail about any additional work he recommended. Great work!

Claud

8 years of experience
316 reviews
Claud
8 years of experience
Chevrolet S10 - Spare Tire Installation - Detroit, Michigan
I had an issue getting a blown tire off my car I couldn't get it off so I called the mobile mechanic he got the tire off in a timely manner which was much appreciated

Gabriel

13 years of experience
39 reviews
Gabriel
13 years of experience
Saturn * - Spare Tire Installation - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Very knowledgeable and professional. Put forth extra effort to ensure job was completed properly. Arrived on time and was very pleasant. Will definitely contact Gabriel again if have any future issues.

Pierre

9 years of experience
210 reviews
Pierre
9 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Spare Tire Installation - Canton, Massachusetts
Great mechanic offered me exceptional customer service ! Very professional and knowledgeable. Thank you so much!

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