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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YourMechanic Spare Tire Installation Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

121

Rating Summary
115
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115
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James

40 years of experience
30 reviews
James
40 years of experience
Volkswagen Jetta - Spare Tire Installation - Beachwood, Ohio
Jim is great! Hilarious guy and of course did an amazing job with the car too. I'd highly recommend him. Thanks so much Jim

Charles

3 years of experience
34 reviews
Charles
3 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Spare Tire Installation - Nashville, Tennessee
Charles thought he was coming to install a spare tire, but the problem was a flat tire on one or our fleet cars (that option is not listed on the website). Charles was prompt, polite and courteous and had the repaired tire back on the car within a couple of hours. We will definitely be using Charles again for any other mechanical problems we may encounter with our fleet cars.

Bryant

11 years of experience
396 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Spare Tire Installation - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant explained each step in the repair process. He answered All my questions and educated me on certain driving and maintenance procedures that will extend my car maintenance schedule.

Andrew

11 years of experience
29 reviews
Andrew
11 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Spare Tire Installation - Fort Myers, Florida
Excellent service! Went above and beyond quickly performing the required maintenance. Provided good insight on what additional work need to be done and what could reasonably wait. Very personable would recommended for your maintenance needs.

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