How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tyre?

The second-worst thing that can happen to any driver, after a collision of course, surely must be a tyre puncture. It can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere with hours and hours to wait for recovery and hundreds of pounds to pay to get yourself back on the road. The best thing that can happen after suffering a puncture is remembering that you’ve got a brand new spare wheel sitting somewhere in your car that’s been waiting for its moment. But once you’ve switched that spare tyre onto the car, how far can it take you? Well, this is how long you can travel on a spare tyre before you need to change it again to something permanent.

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When Would You Need A Spare Tyre?

Spare tyres sit untouched for months or even years until the one moment that they need to be brought into the fray. This happens when you’re unfortunate enough to suffer a puncture or worse, a blown tyre, on one of your journeys. If one of your tyres has been damaged and you’re not using run-flats, you should always change it as soon as possible. So, pull out that spare tyre and stick it on your car or, if you don’t know how to do so yourself, call your breakdown recovery company and have them do it for you.

Is It Illegal To Drive Without A Spare Tyre?

No, there is no law in the UK that states you need to carry a spare tyre with you whenever you’re out on the road, but it is always a good idea to do so. It’s better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it, after all. You don’t want to be stranded late at night with a flat tyre preventing you from getting home safe.

Laws Surrounding Spare Tyres

Your spare tyre is governed, so to speak, by the same rules as a regular one. The tread must be within the legal limit of 1.6mm depth and should also be free of any damage, like cuts or punctures of their own. Spare tyres should also be at an adequate pressure level, just like the regular tyres that are still on your car.

There is a law that states that wheels on the same axle must be of the same aspect ratio. This means that the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the tyre’s width must be the same across both wheels at the front and both wheels at the rear. However, the law does make an exception for those wheels that are fitted in an emergency – like spares – but they should be replaced with standard tyres as soon as possible.

Types Of Spare Tyres

There are a number of different types of spare tyres on the market that you can keep hidden away inside your vehicle until they’re needed:

  • Full-size Matching – These tyres are identical to the ones that are already on your car.
  • Full-size Non-matching – These tyres will be the considered full, standard size but do not match the ones already on your vehicle. This could simply mean that the tread is different.
  • Full-size Temporary – These tyres should only be used until you can replace them with a permanent one; they’re lightweight and with a shallow tread depth than regular tyres.
  • Space Saver Temporary – These tyres are smaller, thinner and have a shallower tread depth. Their main selling point is their compact size that allows them to be stored inside the vehicle more easily. They are only used as spare tyres in emergency situations.
  • Folding Temporary – These tyres can be compacted down even further to save more space.

How Long Can You Drive On A Spare Tyre?

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t travel any more than 50 miles on a spare tyre – at least, one that’s not full-size. They are not designed for extended use so wherever you destination, you should really try to get there via the nearest garage that sells and fits tyres!

Tips For Using A Spare Tyre

It may come as a surprise, but you actually need to adjust your driving style slightly when you’re rolling on a spare tyre. It can be sensible to watch your speed, with 50 mph being the generally agreed upon limit that you shouldn’t exceed. This is due to the fact that they are smaller than a regular wheel and therefore aren’t as stable at high speeds.

You should also take more care, particularly when cornering, as the smaller surface area of the tyre gives you less grip to keep you sticking to the road. Speaking of the road, we must stress again that you shouldn’t cover more than 50 miles of it on a spare tyre; get yourself to a tyre centre as soon as you can so that a full-size wheel can be fitted.
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