What should you know about driving with a spare tire

In many cases, the spare tire is just a part of the car that we can not think much about. We know it is there, we know that if we need it we can use it if it is needed, but we do not analyze the situation in detail and we do not know much about this tire.

This can become slightly dangerous because in most cases we take care of the tires on the car, we exchange winter tires with summer tires without thinking about the spare tire. But the truth is that the spare tire needs attention, even if it is not used.

Normally, when you buy a new car, whether new or used, you have to make sure it is equipped with a spare tire.

Why is the spare tire important?

Why is the spare tire important

Because you never know when you will have a flat tire and where. And you can not risk driving with a tire low on pressure for a long time to avoid much more serious damage.

Thus, the spare tire will save you in any situation, even if you are at the top of the mountain. But not for nothing is called the spare tire. Having a simple extra tire in the car would not help you much, because installing a tire requires minimal experience and some tools.

What do you don’t know about a spare tire?

Even if it’s not a whole philosophy behind a spare tire, and if you already know the basics about the rest of the tires you’ll be fine, there are some things that might be interesting to mention.

The size of the spare tire

There is not a single type of spare tire type. Thus, it may have a normal size, like the rest of your tires, or it may be more compact. In general, you will meet the compact spare tire model for smaller cars where a normal tire would not fit in the trunk. But if you have a spare tire, keep in mind that you should not use it excessively and over long distances.

Spare tire durability

Another important aspect of a spare tire is how durable they are and what their life span is. As I said before, if you don’t have a regular spare tire in your car, you should use the thin spare tire only for short distances.

If you drive with a thin tire over a longer distance more faults can occur. Thus, it would be advisable to go to a tire center as soon as possible to repair the regular tire.

What is a thin spare tire?

How safe is it to drive with a thin spare tire

When you have a flat tire, you can replace it, on certain models of the car, with what is called the spare tire, in fact, a spare tire in the true sense of the word, but of small size.

Its role is to help you get to a car service or a mechanic as quickly as possible, which will help you solve your problem as soon as possible. The special spare tire has small dimensions because it has been designed in such a way that it does not occupy too much space in the car.

If you carefully study the technical book of your vehicle, you will find that this type of spare tire has a recommended speed, usually between 80 and 100 km (49 – 62 miles). Therefore, if you have a car equipped with such a spare tire, the best idea is to replace it as soon as possible.

In conclusion, the use of a special spare tire is useful for a short period of time and only in situations where it is absolutely necessary. For more information and recommendations of the manufacturer, especially regarding the distance you can travel with such a spare tire, check the technical book of the personal car. And do not forget, whatever the needs of the moment, do not exceed a maximum speed of 80 km / h (62 miles/h).

How safe is it to drive with a thin/slim spare tire?

disadvantages of driving with a spare tire

1. Braking, handling, and steering will be affected

There is no doubt, a special spare tire leaves its mark on how the car is handled, braked or steered. Such a tire is not as big as the traditional tire, which leads to decreased reliability when braking and handling.

Moreover, the car is inclined towards the side on which this tire is mounted, so it will tend to “pull” in that direction. Keep all this information in mind and you will be prepared for such a situation.

2. The speed will be slower

These special tires were not created for a speed similar to the conventional ones. This is because they are much more compact, so the general idea is not to exceed 80 km / h (62 miles/h). It is preferable to even avoid the highways in situations like this, in order not to feel compelled to accelerate more than you should.

3. Be sure to check the pressure of the thin tire

You must remember that the recommended pressure for such a special spare tire is about 4.15 bar (60 psi). Since the spare tire is only used in crisis situations, it is always a good idea to check its pressure before mounting it.

4. Safety systems no longer work properly

It is very important to remember this. The car’s safety systems, such as stability control or traction control, will not operate in parameters. As soon as the traditional tire is mounted in the car, they will return to normal and again, it will be possible to drive as you used to.

