how fast can you drive on a spare tire

How Fast Can You Drive On A Spare Tire? Spare Tire Basics

Having a spare tire readily available in your car is as important as wearing your seatbelt all the time when driving. It’s a safety requirement in case emergency happens – one of your regular tires may wear out or may got flat. So the question is, “how fast can you drive on a spare tire?” Not all drivers care about this question because some think it’s as if you’re still driving on a regular tire. However, regular and spare tires have differences and every driver should take note of these. Extra caution should be considered especially when driving on a highway/freeway. 

This is a relevant thing to learn especially for a newbie who owns a car for the first time. A spare tire is important because it will serve as your back-up to drive your way to the nearest repair shop and have it replaced by a regular tire.

So, let’s just cut to the chase. The safest speed when driving on a spare tire should be 50mph below (for donut spare/space saver spare tire). With this answer, I know you got a lot of questions in your mind and with that, I’d like to guess some of your questions and I’ll provide you with answers.

Why 50mph below only?

Donut spare/space saver spare tires don’t have the same design and safety qualities that regular tires have.  Regular tires are bigger and heavier compared to spare tires. If you drive more than 50mph with a spare tire, it will eventually fail and may damage related parts in your car which may cause accidents. They have lower levels of grip (as to braking) and they spin a lot faster. Moreover, this may damage the differential and for sure will cause you a lot of problems. As the saying goes on, “it is better safe than sorry” so, don’t go overboard and just try your best to get to the nearest shop that can replace you with a regular tire.

I’m driving on a highway/freeway, what should I do? Driving on a donut on the highway

The usual speed in a highway is 70mph and this got you thinking. Well, of course you can stay in the slowest lane and may turn your hazard lights on, but make sure you are in a state that does not prohibit hazard lights when driving. Another wise thing to do is turn to the nearest exit. With this, you’ll be confident enough to drive slower and can focus on driving your way to the repair shop. Remember, this is your ultimate goal when you got a flat which forced you to drive on a spare tire.

The repair shop is out of the way, what happens if you drive on a spare tire too long?

The answer to this still brings us to the question, what type of spare tire do you have? The type of car that you have may help answer this. Most of the time, SUVs,  MPVs and pick-up trucks have a full-size spare tire and small cars like sedans and hatchbacks have donut spare/space-saver spare tire, but this still depends. So, if you have a full-size spare tire, then you can drive a lot longer compared to donut spare/space saver spare tire. However, never be too confident that you drive a full-size spare tire because this may still cause damages in the long run so just make sure to get to the nearest repair shop.

Full-size spare tire vs donut, what are their differences?

So let’s dig in to the details. Full-size: SUV/Pick-up Trucks/MPV, Donut: Sedans/Hatchbacks. Makes sense, right? The former is bigger and heavier and the latter is smaller and lighter. Full-size takes up more space in your trunk and since it’s heavy, it adds up to the weight of your car, which may reduce the efficiency of your fuel. However, it does give you more advantages especially when the repair shop is far and may cause you to drive longer. A donut, basically, is the opposite of a full-size, so it’s easier for this to be stored in the trunk because of its smaller size. However, there are corresponding disadvantages when using donuts because of their susceptibility to road damages and of course, they are not reusable.

Is it necessary to learn the basics on how to replace my flat tire with a spare tire?

This is a normal question for newbies, but yes. This is a must. We may be surrounded by a lot of service providers who can rescue us in times of flat tire emergencies, but let’s just think of the worst case scenario. What if there is no signal in the area where we got a flat tire, or we may ran out of phone battery? These are just some of the cases wherein learning the basics doesn’t really hurt. It’s still for our own good. There are a lot of internet tutorials on how to replace tires and some are explained the easy way. In one way or the other, we still benefit from all of these learnings.


Running on a spare tire? Don’t worry! You already got the basics that every newbie must know. Knowing how fast can you drive on a spare tire means safety, and this is for your own good. It’s essential for you to learn this because certain situations happen in our lives when we least expect them. The important thing is, we got the knowledge that we need to surpass whatever that may be. 

Just a reminder: Never forget to check your spare tire every time you go out, especially during long drives because as what I’ve mentioned in the first part of this article, “having a spare tire readily available in your car is as important as wearing your seatbelt all the time when driving.” At the end of the day, this will still benefit you the most.