How Fast Should You Drive on a Spare Tire?


Experiencing a flat tire can be a stressful and inconvenient event, but fortunately, most cars come equipped with a spare tire to get you back on the road. However, driving on a spare tire is not the same as driving on a regular tire. There are specific rules and guidelines you need to follow to ensure your safety and the safety of others. In this blog, we will explore the crucial aspects of how fast you should drive on a spare tire and delve into the important “driving on a spare tire rules.”

Understanding Spare Tires

Before diving into speed limits and safety guidelines, it’s essential to understand the different types of spare tires you might encounter:

1.       Full-Size Spare Tires:

These are the same size as the original tires on your vehicle and can be used without significantly affecting your driving experience. They are meant to be a direct replacement for your regular tire.

2.       Temporary Spare Tires (Donuts):

These are smaller and lighter than regular tires. They are designed for short-term use only and have specific limitations regarding speed and distance.

3.       Run-Flat Tires:

These tires are designed to be driven on even after they have been punctured. They allow you to continue driving for a limited distance and at a reduced speed without needing to change the tire immediately.

Driving on a Spare Tire Rules

When it comes to driving on a spare tire, there are several rules and guidelines that you need to follow to ensure safe travel:

1.       Check Your Vehicle’s Manual:

The first step in understanding how to drive safely on a spare tire is to consult your vehicle’s manual. The manufacturer will provide specific instructions and limitations for your spare tire, including recommended speeds and distances.

2.       Reduce Your Speed:

For temporary spare tires (donuts), the maximum recommended speed is typically around 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). Exceeding this speed can cause the tire to fail due to its limited design. Full-size spare tires may allow for higher speeds, but it’s still advisable to drive more cautiously than usual.

3.       Limit Your Distance:

Temporary spare tires are designed for short-term use, typically no more than 50 to 70 miles (80 to 112 kilometers). The exact distance can vary based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, but they are generally not meant for long-distance travel. Full-size spares can be driven for longer distances but should still be replaced with a regular tire as soon as possible.

4.       Avoid Highways and Freeways:

When driving on a spare tire, it’s best to avoid highways and freeways where high speeds are required. Stick to local roads and routes where you can maintain a lower speed safely.

5.       Drive Cautiously:

Regardless of the type of spare tire, you should always drive cautiously. This means avoiding sharp turns, sudden braking, and aggressive driving. Spare tires do not offer the same level of performance and handling as regular tires.

Why Speed Matters

Driving too fast on a spare tire can lead to several potential issues, including:

1.       Tire Failure:

Temporary spare tires are not built to withstand the stresses of high-speed driving. The materials and construction are intended for short-term, emergency use only. High speeds can cause these tires to overheat and fail.

2.       Reduced Handling and Stability:

Spare tires, especially temporary ones, can significantly alter your vehicle’s handling and stability. They are usually narrower and have less tread, which means they provide less traction. Driving at high speeds exacerbates these handling issues.

3.       Increased Wear and Tear:

Driving at high speeds on a spare tire can accelerate the wear and tear on the tire, potentially leading to premature failure. This is particularly true for temporary spares which are not designed for extended use.

4.       Potential for Accidents:

The combination of reduced handling, stability, and the increased likelihood of tire failure at high speeds raises the risk of accidents. It’s essential to drive at a reduced speed to maintain control of your vehicle and ensure safety.

Practical Tips for Driving on a Spare Tire

Now that we’ve established the importance of adhering to the recommended speed and distance limitations, here are some practical tips to follow when driving on a spare tire:

1.       Inspect the Spare Tire:

Before installing the spare tire, inspect it for any visible damage or wear. Ensure it is properly inflated to the recommended pressure. Driving on an underinflated or damaged spare can be dangerous.

2.       Plan Your Route:

Plan a route that avoids highways and busy roads. Opt for local roads where you can drive at a reduced speed safely.

3.       Get the Flat Tire Repaired Promptly:

Once you’ve installed the spare tire, make it a priority to get your flat tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Driving on a spare tire is a temporary solution.

4.       Monitor Vehicle Handling:

Pay close attention to how your vehicle handles with the spare tire installed. If you notice any unusual vibrations, noises, or handling issues, reduce your speed further and seek assistance.

5.       Use Caution in Adverse Conditions:

If you encounter rain, snow, or icy conditions, exercise extra caution. Spare tires, especially temporary ones, have less traction and can make driving in adverse conditions more challenging.


Driving on a spare tire requires adherence to specific rules and guidelines to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. Understanding the limitations of your spare tire, particularly temporary ones, is crucial. Always reduce your speed, limit your driving distance, and avoid highways when using a spare tire.

The keyword “driving on a spare tire rules” highlights the importance of following these guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure safe travel. Remember, spare tires are designed for emergency use only, and getting your regular tire repaired or replaced should be a top priority. By following the driving on a spare tire rules, you can navigate the temporary inconvenience of a flat tire safely and effectively.