Q: Is My Spare Tire Still Safe to Use?

asked by on November 12, 2015

Is my spare tire still safe to use?

Whether it is tucked away in your trunk, hanging on the back, or hidden somewhere under your vehicle, your spare tire is often one of the most forgotten items in your car. Even though you hope that you never need to use it, it does need to be maintained and inspected regularly. Failure to do this can cause you to be caught without a suitable spare when you really need it. Knowing what how to inspect your spare, and knowing what to expect from its lifespan can assist you in having a reliable spare.

Just as with any tire on your vehicle, the tire will deteriorate over time. Whether it is a space saving spare or a full size spare you need to treat it just like the other tires on your vehicle. The air pressure in the spare should be checked regularly, or every few months. Adding it into your normal tire pressure check will help you to avoid forgetting about it. If the spare continually loses a lot of air then you should have it inspected for a leak.

While the tire pressure is important it is also important to do a visual inspection of the tire. When inspecting the tire you need to check it for any cracking or bulges. If any of these are present the tire should be replaced. Most tire manufacturers recommend that any tire be inspected regularly after five years, and should be replaced at the ten year mark. If your vehicle is equipped with a spare tire that is the same as the other tires your manufacturer may require that the spare tire be rotated onto the vehicle during regular tire rotations. This is important to the overall life of the tires. If it is time to replace your spare you may want to upgrade a space saving spare with a full size spare as they are safer and do not have limitations on speed and miles driven like space savers do.

Making sure that you check your spare tire on a regular basis can help you to avoid being caught on the side of the road with a flat tire and a costly tow bill. Keep in mind that when you are inspecting your spare, you also want to make sure that all of the spare tire tools are in the vehicle. The spare will not do you any good if you do not have the correct tools to lift the vehicle and remove the lug nuts. There are also other options available if you do not want to rely on a spare. Besides having roadside assistance, many new vehicles come with a flat repair kit that contains a can of fix-a-flat. This kit can get you to the closest tire repair facility without needing to install the spare. You can also upgrade to run-flat tires. Many new vehicles don’t come with flat repair kits or spare tires as they have run-flat tires, which allow you to continue to drive at a lower rate of speed even during a loss of tire pressure. These are all good options for you if you chose to move away from using a spare tire.

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

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Malfunction of the tire pressure monitoring system

That is a rather complex tire pressure monitoring system used by Audi. Using multiple sensors, antennae, and control module, this may require the Audi manufacturer's scan tool to communicate with in order to diagnose. A tire service center (that is...

Owner had to replace five tires in 11 months

Hello there. The tire issue is not uncommon for your vehicle. The 550i uses tires and wheels with lower profile sidewalls. These increase traction and handling at the cost that they absorb impacts differently. Hitting a pothole or other rough...

How long should tires last?

Tires are expensive, and you want them to last as long as possible. However, there are lots of different factors that go into determining tire life, most of which are out of the hands of the manufacturer. Here are some...

Related articles

Understanding Tire Service Descriptions: Speed Rating and Load Index
There There never seems to be a shortage of questions you are asked when you inquire about tires. What size do you need? What speed rating do you require? How will you be using them? What load index do you...
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...