How Long You Can Drive on a Spare Tire

A flat tire is the last thing every driver wants to experience. If that day ever comes, you’ll need to know how long you can drive with your spare tire.

A flat tire is something every driver dreads, hoping it never happens to them (or their car). However, smart drivers must still be prepared for it. Cars usually come with spare tires as standard equipment. One of the things you should always keep in your car is this item, because it comes in handy. How long can you drive on a spare tire if you get a flat?

You must know what type of spare tire you have, since it makes a big difference in answering “how long can you drive on a spare tire.” Some vehicles might include a full-size tire that matches all of your others. Jake McKenzie, Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage, explains that older vehicles and 4Runners commonly had a full-sized, regulation tire. As long as your car’s other tires match the size and shape of this type of tire, you should be able to drive with it for as long as you like (or as long as your tires normally last). You should still get the flat tire repaired so that you don’t drive without a spare tire. McKenzie still recommends switching it out for the repaired flat sooner rather than later, so that all of your tires have a similar amount of wear-it’s just safer. Find out why your car’s tires might actually be its most important safety feature.

In what way does a vehicle considered to be “older” differ from a newer one? Richard Reina, Product Training Director at, says that “almost all cars of the past 20 years or more have gone to the temporary spare tire.” This is the type of tire you think of more commonly when you hear the words “spare tire”: a donut tire.

There are a couple of reasons why modern cars use donut tires. Reina says it reduces the car’s overall weight, which improves fuel economy. It’s also less expensive. But donut tires have a major downside that makes them a “spare” for a reason: You can’t drive on them for very long. How long can you drive on a donut tire?

According to McKenzie, your vehicle’s owner’s manual should include mileage and speed limitations. For a precise answer to “how long can you drive on a spare tire,” you should consult the manual. Most car experts agree that the range should be between 50 and 70 miles, with 70 being the absolute maximum. If you want to be as safe as possible, stick closer to 50. Reina says the temporary spare’s label will state that it shouldn’t be driven more than 50 miles.

Furthermore, there is a speed limit that must be followed. It is recommended that you drive fairly slowly with a donut tire-both McKenzie and Reina recommend not exceeding 50 mph.

Driving on a donut tire is definitely not ideal, and you should have it repaired as soon as possible. McKenzie says the donut tire will make your vehicle unbalanced and less safe since it is a different size from your other tires. Before you can worry about how long you can drive on a spare tire, you must know how to change a tire in the first place.

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