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How Long Can You Drive on a Spare TireThank goodness for spare tires. No one wants to get stuck miles away from civilization, but at least a spare can get you out of trouble and back on the road.

However, there’s a reason spare tires are almost always smaller, thinner, and more plain-looking than your car’s regular rims. It’s because the spare tire is a temporary solution designed to take you only far enough to get help.

What Is the Maximum Distance to Drive on a Spare?

Space-saver or donut spares aren’t designed to go more than 50 miles. Additionally, they’re not designed to go more than 50 miles per hour. Once you get to a mechanic or repair shop, you need to get your flat tire repaired or replaced, then put the spare back into its storage area for the next time you get a flat.

Why You Shouldn’t Drive Far or Fast on Spare Tires

Most spares are smaller than the rest of your tires to save space and weight. This means the tire will spin at a different speed than your other tires. Additionally, they usually don’t have the same tread as your normal tires. These factors can make handling feel strange and lengthen your braking distances.

Smaller diameter spares can also put more wear on your transmission and drivetrain, particularly if it has computer-controlled clutches for limited slip conditions. If you own a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you might have a spare that’s the same diameter as the rest of your tires, and you may even have a fifth identical rim and tire.

Driving Safely on Spare Tires

To get the best performance from your spare, here are some essential tips.

Give Yourself More Braking Distance

With the reduced grip, you won’t have the same stopping power. Make sure to brake early and pay attention to what’s happening ahead of you.

Avoid Driving in the Rain

Wet roads reduce traction. If you can avoid driving in rainy, snowy, or otherwise slippery conditions, do so.

Keep Your Spare Inflated

Tires naturally lose air over time. If you don’t regularly check your spare, it will go flat. Make sure it’s at its correct pressure before driving long distances and also check its pressure regularly.

Replace Old Spares

Your spare will last about eight years before it will dry out and harden. Check your owner’s manual for the lifespan of your particular spare, and replace it as needed.

Spares Aren’t Permanent

Remember, even if your car feels fine when driving on the spare, it’s not meant to stay on your car forever. Get a new tire to match the other three and remove that spare as soon as possible.

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