How fast can you actually drive on a spare tire? How safe is it to go above 50?

How long can I drive on a temporary spare tire?

Donut spare tires are not made for extended service. They have little tread to speak of, the carcass or body of the tire is not reinforced, and there is no belting to protect it from punctures and road imperfections. The tire is designed simply to get you to a repair facility. Most of these tires offer a maximum life of 70 miles.

There’s another reason to avoid driving on the spare: mechanical damage. The smaller spare tire can cause premature wear on your differential. Replacing the differential is a lot more expensive than replacing a tire. Trust us. Get the tire repaired as soon as possible, and don’t push your luck.

What will happen if you drive too fast on a donut spare tire?

It may seem like a very minor rule, but driving too fast on a spare tire can be incredibly dangerous as well as expensive.

Firstly, if you drive above the 50 mph limit or the one stated on the tire, the biggest risk is that the tire will fail. Although the risk may not be great and you are unlikely to immediately suffer issues by driving at 55 mph, driving significantly above the limit or too fast for a long time can cause failure.

A spare tire failure can be much worse than a regular tire puncture or blowout. The spare wheel is much lighter and smaller and the tire does not have additional safety features you will find in full size tires like reinforced sidewalls.

If you drive too fast and your spare tire fails, you run the risk of losing control of your car and significant damage to the axel and other parts of your car even without accounting for the potential damage caused by a crash.

The other big thing to remember is that if you drive too fast on a spare tire, you may well be breaking the law. Although most states and countries do not have specific laws about spare tires, you may be issued a fine or get into worse trouble for driving without due care or a similar infringement.

Remember to not drive too fast when you're driving
Remember to not drive too fast when you’re driving on a spare tire.

By Aunging/Shutterstock.com

Driving too fast on a spare tire will damage your car

The other very important thing to know is that driving on a spare tire is generally bad for your car and the faster you drive the worse it is.

Even without any of the above taking place, when you drive on a spare tire, that corner of your car is having a completely different tread pattern and is a completely different size to other wheels.

This means that this tire spins at a completely different rate – this has a noticeable impact on your steering, differential, suspension and other car parts. If you drive too fast, the impact can be significantly greater and you can cause significant damage to your car as a result.

The spare tire also has very little grip – this means that your ability to control the car and steer will be jeopardized and even more so if the conditions are wet, cold or icy.

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Why do I have a temporary spare instead of a full-size one?

The use of donut spares is the result of limited space inside the vehicle in question or car makers seeking to reduce cost or weight. Typically the donut spare takes up much less space and is cheaper to manufacture than full size tires and wheels, which translates into more profit for the car makers. It also is significantly lighter than a full-size tire and wheel, which helps with fuel economy. Many cars eliminate spare tires of any sort altogether, and instead include a small tire inflator or can of tire goop, in the name of further weight savings and greater efficiency. Outfitting the car with run-flat tires is another frequent choice. These allow your to drive a comparable distance as the temporary spare would allow even with a full loss of air. The catch is they are much pricier to replace.

For the consumer, anything less than a full-size spare is quite a compromise in the event of a puncture.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding

What Happens If You Drive Too Fast on a Spare Tire?

If your spare tire fails while on the road, there's a good chance your car will slip out of control and crash. This is why it's important to always have a full set of tires on hand so that there isn't any danger in case something goes wrong.

A spare tire is only intended to be used for a limited time so you must drive slowly on it. Driving too fast may cause the vehicle to blow out, causing damage to your car.

If someone drives too fast on a spare tire, they could cause the vehicle to fail or blow out and cause damage. Driving fast also makes cars more likely to lose control and hit other vehicles or pedestrians on the road.

The risks are even higher with a spare tire than experiencing a blowout on a traditional street tire. Your vehicle is already unbalanced, so a blowout will cause it to lose control much more erratically resulting in a dangerous crash.

When driving on a spare tire, it is best to drive slower than usual based on your vehicle's speedometer reading. Simply keep your speed under 50 MPH to stay safe and avoid any unnecessary risks on the road.

How far can you drive on a flat tire?

If you have a flat tire, the rule is simple, DO NOT drive on it. If you’re on the road as you discover the flat tire, do everything you can to pull over safely and avoid oncoming traffic. Once safely pulled over, you can begin the process of removing the flat tire and replacing it with a spare tire. Driving on a flat tire can cause the tire casing to be damaged where a tire patch will no longer fix the tire and a tire replacement would be necessary. In other cases, driving on a flat tire can cause irreversible damage to your rims!

Benefits of a Full-Size Spare

Found most often with trucks or SUVs, full-size spares aren’t as common as space-saver spare tires. The perks of having a full-size spare is that you can drive further before getting a replacement, however, that doesn’t mean you can put off replacing your full-size spare tire. Even with a full-size spare, performance can suffer due to the tire:

  • Not being the same quality as your other tires
  • Not having the same wear as your other tires
  • Not being the same brand as your other tires

Notes When Driving With Donut Tires?

First, master the skills when using tire donuts, such as controlling the vehicle’s speedwell and not exceeding the allowed travel number, especially when turning or braking sharply. Sudden acceleration or turning will make the system not adaptive, putting pressure on the controller, causing equipment damage.

Choose the right spare tire for each vehicle type. There are two main products on the market: light tires and flat wheels. The weight is not too heavy for small cars like BMW or MINI, which tend to be donuts.

In contrast to heavy trucks such as containers or excavators, flat wheels are a reasonable choice because they have a large design, good gravity support, and can even be on the road in the absence of air pressure.

Besides, although the car can run from 50-70 miles, if you want to be suitable, quickly find a service center to put the standard tire back in place.

Conclusion

Understanding the usage procedure and the notes to avoid will make it easier to control a car with a donut. Factors from the outside environment also impact spare tires, so the priority solution is always to find a tire repair shop soon.

We hope that this information will help you understand this matter. If you have any other related questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below. We will try to help clarify these questions in a timely manner!

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

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