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Donut tires are the latest in spare tire evolution and are becoming increasingly popular. But do donut tires fit all cars, or do they only fit certain models?

Donut tires, also known as temporary use spare tires or TUSTs, are great for saving space. However, just like with regular spares, donut tires do not fit all cars. They're mainly used as a temporary solution when you have a flat. Eventually, you will have to replace these with your regular tires. 

Donut tires are a great way to keep a spare tire in your car and save space at the same time. However, they are not meant to replace your car's regular tires. After you've driven on these tires for a while (about 70 miles), you'll have to replace your donut tire.

As experienced drivers, we've dealt with all kinds of tires over the years. Yes, this includes donut tires, too. In this article, we're going to tell you all about donut tires, whether they fit all cars, as well as the limitations of these tires. Let's get started.

Table of Contents

What Are Donut Spare Tires

Donut tires are spare tires that go by several names, such as space-saver tires and temporary use spare tires (TUSTs). The main feature of a donut spare tire is its compact and lightweight design. The idea behind this small size tire is to be used as a spare in case of emergencies. Since regular spare tires provided by the car manufacturer take up a lot of space due to their size, a donut spare tire allows users to save space in their car as well as shed some of those extra pounds for improved fuel economy. In short, the donut spare tire is just what you need if you run a flat and need to change the tire while out on the road.

Can Donut Tires be Used Permanently?

Donut spare tires prevent car owners from being stranded at the side of the road because of a flat tire. However, the donut spare tire is just that – a "spare" tire that is to be used in emergencies only, as in, whenever any one of the tires of your car gets punctured. It is important to note that donut spare tires were not designed to be used indefinitely. This is why donut tires should only be used to travel over short distances, as in, to the nearest service station where you can get your punctured tire fixed and put back on.

Not All Donuts are Created Equal

Contrary to popular belief, just because all donut tires seem to look alike, they are not. One of the questions that people often ask is whether donut tires fit all cars. And the answer is - no. While donut spare tires have revolutionized the spare tire space, both for vehicle owners and manufacturers, the sad truth is that no universal donut tire has been developed as of yet.

Since donut spare tires are designed by car manufacturers who want to save space, they vary in size. This means manufacturers design and develop these tires according to the type and size of the vehicle they are manufacturing at the time. In other words, donut spare tires vary in both weight and size, depending on the vehicle they come with. Due to this, donut spare tires are only recommended to be used in the vehicle make and model that they have been designed for specifically.

This is also the reason why manufacturers and mechanics do not recommend interchanging the donut spare tires you have in the vehicles of two different manufacturers. It should also be noted here that every donut spare tire has a specific size, weight, height, and tread pattern. Even the material used in the development of the donut spare tire differs from one manufacturer to the other.

Furthermore, donut spare tires also differ in terms of speed, overall quality as well as longevity, and distance rating, which is normally given on the sidewall or rim of the donut spare tire.

Donut Tires vs. Regular Tires

One major difference between donut spare tires and regular tires is that they are not made with the same materials. As a result, donut spare tires aren't as durable as regular tires that are used in cars. This is mainly because donut spare tires are made with rubber that is inferior in quality as compared to regular car tires. They have fewer steel plies in the tire's belt, which means they also aren't as durable and do not offer the same level of grip on the road as regular tires.

This is one of the main reasons why a donut spare tire is only recommended to cover shorter distances. This distance limit is typically around 70 miles, depending on the size and weight of the donut spare tire you have.

Donut Spare Tire Limitations

Apart from not being recommended to drive a car for more than 70 miles on a donut spare tire, there are also other limitations that you should be aware of. Due to their small size, donut spare tires are not as durable as the regular tires you find in cars. This means that driving fast on a donut spare could compromise the car's handling and put you at a higher risk of getting into an accident.

This is why donut spare tires always come with speed limitations to ensure the user's safety. Depending on the size, weight, and build quality of the donut spare tire, users are advised not to exceed speeds of 50 miles per hour on this tire.

It is also important to maintain a low speed when using a donut spare tire because the compact size of the tire increases the braking distance, which means you often have to hit the brakes slowly and from a good distance. At the same time, turning at high speeds may result in an accident when using a donut, which is why drivers need to maintain the exact speed as given on the sidewall of the donut tire you are using.

Since most cars have the engine located at the front, it is not advised to use a donut spare tire when changing the wheels of the front tires simply because they are unable to take the weight.

Cost of a Donut Tire

Donut spare tires are relatively cheap and typically range between $50 for low-end donut tires and $300 for high-quality donut spare tires.

Do Donut Tires Fit All Cars?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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