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How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

Spare tires are incredibly underappreciated. We keep them tucked away in the trunk or under our vehicle, and we often forget about them until we need them to work for us.

When we need them, though, we cross our fingers and hope they can help us limp our way to the nearest service station.

So how long can you drive on a spare tire?

Let’s find out!

What Is a Spare Tire? 

Spare tires can save the day when you have a flat or blowout. They’re common on most vehicles and are often temporary tires you can use to hobble your way to the tire shop. You can have a full-size spare, a temporary full-size spare, or a temporary mini-spare tire. 

Some temporary full-size and mini spare tires will require you to watch your speed or distance traveled. Neither tire is a permanent replacement for your flat. If you don’t know what type of tire you have, check as soon as you finish reading this article!

Pro Tip: Avoid needing to use your spare tire by using these 7 Tips to Prevent an Awful Tire Blowout Accident.

What Happens If You Drive on a Spare Too Long? 

It’s a gamble any time you use your spare tire. Not because your spare tire isn’t safe, but because you’ll have no backup. Spare tires aren’t usually made for extended use and are meant to get you to the nearest repair shop.

The longer you drive on them, the more likely you will experience another blowout. However, this time you’ll be stuck with no replacement.

As soon as you put a spare tire on your vehicle, you should start planning to replace it. You may have to cancel your plans for the day and head directly to the repair shop to replace the damaged tire.

Don’t take the risk by driving around on a spare tire for too long. Any money you’re trying to save will get eaten up if your spare blows and causes damage to your vehicle or if you have to call a tow truck.

Man fixing tire.
Always RV prepared with a spare tire.

How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

A mini-spare tire, also known as a donut, is typically good for a maximum of 50 miles. If you drive any farther than 50 miles, you’ll risk another tire failure. If you put a donut on your vehicle, it’s best to head directly to the tire shop for a tire replacement.

Your spare tire should have a sticker or label on it that would indicate the recommended maximum speed and distance.

If your vehicle has a temporary full-size or a full-size spare, its condition will determine its longevity. If the spare tire is old and not in good condition, then there’s a good chance it won’t last long. Inspect the tire and look for any visual signs of cracks or damage. The worse condition the tire is in, the sooner you’ll want to replace it. 

Can You Drive on the Highway With a Spare? 

Yes, you can drive on the highway with a spare tire. However, make sure to follow the speed rating for your specific spare tire. Failure to do so can cause the tire to fail and leave you calling for a tow truck. 

Can I Go 70 on a Spare? 

Full-size spare tires should easily handle speeds upwards of 70 mph. If you have a truck or SUV, you won’t have as much to worry about so long as you secure the tire to your vehicle.

If your spare is a mini-spare tire, you need to keep the pedal in check. While the tire may handle 70 mph for a short time, those speeds can cause the spare tire to fail. Your spare should have stickers and other warnings on it to tell you the speed rating. Most mini-spare tires have a speed rating of no more than 55 mph.

Pro Tip: Do you know your tire speed rating? Find out how fast you can drive by uncovering why Tire Speed Rating is No Joke.

Man replacing RV tires.
Replace your spare tire every 6-10 years.

Is a 10-Year-Old Spare Still Good?

Many tire manufacturers recommend replacing your tires at least every six years. Tires can last up to 10 years, but only when stored appropriately.

Extreme changes in temperature and exposure to the elements will shorten the life of your spare tire. Using a 10-year-old spare tire is a gamble that we encourage you not to take. You may not be able to drive on that spare tire long.

How Much Do Spare Tires Cost? 

Depending on the type and size of the tire, spare tires can range from $50 to $300. It may be worth talking to your local tire dealer to see if any of your other tires are nearing the end of their useful life. You’re more likely to get a good deal if you buy multiple tires instead of a single tire.

Can You Reuse a Spare Tire?

Depending on the age and quality of your spare tire, you may be able to reuse it. If you only drove a few miles and it’s relatively new, then there’s a good chance you can store it away for later use. 

Inspect your tire before putting it away. If it’s not in good condition, you should immediately replace the spare with a new one. You don’t want to discover your spare is bad the next time you need it.

Have you ever had a flat and had to use your spare tire? Do you know how long you can drive on a spare tire with your vehicle? Drop a comment below!

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