How far can you drive on a spare tire

Getting a flat tire is a quick way to ruin even the best of days, but getting stranded might be only part of the problem if you treat the spare tire carelessly. Many modern vehicles have a compact spare, sometimes called a donut, that are designed to help you limp to the next available service station in the event of a flat. “Limp” being the key word here.

Compact spare tires are not designed to be driven on for more than a few dozen miles, and aren’t going to keep you safe driving at highway speeds. You’re busy, we get it, but this isn’t a job to let slide.

After all of that, you probably still have questions about what you can and can’t do with a donut on your car. How fast can you drive? How long can you wait before replacing the tire? The Drive’s team of professionals is here to help you work out the best path forward when you have a flat tire. Stick with us.

Space-Saver Spare Tire
If your vehicle gets a flat tire when you are on the road outside of Regina, you will most likely find that your spare is smaller than a normal car tire. These donut-type space-saver spares are included in most new vehicles, and they come with certain restrictions that you need to follow to maintain safety. The usage restrictions are usually printed on the tire itself and can also often be found in your user’s manual. Generally, a space-saver spare:

  • Cannot be driven over 80 kph
  • Shouldn’t be driven for more than 100 kilometres
    It is important therefore to get to the nearest Service Centre as soon as you can to repair your old tire or purchase a new one.

Full-Size Spare
Many new trucks and SUVs are equipped with a full-size spare. As long as the spare is in good condition and is the same as the other tires on your vehicle, you are safe to drive on it for as long as you like. However, if it is a different brand or has a different tread pattern, it is recommended that you have it replaced as soon as you can. Driving with tires that don’t match can result in poor traction and handling.

What is a Run-Flat Tire?
Run-flat tires are designed to maintain pressure even after a puncture. They offer the following advantages and disadvantages:

Remain inflated for about 5,100 kilometres following a puncture
Are more durable than a space-saver tire or full-size spare
Often cost more than a standard tire
If you have run-flat tires and your tire pressure monitor (TPMS) shows that it’s running low, you should stop the vehicle and inspect your tires. If you notice a puncture anywhere on a run-flat tire, you need to head to your local Saskatoon-area Service Centre to repair or replace it.

Carlos G. Hill

Carlos G. Hill

Carlos joined TireReview in 2019 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he has been an editor since 2015, and began editing Tire Technology International in 2018. In 2020, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Tire, Professional Motorsport World, Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International and Crash test Technology International

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