In case you are on a long drive and lose one of the tires due to a puncture, the spare tire in your car will help you keep going. However, if you still have a long way to go, you might be asking yourself how many miles you can keep driving on the spare tire. Well, this depends on whether it is a full-size tire or a space-saver spare tire that most cars now come with. While full-size spare tires have the same lifespan as regular tires, compact tires only last 50 to 70 miles.
How many miles can a spare tire last?
In the past, most cars came with spare tires that exactly matched the main tires equipped on the wheels. However, people rarely need to use spare tires, which means they unnecessarily take up too much space. Manufacturers started providing space saver tires (also known as compact tires) to deal with this issue instead of full-sized spare tires. These tires are also known as donuts, smaller, thinner, and take up much less space.
Now, these spare tires are far less durable than regular tires because:
- These tires have very little tread.
- The rubber used in making these spare tires is much thinner than regular tires.
- Compact tires do not have the various safety features that your main tires come with.
- As space-saver tires are smaller, they can’t endure as much usage.
This limits the overall mileage of a compact tire to around 50 to 70 miles. Most manufacturers put a 50-mile rating on their spare tires, which means you can expect the tires to run for at least 50 miles. If your spare tire is strong enough to withstand 70 miles of driving, it’ll have a 70-mile rating instead. You should always limit the use of a space-saver spare tire as much as possible and get the punctured tire replaced with a new regular tire at the earliest.
In case the spare is a full-sized tire, you do not need to worry about any of these issues. As these tires are the same as your regular tires, the lifespan is similar as well. You may expect full-size spare tires to last at least 60,000 miles, considering that they match the standard of branded tires. If the tire is from one of the leading brands, you might be able to use it for up to 7 to 10 years.
When to replace spare tire?
You should replace your spare tire as soon as possible, as these tires aren’t suitable for prolonged use. The longer you drive on your spare tire, the quicker it starts to wear out. After all, the idea behind the design of these spare tires is to help you keep moving and reach a place where you can buy a new tire to replace the damaged one. Check out these warnings that point to a necessary replacement.
- You have already been driving on the spare tire for a long time and it’s getting close to the mileage rating from the manufacturer.
- You drove aggressively or had to tackle rough terrain for a while. Both of these can damage a spare tire heavily.
- Your spare tire is already more than eight years old. Even if you never used it, you should replace it after eight years as the rubber breaks down over time.
Besides durability, safety is a major concern with spare tires too. As these tires have minimal tread, they offer poor traction and handling. Once you have switched out the damaged tire for a spare tire, try to find a tire store near you immediately. If you are using a full-size spare tire, you’ll still have to buy a new spare tire later to replace the spare.
What Happens If You Drive On A Spare Tire Too Long?
Driving on a spare tire for too long can lead to a number of problems and major hazards. These include:
1. Tire blowout
As the tire wears down quickly, it can blow out or explode if you keep using it past its expected lifespan. A blowout is extremely hazardous, as it can cause you to lose control of your car and crash. It tends to make care swerve dangerously, with the blown tire resulting in sudden and imbalanced traction.
2. Damaged transmission
Using a spare tire for extended periods can damage your car with the transmission. Besides potentially leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere, this can also be expensive to fix. Drive very carefully when using a spare tire, keeping the speed in check.
3. Poor handling
As mentioned earlier, the lack of adequate tread on compact spare tires results in poor traction. Now, imagine driving for miles on such a tire – the tread will wear out almost completely. This significantly increases the chances of an accident as the car will become harder to handle.
Can a spare tire last 100 miles?
If you are using a compact spare tire rated for 70 miles, you can probably try to stretch it to a hundred miles if absolutely needed. However, this is highly advisable unless you are in a remote area and cannot find new tires. As you now know already, it is very dangerous to keep driving on a compact spare tire for 100 miles.
Can I drive 300 miles on a spare tire?
Not only is it inadvisable to try driving on a spare tire for 300 miles, but it’s likely impossible too. The chances are high that the tire will blow out much earlier, potentially resulting in an accident. Hence, this is definitely not an option. In case you are using a full-size spare tire, it’s a different story as these tires have a far longer lifespan than compact tires.
How Long Do Compact Spare Tires Last?
Compact spare tires usually last up to either 50 or 70 miles. You can find the recommended maximum mileage on the tire’s body, rated by the manufacturer.
How Long Does A Full Size Spare Tire Last?
Full-size spare tires are basically the same as regular tires, and have an average lifespan of 60,000 miles. You can expect these tires to last at least five years, if you drive up to 15,000 miles per year on an average. A good tire will easily last anywhere between seven to ten years. However, manufacturers recommend changing tires after ten years even if they look fine.
Unless you are using a full-size spare, do not test your luck and get your spare tire replaced with a new regular tire as fast as you can. Driving compact spare tires for longer than their expected lifespan of 50 to 70 miles can be very dangerous. Also, try to keep your vehicle’s speed under 50 mph and drive carefully to reduce stress on the spare tire.