While proper tire care and maintenance should help you avoid ending up on the side of the road, sometimes a flat tire can’t be avoided. In that case, it’s time to break out the spare until you can get to your local mechanic for a repair or a replacement. But, just how far can you safely drive. It depends on the kind of spare tire your vehicle was outfitted with. Learn more about the differences between full-size spare tires and space-saver spare tires below.
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Full-Size Spare Tire vs Space-Saver Spare Tire
In the past, almost all vehicles came outfitted with a standard full-size spare tire. While this spare wasn’t as high quality as the everyday tires for the vehicle, it was the right size and made from a heavy and durable material that allowed drivers to put quite a few miles on it before needing to purchase a replacement tire. Full-size spare tires are no longer the standard because of their weight and storage needs.
Unless you purchased a performance-focused truck or SUV or your vehicle is a little older, chances are you have a space-saver spare tire also called a donut tire. It’s smaller, lighter, and has virtually no traction making it unsafe to drive long distances. For a breakdown of exactly how many miles you can expect to get out of your donut tire, consult your owner’s manual.
Can you replace only one tire on your car?
While only one tire may be damaged, it’s possible you will need to end up replacing two or even all four of your tires in the case where a repair to the original tire isn’t possible. It depends on your vehicle’s drivetrain and the current condition of your other tires. If you are lucky enough to replace only one tire, it should be the same brand, size, and tread pattern as the other tires on your car.