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.