When one of your tires goes out, it is replaced with a donut tire (also called a spare tire, although a spare tire is typically the same size as a regular tire). The donut tire is intended to provide you with a means of transportation so you can get to the mechanic and have your tire changed as soon as possible. This tire is smaller, so it can be stored inside the vehicle and save space. Most owners’ manuals have a recommended mileage for the donut tire, with 50 to 70 miles being the average. If you are driving on a donut tire, it is best to get it replaced as soon as possible.
Here are a few things to note when driving with a donut tire:
Braking, handling, and cornering affected: Donut tires affect the braking, handling, and cornering characteristics of the vehicle. The donut tire is not as large as the traditional tire, which can decrease braking and handling. Furthermore, the vehicle dips where the donut tire is mounted, so the vehicle will tend to pull where the spare tire is located. Keep this in mind while driving so you can be better prepared for it.
Drive slower: Donut tires are not made to go as fast as conventional tires. This is because they are more compact, so the guideline is the spare tire should not be driven faster than 50 mph. While you can drive on highways with donut tires, it is safer to stay off of them as you will only be able to go about 50 mph or less.
Check your donut tire pressure: The safe air pressure recommended for the donut tire is 60 pounds per square inch (psi). Since the donut tire sits for a while without being inspected, it is a good idea to check the air once you put the tire on your car.
Safety systems disabled: Another thing to keep in mind when driving on a donut tire is that the electronic stability control and traction control systems will not work properly. Once a regular sized tire is placed back on the vehicle, both systems will work and you can drive like you did before. While they are off, keep in mind to take extra time and go a little slower to ensure your safety, and the safety of others.
Driving with a donut tire should only been done when absolutely necessary and for a short amount of time. Check the owner’s manual for the recommendation on how many miles you can drive on the donut tire. In addition, do not go over 50 mph while driving on a spare tire.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Donut Tire? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.