Having a spare tire can keep you from being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Most modern vehicles have a compact spare tire to minimize load and maximize convenience. However, if you’re unfortunate enough to have a flat, it’s not advisable to drive on the “donut” wheel for too long. You should instead use your spare as a life raft to get to the nearest auto repair center where your punctured tire can be assessed.
1. Speed is limited
While using the spare tire, you’ll likely notice things move slower. This is because modern compact spare tires were not designed to withstand higher speeds. The tire was specifically built to provide service to the driver until they reached a repair shop. Spare tires are not typically designed to drive for long distances or at higher speeds. They are designed to operate at a maximum speed of 50 miles per hour.
2. Distance isn’t advisable
Most spare tires are designed as a stop-gap measure, and should only cover around 50 miles. This is because they are not engineered to last. Ideally, when you’ve got your spare on the car, you should head directly an auto repair center to have your damaged tire inspected and repaired or replaced. Manufacturers provide you with a spare tire for peace of mind, so you’ll know you can to reach your destination or make it to the next garage. The spare is not provided for long-distance use, but most drivers forget this and often use their spare for extended periods.
3. Uneven wear and tear
When using your spare tire, you may notice that it is a little smaller than the other tires. When used over a long distance, it can affect the wear pattern on your other tires. While the spare tire is on your vehicle, your regular tires will wear more rapidly because of the size differential. Over long distances this can lead to serious damage, meaning you have to replace more than just the originally damaged tire in the long run.
4. Possible alignment issues
Since the spare tire is usually smaller than your standard tires, the alignment of your vehicle can be compromised. As we’ve mentioned, your standard-issue tires are larger, so when you operate with a smaller wheel in place, your vehicle may move as if it is lopsided. This is yet another reason quality auto repair shops advise drivers not to overuse their spare tire. Moreover, a car that is not properly aligned can cause accidents as it may handle unpredictably.
5. General operation limitations
When driving using a spare tire, some drivers notice their vehicle is more difficult to drive and maneuver correctly. You may experience difficulty in braking and cornering, which can lead to an accident; this is why when operating the vehicle with a spare on, you must exercise caution and be alert at all times. It is common for drivers to report that they feel the car “pulls” toward the side with the spare tire fitted when braking or even making simple turns.
When driving using a spare tire, you should operate your vehicle with additional caution and care. It is important that you aim to have the tire damaged repaired or replaced as soon as possible so you can remove the spare and avoid damage to your good tires.