Tire Maintenance & Safety

How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tire?

Last updated 12/02/2022 - Originally published 12/02/2022
Written by SimpleTire

how-long-can-you-drive-on-a-spare-tire hero

One of the many things that can detract from the enjoyment of driving is a flat tire. A spare tire can definitely restore the fun, but how long can you drive on a spare tire? A flat tire not only delays your travel but also costs money and time to fix.

If you've ever had a flat tire, you know how frustrating it is to get your car back up and running. Your best option for getting back on the road after a flat tire in your car is the spare. How long can you actually drive on a spare tire? The general recommendation is no more than 50-70 miles depending on the type of spare tire you have.

What is a spare tire?

A spare tire is an extra tire that is kept in a car in case one goes flat, blows out, or experiences any other emergency. One of the items you should always have in your car for emergencies is a spare tire. Depending on the vehicle you drive, there are various types of spare tires.

Previously, cars had a spare tire that matched the ones already installed. These are called full-size spare tires, and some SUVs, crossovers, and trucks used these. However, as time passed, car manufacturers preferred a space-saving spare (otherwise known as donut spare) to a full-size spare.

Small to mid-sized cars use donut spares. Run-flat tires have recently gained popularity due to their ability to perform after a flat or pressure loss.

How fast can you drive on a spare tire?

The toughest spare tires are full-size models. For as long as you like, you can drive on full-size spare tires. However, these tires cost more to buy and take up more storage space. Likewise, driving on a full-size spare could be difficult if the tread depth is different from the other tires.

How fast and far can you drive on a donut spare tire? If possible, do not drive over 50 mph when driving on a spare tire. Furthermore, you should not drive no more than 50 miles on a temporary or donut spare tire, as they have far less traction and durability than a standard tire.

Even though run-flat tires are more durable than other tires, they are not as long-lasting as full-spare tires. Unlike spare tires, you can drive a run-flat tire for about 50 miles after being punctured. How long can you drive on a spare tire if it cannot completely replace the original tire? Well, there is a general range on which the majority of auto experts can agree: roughly 50 to 70 miles, with 70 being the absolute maximum. Stick as close to 50 mph as possible to be safe.

Tips for driving with a spare tire

  1. It is important to note that spare tires are typically not as durable as the car's other tires. Therefore, it is recommended that you buy a new tire as soon as possible after the spare is put to use.
  2. Spare tires frequently require different inflation pressures than regular tires, so it's important to check them for proper inflation regularly even when not in use. A spare tire is useless if it is underinflated.
  3. Spare tires lack advanced tread patterns, meaning they cannot provide the same level of traction that regular tires do. This means spares are more prone to slipping or hydroplaning (sliding across the surface of puddles), so you need to be extra cautious when you are driving in bad weather.
  4. The type of spare you have will determine how frequently it needs to be replaced. For more information, consult the owner's manual for your car or carefully examine the spare. The average lifespan of a spare tire is eight years, though it may need to be swapped out sooner if the tire isn’t properly maintained.
  5. Using a spare tire can cause your vehicle's anti-lock brake system (ABS) light to illuminate or cause your ABS to malfunction. Furthermore, a donut spare can cause inaccuracies in the speedometers of some vehicles. Braking early and leaving plenty of space between you and other vehicles can help you avoid unpleasant surprises.


If you believe that having a spare tire allows you to drive normally, remember that this is a myth.With the spare tire, you can drive to the nearest repair shop and have the flat tire inspected, repaired, or replaced. You should not exceed 50 mph and should not travel more than 50 miles with a donut-style spare tire. Long distance driving on a spare tire can cause damage to other car parts, including the transmission.

Yes, if it's a full-sized spare tire, you are free to continue driving. However, the average highway speed is higher than 50 MPH, and it is best to avoid driving on a highway with a temporary or donut spare because you should not go faster than 50 MPH.

Yes, there are different types of spare tires. Full-sized spare tires which are exact replicas of your car tires. Then you have space saving tires (donut tires) which can travel 50 miles with the speed 50 MPH.

Ready to find the perfect tires?

Search By