It’s never a pleasant experience to get a flat tire, especially if that flat tire comes with the need for auto collision repair; and they always seem to happen at the worst possible time: on a Sunday when all of the garages you know are closed, when you are running late, when you are away from your hometown, or when you don’t have the immediate cash to buy a new tire. Whatever your reason for needing to keep your spare doughnut tire on for a little longer; be aware that it is probably better if you don’t. Now, this isn’t an issue exclusive to auto collision repair; none the less, it is an issue that should still be addressed.

Doughnut spares are smaller tires that are designed to save space in a car and used in emergency situations only, not as a viable replacement. Most owner’s manuals and spare tires have a printed maximum speed limit and maximum distance for the spare to travel. The speed limit is usually around 50mph and the distance is usually between 50 and 70 miles. It’s unadvisable to drive any faster or any further on your doughnut than what is recommended by the manufacturer. Some owners manuals will state that the maximum distance is for a single trip, making it possible to use your doughnut spare multiple times, while others suggest replacing the spare after 70 miles. This means that your doughnut spare will probably get you 70 miles, if that is where the nearest garage is, but it is better to change it to a full-sized tire, appropriate for the make and model of your car, as soon as possible. The reason for this is that doughnut spares lack both the structural integrity and the width of a full-sized tire. The reduced width makes braking and handling less responsive, and the lack of structural integrity means that every mile a doughnut spare is on you are more susceptible to a second blowout.

In order to get the most out of your doughnut spare it is important that you keep it properly inflated. Check the recommended PSI on the tire wall and be sure that your spare is within that range. This will help it withstand higher speeds and longer distances. However, the best plan is to change the spare with a new tire as soon as possible.


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