In the situation where the car is equipped with a special spare tire, do not forget to drive more slowly, without sudden maneuvers, both for your own safety and for the other traffic participants.

Using the spare tire can affect fuel consumption

Yes, another aspect that many may not even think about is that running with a spare tire will have higher consumption than normal. When another model of a tire is used that is not the same as the other tires, it will reach a higher consumption. At the same time, however, the proper transportation of a spare tire, especially if it is of normal size, will lead to higher consumption.

How to mount the spare tire

How to mount the spare tire

It is good to know that you should not stop on the bridge, in the tunnel or on the roads with a single lane, so you must drive until you reach the right place to stop the car.

My advice is to go as little as possible after you discover a flat tire, do not force yourself to go on a tire center until you will completely destroy the tire, rim and probably other components of the steering/suspension.

Once you have found a suitable place to stop the car remove the faulty tire and replace it with the spare tire – this is the idea that it still exists and is in good working order. 🙂

The first step is to mount the reflective triangle at a distance of 20 meters behind the car and take your reflective vest and if you have it, the protective gloves so as not to get dirty. You also need to have the jack for lifting the car, the tire iron, the anti-theft tire iron and of course the spare tire.

Next, you will fix the jack to the special lifting points of the car. Each tire has a lift shaft towards the middle of the car on the edge of the threshold or a little inside. If it is not clear what the lifting place is, look in the user manual because there you will find a diagram with these points. If you lift the car from other points you will bend the body at that point.

It is important that you do not raise the car completely after fixing the jack before loosening the studs. At the anti-theft stud (if you have something like that) you have to pay more attention not to use the key or tire iron the wrong way because you risk destroying the head of that stud and thus you won’t be able to unscrew it anymore to change the tire. As long as the car is still on its weight you can loosen the wheels without turning them.

After weakening the studs you can lift the car until the tire is raised a few centimeters above the ground. Now you can unscrew the studs and unmount the wheel with no problems. Next, you must put the spare tire and fix the studs in place. You have to take care of details like if the rim is made of alloy or steel, you may need other precautions for this rim (either of another length or with another type of cone).

From here the process is quickly reversed. screw the studs but not tight, lower the car from the jack, tighten the studs, put the bad tire in place of the spare tire and put back the reflecting triangle and the protective gloves.

Now that you have only 4 tires in good condition you need to repair your faulty tire or change it, it would be best to do so on the same day or as soon as possible. However you proceed with the spare tire, there is some other information that you should know about how it is advisable to keep the tires on the car. I am referring here to the fact that it is good to have the same type of tire size and profile on one axle, or at least on the axle with the traction.

Things are even stricter if you have a car with an all-wheel-drive in the sense that then all tires must be the same. Why these rules? To protect the transmission (from the differential to bearings).

Are there cars that do not need a spare tire?

The good news about most modern cars is that not everyone needs a spare tire because in many cases the tire is made in such a way that it does not deflate even if it was forced and drilled by a powerful object on the road.

What solutions have been found and implemented so far by car manufacturers so that they no longer need to change the tire on the road? 

The answer is runflat or runonflat tires. These tires have the side strong enough that you can only ride on it, without any pressure on the tire. Such tires can travel up to several tens of miles at a speed of up to 60km / h (37 miles/h).

runflat tire system 1

The disadvantages, besides the more significant price, are that you do not know when you have a flat tire because the tire does not change shape and it becomes even dangerous if you have a flat tire on a runflat and drive at high speed. You can know that you have a problem only if you have a warning light on the dashboard). In addition, you force the suspension and steering very strongly considering that the shocks that the tire normally takes over are now taken over by the rim and suspension.

Another solution offered by the car and tire manufacturers is that sealing foam that can be inserted into the tire if you have a small hole.

So again you can drive at low speed until the first workshop. These solutions do not make the tires indestructible, but only save you the effort to change the tire and save you space for spare tires in the trunk.


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