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A full-size spare tire vs donut – which one do you choose to keep around to help you deal with that most dreaded of situations – the flat tire?

A full-size spare tire is an extra tire that’s the same size and weight as your regular tires. A donut is smaller and lighter than a regular tire and saves space. You can’t drive a donut tire for too long (approx. 112 kilometers) or too fast (approx. 80 km/h). A full-size spare has no such limits.

The choice you make in the full-size spare vs donut debate really depends on the type of car you're driving and whether you want to get back on the road and fix your tire at a later date or drive to the nearest workshop and get it fixed right away.

Having dealt with many, many flats in our years of driving, we have gone through the same problems and are here to guide you through this strange predicament of having to choose between lugging around a full-size spare or a space saver. So, let's get started.

Table of Contents

Spare Tires: Explained

You'll ultimately have to deal with a flat tire if you spend enough time behind the wheel of an automobile. It makes no difference how cautious you are with your automobile or how meticulous you are with your car's tires. It'll only be a matter of time until a flat tire appears and causes havoc with your vehicle. When that time arrives, you'll almost certainly need to put a spare tire on your car and drive about with it.

Having a full-size spare means purchasing a set of five tires for your automobile instead of four, ensuring that you have a regular tire on hand in the event of an emergency. The main benefit of having a full-size spare is that it isn't a band-aid solution. You may replace the flat with a full-size spare and go about your day without really thinking about the flat tire. Do remember to get that tire fixed, though. If you're in that situation again, you won't have a spare to turn to, otherwise.

Donut Tires: Explained

These tires, often known as "donut" tires or "space savers," are generally easier to transport since they are smaller and lighter than your car's regular tires. A donut is also easy to keep in a car because of its tiny size. As a result, all compact automobiles, from hatchbacks to sedans, will come with a spare donut. A donut spare tire is also significantly less expensive than a full-size spare since it uses less material (rubber). When it comes to a temporary spare tire, however, there are several drawbacks and safety concerns.

For instance, when driving on a donut spare tire, never exceed 112 kilometers of driving mileage. This is due to the fact that donut tires are narrower and smaller and hence will not survive as long as a full-size tire due to the lack of tread. In addition, when employing donuts, you should never exceed 80 km/h since they are extremely sensitive to bumps in the road and can go flat pretty easily, which isn't something you want to deal with after you've just replaced a flat.

Another thing to keep in mind while using a donut spare tire is to avoid sudden movement on the road. Because they're so much smaller than ordinary tires, they spin more quickly, have a smaller contact area, and give substantially less traction. Finally, donut tires are designed to be discarded. You can't drive on them for longer than the recommended distance, and if the wear indications begin to show. This is why it is important to inspect them right away once they've been replaced by your mended full-size tire and get a new one. If they've gone over the maximum distance we indicated before, don't use them again and replace them right away.

Keeping a full-size spare in your car, on the other hand, necessitates having the necessary storage space. Ideally, you'd include the full-size spare in your regular tire rotation so that it wears in the same way and at the same rate as the rest of your tires. When/if that tire is promoted to a permanent position, this can help you minimize strain on your automobile and provide balanced handling.

Where Are You Likely to See a Full-Size or Donut Tire?

While today's sedans and hatchbacks usually have a smaller, space-saving "donut" spare tire, automobiles in the past were built to accommodate full-size spares. If you purchase a larger vehicle, such as a pickup truck, SUV, or MPV, there's a good chance it will come with a full-size spare tire.

Is It Difficult to Replace a Full-Size Tire?

A full-size tire is bigger and heavier than a space-saving donut. This makes removing a spare tire a potentially sweaty and exhausting task, especially if you're alone and/or have no prior expertise. Steel wheels are often used on full-size tires. However, when you visit a tire repair or "vulcanizing" business, you can request that the steel wheels be replaced with the flat tire's wheels. This is especially useful if your flat tire is beyond repair.

It's worth noting, though, that a spare tire may have different specs than your other three working tires. This results in a shift in handling, which might lead to mistakes while driving. As a result, we recommend that you obtain a new tire with the same specifications as your other remaining tires.

Full-Size Vs Donut Spare Tires

It goes without saying that the size of the tire is the biggest difference between spare tires and donuts. So, which is the best option for you?

Donuts are more frequent in sedans and smaller automobiles. Donuts will be ineffectual for larger cars because of their small size, but they can work for a light sedan. Full-size spare tires are heavier, and they can cause a drag on the back end of smaller cars, lowering a car's mileage. The decision between a spare tire and a donut is mostly based on the size of your car. Having a spare tire in your trunk might also have an influence on your gas mileage.

Some automakers have abandoned the spare tire concept entirely, choosing instead to offer sealant and an inflator kit. When purchasing a new or used automobile, be sure you understand exactly what you're buying.

Now that you know all there is to regarding the two basic types of tires for your vehicle, you will be able to make a more informed decision the next time you have to choose a spare tire for your car.

Full-Size Spare Tire Vs Donut

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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