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.


Next Step

Schedule Spare Tire Installation

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Spare Tire Installation. 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 Spare Tire Installation reviews

Excellent Rating

(145)

Rating Summary
139
5
1
0
0
139
5
1
0
0

Hugh

11 years of experience
68 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
59 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!

Claud

8 years of experience
376 reviews
Claud
8 years of experience
Chevrolet S10 V6-4.3L - Spare Tire Installation - Detroit, Michigan
I had an issue getting a blown tire off my car I couldn't get it off so I called the mobile mechanic he got the tire off in a timely manner which was much appreciated

Gabriel

13 years of experience
39 reviews
Gabriel
13 years of experience
Saturn * * - Spare Tire Installation - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Very knowledgeable and professional. Put forth extra effort to ensure job was completed properly. Arrived on time and was very pleasant. Will definitely contact Gabriel again if have any future issues.

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 I Take Care of My New Tires?
You’ve You’ve equipped your car with a brand new set of tires, replacing the old set of worn out rubber. They were noisy, and every time you had to brake hard, you were losing traction. Now you’ve spent your hard-earned...
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

Applying brakes at stop lights and the vehicle slides.

Hello. If the brakes are staying applied and the wheels are locked but the vehicle begins to slide it is because of the slickness of the roadway. There is not going to be any way to prevent this unless you...

Tires not rolling

It is very possible the rear drum brakes are locked up. The rear wheels would need to be removed and the drums loosened up to restore rotation. You may want enlist the help of a mechanic, such as one from...

How should my tires be rotated?

Tire rotation is an important maintenance step. It helps to ensure that all four tires wear evenly. It should be done at roughly every other oil change, although your frequency may vary. You also need to follow a specific pattern....

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