Tire Tech

Spare Tires - Driving on Temporary / Compact Spares

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Flat tires can happen any time and usually occur when it's least convenient. And while having a flat tire can be upsetting in itself, being stranded waiting for help can be even more distressing. Having a properly inflated spare tire in the trunk allows drivers and/or roadside assistance providers the opportunity to exchange the spare tire with the flat tire.

Temporary/Compact Spare tires have been developed to help drivers regain mobility in the event a puncture, cut, road hazard or blowout causes a flat tire. Compared to full-sized spare tires, they are designed to save weight and trunk space. Since they are not designed for long-term use, they typically feature a smaller physical size, narrower tread and reduced tread depth compared to the tires normally used on the vehicle.

The smaller physical size requires Temporary/Compact Spare tires to be maintained with 60 psi cold tire inflation pressures and restricted to driving speeds of no more than 50 mph (80 km/h).

Temporary/Compact Spare tires should be removed from service as soon as possible by repairing or replacing the original tire that went flat. This will minimize compromises in handling and the risk of premature driveline wear.

Drivers should maneuver more cautiously when their vehicle is equipped with a Temporary/Compact Spare tire and three standard tires. Any differences in tire traction can reduce vehicle handling and increase braking distances, especially in emergency situations.

If a Temporary/Compact Spare tire is used in a driven-wheel position, any differences in tire revolutions per mile require the vehicle's driveline to compensate continuously, increasing heat, wear and the possibility of failure. This is especially true for four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles, as well as any vehicle equipped with a limited-slip differential.

For example, the tires fitted as Original Equipment on 2013 Honda Accord sedans roll about 800 times every mile, while the Accord's shorter diameter Temporary/Compact Spare tire rolls about 850 times per mile (a difference of 50 tire revolutions per mile or about a 6% increase). Driving at higher than recommended speeds or for prolonged periods of time can result in excessive heat leading to driveline noise, wear or failure.

For this reason, many vehicle manufacturers recommend using Temporary/Compact Spare tires only in non-driven-wheel positions.

Check your vehicle owner's manual for recommendations and restrictions.

The Temporary/Compact Spare tire and wheel that comes with a vehicle is designed to fit that vehicle only. Never attempt to use a temporary spare and wheel on another vehicle unless it is the exact make and model.

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