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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Recent Spare Tire Installation reviews

Excellent Rating

(158)

Rating Summary
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Nicholas

11 years of experience
585 reviews
Nicholas
11 years of experience
Toyota Camry V6-3.0L - Spare Tire Installation - Knightdale, North Carolina
Nicholas finished an earlier appointment which enabled him to come by earlier than originally scheduled. I'm very grateful he chose to reschedule. While replacing a flat with my donut spare, he instructed me on how to safely drive to the tire shop for the repair. More importantly to have the shop add air to the donut spare. Nicholas did an excellent job. He as very professional. Thank you
Ford E-150 Econoline - Spare Tire Installation - Durham, North Carolina
I was VERY pleased with Nicholas' expertise and was more than delighted that he was so prompt. He was very polite and friendly, and he did a marvelous job. If I ever need any repairs to my vehicle in the future, I would definitely ask for Nicholas.

Luis

29 years of experience
91 reviews
Luis
29 years of experience
Toyota Prius L4-1.5L Hybrid - Spare Tire Installation - Prospect Heights, Illinois
Luis attended my car today and help in fixing the issue quickly. He is nice and friendly guy. I will recommend him for any services.

Hugh

11 years of experience
106 reviews
Hugh
11 years of experience
Toyota FJ Cruiser V6-4.0L - Spare Tire Installation - Castle Rock, Colorado
Hugh came to change out a flat tire for my spare today. I have to say that I feel sheepish for calling someone to come help because I know how to change a tire but I was at work and on shift until 2 am and he came to my place of work. Instead of just installing my spare, he took the time to evaluate the situation. I had a nail in my tire and he took the tire to get patched and my vehicle drove better on my way home than when I left this morning. It was snowing sideways when he showed up to help me. He was a bit of a godsend in the moment and I would recommend him to anyone. I was just distressed because I did not have enough tip to give this guy for overachieving when I needed it. Huge five star review. I only hope to pay his generosity forward. He was more than worth the cost and he did a phenomenal job.

Jonathan

26 years of experience
88 reviews
Jonathan
26 years of experience
Honda Civic L4-1.7L - 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!

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