Key Takeaways

  • Driving on a spare tire for a week is not recommended.
  • Spare tires, or “donuts” are designed to get you to the nearest repair shop.
  • Check the spare’s tire pressure regularly to ensure it’s properly inflated.  
  • Full size spares are an alternative to donut tires.
  • Run flat tires are an alternative to donut spares.

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When a person gets a flat, sometimes they put on a spare tire to hold them over. But can you drive on a spare tire for a week?

It is not recommended to drive on a spare tire for a week. Generally, spare tires, or “donuts” are designed to get you to the nearest repair shop. They are also not meant to be driven on at high speeds or for long periods of time.

I’m a mechanic with five years experience working in a tire shop. I received a degree in automotive repair and I am ASE certified. I receive training on the most recently released automotive technology. I use the most recently released software, tools, and technology to repair and diagnose vehicles.

Table of Contents

Can I Drive On A Spare Tire For A Week?

As a motorist, you may sometimes encounter a flat tire or a damaged tire. This can be a potentially dangerous and frustrating situation. In this situation, the donut tire is usually the answer to all your problems.

If you are wondering “how long can you drive on a spare” or “can you drive on a donut spare tire for a week”, look no further than the pros and cons list below.

Pros Of Driving On A Spare Tire

The primary advantage of using donut tires is that it enables you to continue driving your vehicle despite a flat or damaged tire. This is really beneficial if you are in a remote location or are in an emergency situation.

Spare tires, compared to a regular tire, are meant to provide adequate traction for short trips and at low speeds. Mainly, they are created to hobble your vehicle to the nearest mechanic or repair shop.

Another advantage of using a spare tire is that it can save you time and money. Because you have a spare tire, you do not have to wait for a tow truck. While spare tires are only a temporary solution, they are one that helps you avoid paying and waiting for a tow.

Cons Of Driving On A Spare Tire

While driving on a spare tire is convenient, it is not a long term solution. Spare tires are designed to be a temporary fix for a flat tire issue. Spare tires have limitations that can affect your driving experience and safety.

Spare tires are usually smaller and lighter than regular tires, and they have a different tread pattern. These factors can affect your vehicle's stability, handling, and braking, especially in wet or slippery conditions.

In addition, spare tires are not as durable as other tires. This makes them more susceptible to punctures and blowouts. Driving on a spare tire can also affect your vehicle’s suspension and alignment. This can lead to additional issues down the line.

Tips For Driving On A Spare Tire

If you are in between a rock and a hard place, and absolutely need to drive on your spare tire for a week, it's important to follow these safety tips.

  1. Check the spare’s tire pressure regularly to ensure it’s properly inflated.
  2. Avoid driving at high speeds or long distances. Most spare tires have a recommended speed limit of around 45-55 miles per hour and a maximum distance of 50 miles.
  3. Avoid driving on rough terrain or in inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or ice.
  4. Replace the damaged tire as soon as possible to ensure your safety on the road and prevent any further damage to your vehicle.

Driving on a spare tire for a week is not recommended at all, but it may be necessary in some cases. Spare tires are designed for temporary use only and have limitations that can affect your driving experience and safety.

If you must drive on a spare tire for some time, it’s important to follow the guidelines above. Remember, safety should always be your number one priority when driving on the road.

Run Flat Tires

Instead of using a spare tire the next time your tire goes flat, think ahead and purchase run flat tires. But what are run flats?

Run-flat tires are a type of tire designed to allow drivers to continue driving safely for a limited distance, even if the tire has lost air pressure or been punctured. They are made with reinforced sidewalls that can support the weight of the vehicle even when the air pressure inside the tire has dropped significantly.

Run-flats are increasingly common on new vehicles and are particularly popular on luxury and high-performance cars.

There are two main types of run-flats: self-supporting and auxiliary-supported. Self-supporting run-flat tires have stiff sidewalls that can support the weight of the vehicle without air pressure. They can run for up to 50 miles at speeds up to 50 mph after losing air pressure, which is usually enough to allow the driver to safely reach a service station or tire shop.

Auxiliary-supported run-flats, on the other hand, have a ring or band inside the tire that helps support the weight of the vehicle when the tire is flat. These tires can usually travel up to 100 miles at reduced speeds after losing air pressure.

Run-flats offer several advantages over traditional tires. First and foremost, they provide an added level of safety by allowing drivers to continue driving even if they experience a flat tire.

This can be particularly important in situations where stopping to change a tire could be dangerous, such as on a busy highway or in a bad neighborhood. Additionally, run-flat tires can save drivers time and hassle by eliminating the need to change a tire or call for roadside assistance.

However, there are also some downsides to run-flats. One of the main drawbacks is that they tend to be more expensive than traditional tires. Additionally, because they have stiffer sidewalls, run-flat tires can provide a harsher ride than standard tires.

Finally, because run-flats are designed to be driven on when flat, they cannot be repaired in the same way as traditional tires. If a run-flat tire is damaged, it usually needs to be replaced entirely.

Overall, run-flats can be a good choice for drivers who value safety and convenience. However, they are not for everyone and drivers should carefully consider the pros and cons before choosing them for their vehicle.

Full Size Spares

Sometimes, there are alternatives to donuts. Some people like to keep a full size spare tire

In their car instead of a space saving donut. This allows them to continue driving like normal without having to go to the shop right away.

Full size spare tires are usually only found in SUV’s and small trucks since they can be stored underneath a vehicle. If your car has the trunk space, you may store a full size spare in there as well.

Can I Drive On A Spare Tire For A Week?

About The Author

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks has been servicing vehicles since 2012. After completing the automotive studies program at Camden County College, he was awarded an Associates's Degree in Applied Science. His first job was a lube-tech at Jiffy Lube, and is currently an independent B-Technician servicing vehicles for the United States Postal Service. Christopher is ASE certified and loves rebuilding engines.

Read more about Christopher Sparks