How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

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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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Recent Spare Tire Installation reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Spare Tire Installation Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

109

Rating Summary
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103
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Bryant

10 years of experience
296 reviews
Bryant
10 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

10 years of experience
29 reviews
Andrew
10 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.

Jacob

10 years of experience
46 reviews
Jacob
10 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Spare Tire Installation - Irving, Texas
Put on spare tire on my minivan. My jack sold with the minivan not strong enough. Show up about 30 minutes later than scheduled not due to his fault. Get the job done quick, fast and professional.

Justin

6 years of experience
292 reviews
Justin
6 years of experience
Lexus RX350 - Spare Tire Installation - Delray Beach, Florida
Jason is very professional and friendly also. He arrived on time. Changed the tire quickly. Did a few other minor adjustments.

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