How to Maintain and Safely Drive on a Spare Tire

A woman's arm reaching into a car trunk to remove the spare tire.While most recognize the importance of maintaining their tires, it can be easy to forget about the one sitting in your trunk. If you’ve never needed to use your spare tire, you may be thinking that it’ll work as good as new when you one day need it. However, accidents arising from poorly maintained or faulty spares are surprisingly more common than drivers may think. Let’s review some tips on how to maintain and safely drive on a spare tire to ensure you’re not at higher risk when it comes time to use one.

How to Maintain a Spare Tire

Despite not undergoing the same road wear as your active tires, you need to regularly inspect your spare tire – also known as “donut” – and replace it before its expiration date, which is usually eight years unless otherwise indicated in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. If the donut is damaged, it’s also preferable to replace it rather than fix it. In addition to keeping an eye on its age, you should make sure you’re regularly refilling it with air. Temperature changes can cause a loss of air pressure, making the tire unsafe to drive on. It’s also important to ensure there has been no safety recalls on the spare tire.

How to Safely Drive on A Spare Tire

Spare tires have far more limitations than your standard tires. To ensure you’re using your spare correctly and don’t surpass its limitations, you should understand the following:

  • How Fast Can You Drive on a Spare? You should never exceed 50 miles an hour on a donut. They were not designed to drive at the same speed as standard tires. The maximum speed will be printed on the side of the tire.
  • How Long Can You Drive on a Spare? Spare tire mileage can vary between 50 and 70 miles. They’re built to be a substitute, not a permanent replacement. Driving on it for longer than recommended can damage the tire and your vehicle and increase the risk of an accident.
  • Does a Spare Affect Your Other Tires? Driving on a spare can wear out your standard tires faster and throw your vehicle out of alignment. It’s crucial to find a proper replacement as soon as you can.

Knowing the facts behind your spare tire can greatly reduce the risk of an accident and prevent your vehicle from incurring undue wear and tear.

Will Insurance Cover an Accident Caused by the Use of a Spare?

While comprehensive car insurance may cover damages caused by tire blowouts, it can be complicated when it comes to spare tires. If you don’t keep up on the maintenance of your spare, such as not replacing it after it has expired or driving on it for too long, you might be held responsible for negligently maintaining your vehicle when it comes to the insurance claim, leaving you financially responsible. However, if your spare is well-maintained and used as recommended, the claim will likely be processed. It’s best to connect with your insurance agent to understand your coverage when using a spare.

Learning how to safely drive on a spare tire will not only help avoid vehicle damage, but it is also crucial to protecting yourself and others on the road. While you don’t often need a spare tire, making sure yours is regularly well-maintained can ensure you’re prepared when you one day need it. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents can pair you with the most suitable auto insurance for your needs. If you’re looking for comprehensive coverage that will protect you from all angles, contact us today.