Is it Safe to Drive With a Donut Tire? | YourMechanic Advice

Is it Safe to Drive With a Donut Tire?

When one of your tires goes out, it is replaced with a donut tire (also called a spare tire, although a spare tire is typically the same size as a regular tire). The donut tire is intended to provide you with a means of transportation so you can get to the mechanic and have your tire changed as soon as possible. This tire is smaller, so it can be stored inside the vehicle and save space. Most owners’ manuals have a recommended mileage for the donut tire, with 50 to 70 miles being the average. If you are driving on a donut tire, it is best to get it replaced as soon as possible.

Here are a few things to note when driving with a donut tire:

  • Braking, handling, and cornering affected: Donut tires affect the braking, handling, and cornering characteristics of the vehicle. The donut tire is not as large as the traditional tire, which can decrease braking and handling. Furthermore, the vehicle dips where the donut tire is mounted, so the vehicle will tend to pull where the spare tire is located. Keep this in mind while driving so you can be better prepared for it.

  • Drive slower: Donut tires are not made to go as fast as conventional tires. This is because they are more compact, so the guideline is the spare tire should not be driven faster than 50 mph. While you can drive on highways with donut tires, it is safer to stay off of them as you will only be able to go about 50 mph or less.

  • Check your donut tire pressure: The safe air pressure recommended for the donut tire is 60 pounds per square inch (psi). Since the donut tire sits for a while without being inspected, it is a good idea to check the air once you put the tire on your car.

  • Safety systems disabled: Another thing to keep in mind when driving on a donut tire is that the electronic stability control and traction control systems will not work properly. Once a regular sized tire is placed back on the vehicle, both systems will work and you can drive like you did before. While they are off, keep in mind to take extra time and go a little slower to ensure your safety, and the safety of others.

Driving with a donut tire should only been done when absolutely necessary and for a short amount of time. Check the owner’s manual for the recommendation on how many miles you can drive on the donut tire. In addition, do not go over 50 mph while driving on a spare tire.


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Joe

14 years of experience
408 reviews
Joe
14 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Spare Tire Installation - Antioch, Tennessee
I have booked Joe several times at this point and I feel he is very knowledgeable and patient when explaining needed repairs to me. He communicates well and has a pleasant manner and disposition. I have never felt that he would suggest a service that was not needed, which has not always been the case when I used to take my car to a dealership for service.

James

40 years of experience
40 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
43 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
426 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.

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