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Summary
  • You can safely drive up to 100 miles with a full-sized spare tire and only 50 miles with a smaller one.
  • A spare tire is an extra tire stored in a vehicle in case of a flat tire.
  • Driving too long on a spare tire causes excessive wear on various parts, plus an increased chance of blowout and tire damage.
  • Spare tires come in different types, like donut tires, folding temporary tires, and run-flat tires.
  • You can safely drive for 50 miles on a run-flat tire.
  • You can reuse spare tires if they show no signs of tread wear, and they can last between 5 and 8 years when sparsely used.
  • An aftermarket spare tire replacement can cost anywhere from $50 to $300.

Your vehicle’s tires are designed to withstand all kinds of roads and weather conditions. However, that doesn’t mean they’re invulnerable because you can still get a flat tire. When that happens you can always install your spare. But how far can you drive safely on it?

Read on to find out how far you can drive on a spare tire and learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about spare tires.

How Far Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

If your spare tire is smaller in size compared to the rest of the tires on your vehicle, then you shouldn’t drive more than 50 miles with it. This is because driving for long distances on a smaller-sized spare tire (also known as a donut tire) can damage some parts of your vehicle.

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Small-sized spare tires are designed to let you drive to the nearest repair shop and have the flat tire inspected for repairs or replacement. So you shouldn’t use them as a long-term replacement for your flat tire.

woman replacing car tire
If your spare tire is smaller in size compared to the rest of the tires on your vehicle, then you shouldn’t drive more than 50 miles with it.

For full-sized spare tires, you can typically drive up to 100 miles safely. While full-sized spare tires are heavier and require more space for storage, they are more durable and can handle drives similar to regular tires.

What Is a Spare Tire?

A spare tire is an extra tire that’s stashed somewhere in a vehicle in case of a flat tire. It serves as a safety measure in case of tire-related emergencies, so you won’t get stuck in the middle of the road with a flat tire.

What Happens if You Drive Too Long on a Spare Tire?

You run the risk of causing excessive wear on your vehicle’s wheel bearings, brakes, and transmission gears when you drive on a spare tire for a long time. The risk is higher if the spare is smaller than your other tires.

There is also a much higher risk of a blowout or tire damage because of the spare tire’s lightweight composition.

What Are the Different Types of Spare Tires?

Listed below are some of the most popular types of spare tires:

  • Full-size matching spare tire
  • Full size non-matching spare tire
  • Full size temporary spare tire
  • Compact temporary spare tire (also known as donut spare tire)
  • Folding temporary spare tire
  • Run-flat tire

How Far Can You Drive on a Run-Flat Tire?

If you drive a performance or luxury car, such as a BMW or a Mini, you probably have run-flat tires. Run-flat tires are designed to maintain pressure even after a puncture. They’re tougher than most spare tires and cost less to maintain.

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Rather than going flat or blowing out after being punctured, run-flat tires can continue to drive for about 50 miles before needing to be replaced. While they cost less to maintain, they cost more to replace.

Can You Use a Spare Tire More Than Once?

You can use your spare tire more than once provided it doesn’t show signs of tread wear. While there isn’t an exact number of times you can use your spare tire, you should make an effort to maintain it so it lasts as long as possible. 

When used sparsely, you can expect your spare tire to last anywhere from 5 to 8 years. Of course, this is only a rough estimate because overall spare tire quality still depends on its material.

How Much Does a Replacement Spare Tire Cost?

An aftermarket spare tire replacement can cost you anywhere from $50 to $300 on parts alone. Its price depends on various factors, like the part’s brand, quantity, and your vehicle’s specifications.

What to Consider When Looking for a New Spare Tire

car spare tires for sale
Shopping for a new spare tire can quickly become overwhelming because of the wide variety of options on the market.

Shopping for a new spare tire can quickly become overwhelming because of the wide variety of options on the market. To help you choose the right one for your vehicle, here are some factors to consider when shopping for a new spare tire:

Application

Always check for fitment before buying a new spare tire for your vehicle. When in doubt, get a replacement that’s designed specifically for your vehicle’s year, make, and model to guarantee a perfect fit and hassle-free installation.

Quality

A spare tire can be the only part standing in the way of becoming stranded in the middle of a highway and driving to safety. That’s why it is crucial that your spare tire is durable and made of high-quality materials. The best way to ensure the quality of your spare tire is to order it from a trusted brand.

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Finding the perfect replacement spare tire for your vehicle should be easy as long as you know what to consider and look through credible product reviews. Also, don’t forget to check your vehicle specifications or consult your trusted mechanic to double-check the specifications of your replacement spare tire.

Where to Get a Spare Tire for Your Vehicle

You’ll never know when you’ll end up with a flat tire, which is why it’s always a good idea to keep a spare somewhere in your vehicle. But what happens next when you’ve used your spare? Get a new one, of course!

There’s no better place to shop for a top-notch spare tire than CarParts.com. We have a great selection of tires that come as direct-fit replacements for your ride. Our tires have undergone stringent testing procedures, so you can rest assured that they’re built tough.

Enter your vehicle’s specifications into our vehicle selector to start shopping for direct-fit tires for your daily driver. You can also use the search filters to find a tire that best matches your preferences in terms of brand, type, quantity, and more.

Order a spare tire now, and get it delivered straight to your doorstep in as fast as two business days. Our tires also come with a low-price and lifetime replacement guarantee, helping you get the best value for your money.

Check out our products today!

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Contact Center Manager and Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

William “Bill” Guzenski has produced hundreds of how-to videos for the automotive community. He’s an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician, and is affiliated with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). He loves attending race events and car shows throughout the country, as well as traveling in his 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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