How to Tell if Your Spare Tire Is Still in Good Condition

The most neglected safety device your car is equipped with is your spare tire. It hides in your trunk or under the back of your vehicle and you don't give it a second thought until you really need it. It can be years, or even decades, before it needs to be used in an emergency, but how do you know if your spare tire is still in good condition?

Visually check the condition. Ideally you won’t wait until you need to use your spare tire to find out if it looks alright. Whenever you check the spare tire, look for cracking in the sidewalls and in between the tread blocks. If there are light cracks that the edge of a penny don’t catch on, you are alright to use the spare tire and just have it replaced after usage. If there are deeper cracks that the edge of a penny falls into or catches on, the tire is not safe to drive on as the tire’s strength is compromised. It could blow out on you.

Check the tire pressure. While spare tire pressure should be checked during every oil change service, it is all-too-often overlooked. Check the spare tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge and compare the actual pressure to the manufacturer’s specification. You will find the appropriate pressure listed on the driver’s door placard along with the other tire pressures. If the tire is flat or severely under the recommended air pressure, don’t take your chances driving on it. Re-inflate it when you are able to and monitor it for leaks.

Check the manufacture date. You may not think a tire expires, but tires are not meant for use beyond 10 years from the date they were manufactured. A tire is made of rubber which degrades especially when exposed to environmental elements. While a tire’s life may last longer than 10 years, it's rare. If the manufacture date on the sidewall of the tire makes it older than 10 years, have your spare tire replaced.

Check the tread depth. If you’ve bought your car new, it is unlikely that the spare tire has been replaced without your knowledge. If you purchased your vehicle second-hand, it is possible the spare tire has been switched out for a tire of much lesser quality or poor condition. If the spare tire is worn beyond 2/32nds of an inch of remaining tread, replace the tire immediately. It's considered worn out and must be discarded.

Make sure you check your spare tire as part of your regular vehicle service routine. It has the potential to save you a massive headache down the road.


Next Step

Schedule Oil Change

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Oil Change. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Oil Change reviews

Excellent Rating

(21,699)

Rating Summary
20,382
845
179
87
206
20,382
845
179
87
206

Matthew

33 years of experience
991 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Volkswagen Passat - Oil Change - Hampton, Virginia
Matt always does a great job. Very professional. I look forward to my next appointment.... A++++++
Ford Expedition - Oil Change - Hampton, Virginia
I am so please to have Matt work on my vehicle, he is very friendly and personable, and always does a great job.

Greg

22 years of experience
37 reviews
Greg
22 years of experience
Audi A3 - Oil Change - Queen Creek, Arizona
Job well done! Greg was on time and professional. He treated my vehicle with care. He completed the job smoothly and so far so good. First time using Your mechanic and it was a pleasant experience. I will be looking into them again. Thanks Greg!
Ford Explorer - Oil Change - Scottsdale, Arizona
Greg was very friendly and professional. Communication was great, he let me know what he was doing. He went above and beyond to make sure everything was running smoothly. I would 100% recommend Greg!

LAVELL

27 years of experience
93 reviews
LAVELL
27 years of experience
Buick Encore - Oil Change - Oakland, California
Another home run! Really appreciate the flexibility regarding my service appointment. Due to my work schedule I desperately needed a late appointment. So grateful my car is receiving top shelf professional service. Replaced a oil pan drain plug that was seriously damaged and stripped by a competitor that will NEVER get my business again! All services were quickly completed. Thank you so much for another great experience with my.... Your Mechanic Lavell 5 ⭐️ Service consistently.

Brian

23 years of experience
483 reviews
Brian
23 years of experience
Porsche 911 - Oil Change - Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Brian is extremely knowledgeable and very personable and has taken very good care on my 911. I would recommend Brian to any one who has mechanical car challenges. I would recommend Brian to all My friends and family

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Do Spare Tires Differ From Regular Tires?
Unless Unless you drive one of the select few vehicles that are equipped with a full-size matching spare tire, your spare tire is not the same as the other four that are on your vehicle. There are significant manufacturing differences...
How Do Spare Tires Differ From Regular Tires?
Unless Unless you drive one of the select few vehicles that are equipped with a full-size matching spare tire, your spare tire is not the same as the other four that are on your vehicle. There are significant manufacturing differences...
How Do Spare Tires Differ From Regular Tires?
Unless Unless you drive one of the select few vehicles that are equipped with a full-size matching spare tire, your spare tire is not the same as the other four that are on your vehicle. There are significant manufacturing differences...

Related questions

How do I unlock the seat belt?

The seat belt will occasionally lock, which will keep you from being able to pull it any further. When this happens, release the seat belt until it has fully returned to the retractor. Wait a few seconds, then slowly pull...

How do I check the engine oil?

Checking the engine oil is something that you should do with regularity, and always before you start a long drive. Here’s how you can check the oil. Turn off the vehicle and let it sit for at least 10...

How do I use the child restraint tether anchors?

Depending on your exact model, your vehicle is equipped with either two or three child restraint tether anchors. Many child restraint systems rely on tethers. The anchors in your car are on the back wall of the cabin. Attach the...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com