- A side note here: As a former Bridgestone engineer, I strongly recommend checking DiscountTire - Treadwell out. This is a tool that DiscountTire dealers use in the store. You can get recommendations based on value, performance, and local favorites.
TRIED & TESTED!
Every driver experience 5 flat tires in a lifetime. If this information is an overstatement for you, listen to that one. 7 tires blow out in a second. Moreover, this statistic covers the United States alone. Astounding, right?
That information states that you’ll need a spare tire at least 5 times in your life. In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about spare tires. Let’s dig into it!
Table of Contents
What is Spare Tire?
The spare tire is your backup tire. In case of any puncture or blown out, these tires substitute damaged tires. The main duty of these tires is to help you to reach a tire dealer. However, there are different types of spare tires in the market. These spare tires provide different driving ranges. Let’s evaluate them one by one.
Full-Size Spare Tire
If your spare tire is the same size as your running tires, that means it’s a full-size spare tire. Even though it’s not that common, some vehicles come with a full-size spare tire.
If you have a full-size spare tire, you’re lucky. These tires have the same construction as replacement tires. For this reason, their range isn’t limited like temporary spare tires. You’re free to use them at the end of the tires’ tread life.
Full-Size Matching Spare Tire
In that case, your spare tire and running tire should have the same pattern and size. That’s the best scenario for vehicle owners. After properly inflating these tires, you can confidently use them. There is no range limitation. However, there’re pros and cons.
- Your vehicle maintain its aesthetics
- You don’t have to drive straight to the dealer
- You need a storage place in your vehicle
- You should put your spare tire into the rotation(your spare tire should have closer tread depth to running ones)
- When the replacement time has come, you should buy 5 tires instead of 4
Full-Size Non-Matching Spare Tire
These tires are almost the same as full-size matching spare tires. The only difference is they may have different patterns. Basically, your spare tire should have the same size but a different pattern from the running ones.
For instance, you’re using Michelin Crossclimate 2 225/45R17.
If your spare tire is Michelin Crossclimate 2 225/45R17: Full-size matching spare tire
If your spare tire is Michelin Defender T+H 225/45R17: Full-size non-matching spare tire
Note: Brand or pattern name isn’t important in that case. Michelin tire on the second item can be changed with Bridgestone, Pirelli, etc.
- You may not drive directly to the repair shop
- It doesn’t match aesthetically
- Using different tire patterns on the same axle isn’t recommended by manufacturers
Full-Size Temporary Spare Tire
To be honest, I don’t understand the guys who use these spare tires. These tires are cheaper than replacement tires. However, you need a full-size space for storage. Moreover, you should change these tires with replacement ones anyway.
- They don’t interfere with ABS, traction, or handling
- These tires have a lightweight construction, they don’t put too much weight on your vehicle(storage time).
- You need a storage space
- These tires should be replaced ASAP
Compact Temporary(Donut) Spare Tire
These tires are also known as donut tires. The most important feature of these tires is they can fit any vehicle. Compare to full-size tires, compact spare tires are smaller and lighter. For this reason, they’re popular among the customers who want to save the same space and weight.
In my point of view, these tires are highly beneficial spare tires. However, of course, they have pros and cons.
- Save space
- Save weigh
- Easy to mount
- Can’t be used for a long time
- Interfere your vehicle’s performance
Before you use donut spare tire, you should put the below points into the consideration
- You can drive on these tires a maximum of 50 Miles(70 for some cases but not recommended)
- You can’t exceed the 50mph speed limit
- These tires are designed to get you tire shop, don’t use them for other purposes
- These tires have smaller dimensions. Therefore they need high inflation pressure. 60psi is the recommended number.
TireRack has the perfect guide for donut spare tires, you can reach it out here: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=237
Folding Temporary Spare Tire
These are the inflatable spare tires.
- These tires occupy the least place
- You need an air pump or canister to inflate it
If you have a small car, these tires can be very helpful. Otherwise, they’re just wasting time.
How Long Can You Drive on a Full-Size Spare Tire?
Full-size spare tires have a longer driving range compared to donut spare tires. However, some of them still can’t be used for a long time.
Full-size matching spare tires take the lead regarding range. These tires are exactly the same as your running tires. Same construction, same pattern, and same compound. Therefore, you can use them as long as you want. Though worth reminding, if your running tires and spare tire have a big difference regarding tread depth, that might cause irregular wear or alignment issues in a long time. Therefore, your spare tires should be part of your rotation process.
Full-size non-matching spare tires take second place. These tires are similar to matching spare tires. You can also use them as long as you want. However, I don’t recommend it. Especially on your steer axle. Pattern differences may cause handling issues from time to time. In theory, there is no problem using these tires for a long time. In practice, they will cause handling issues.
Full-size temporary spare tires take the last place. These tires have lightweight construction. Their building intent is to take you to a tire dealer. For this reason, their range is limited to 70 miles. Keeping your speed under 70 mph is also recommended.
Depending on the spare tire type, you can drive different ranges. I’ve prepared the below table to make things easier for you.
|Range Limit||Speed Limit||Pros||Cons||Take Home Point|
|Full-Size Matching Spare Tire||No limit||No limit||Good looking, no need to go dealer||You should pay attention to the rotation time of 5 tires, It’s heavier, You need a storage place||Rotation time is the key(8,000-10,000miles)|
|Full-Size Non-matching Spare Tire||No limit||No limit||No need to go dealer||Tou should pay attention to the rotation time of 5 tires, It’s heavier, You need a storage place, Doesn’t look aesthetic||Rotation time is the key(8,000-10,000miles)|
|Full-Size Temporary Spare Tire||70 Miles||70 mph||Save weight||Limited range, You need a storage space||These tires don’t interfere your vehicle performance, these’re safer than donut tires|
|Compact Temporary(Donut) Spare Tire||50 Miles||50 Mph||Save weight, Save space, Easy to mount||Limited range, Interfere on vehicle performance||Only use to go tire dealer|
|Folding Temporary Spare Tire||50 Miles||50 Mph||Save weight, Save space||Limited range, Interfere on vehicle performance, Hard to mount||Only use to go tire dealer|
If you have any further questions, please leave them in the below section. Have a safe ride folks!
Guide Me Bruh!
This section contains my research and top picks. Depending on your need, you may choose a category and easily find the best fit for yourself. Remember, nobody knows your driving conditions and requirements better than yourself. You’re in the charge out here.
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