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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Recent Spare Tire Installation reviews

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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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