Spare tires generally don’t get much attention until a driver experiences a tire failure. For this reason, many people don’t know as much about their spare tire as they might believe.
However, whether someone doesn’t know how to use the spare or don’t know when it’s time for a replacement, a number of mistakes can put your safety on the road in jeopardy. Here are some spare tires facts every vehicle owner should know.
- Follow Use Guidelines
A spare tire is a temporary solution. Understand this before you install a spare tire on your car. While the exact specifications of your spare will determine how long you can drive on it, these tires are generally designed for about 70 miles of use. The reason these tires have restrictions is that they aren’t designed with the same level of tread as a traditional tire, which means the tire could fail rather quickly. However, just because you can get 70 miles doesn’t mean you want to drive this long. Driving with a spare increases wear on your gears. The mileage allotment is for the life of the tire, not per incident. If you have had the tire for several years and have experienced several flat tires, you may have already exceeded the tire’s mileage limit.
- Inspect Tire Condition
When you experience a flat tire, don’t automatically assume that the spare is safe to use. Inspect the tire first. Start by assessing the tread on the tire. Are there chunks of flat areas or is the tread depth lower than the wear bar? Either scenario means the spare is unsafe for use. Next, check the pressure of the tire and ensure it is at the same level as listed in the manual. If you have had the tire for some time, the pressure may not be as high. Tires often lose some pressure over time. If the spare is unsafe for use, have the vehicle towed to a tire service center. A tire without enough tread or pressure could fail unexpectedly as you’re traveling down the road. As time-consuming as a tow sounds, the time and money spent is well worth your safety. Purchase a new spare so that you’re prepared in the future.
- Drive with Caution
Apart from not exceeding the suggested mileage on the spare, it is equally important to drive with a certain level of caution. First, don’t drive too fast. Similar to the miles you can travel with a spare, the speed at which you can operate your car will also fluctuate based on the design of the tire. However, the average spare should not be driven at high speeds. If necessary, avoid the highway on your route to a service center so you’re not going too fast for the spare tire to handle safely. Next, ensure you’re leaving ample space between you and the car in front of you. The difference in traction on the spare may extend the amount of time it takes for your vehicle to come to a complete stop. If you’re driving too closely, you could rear-end the car in front of you. If it’s raining outside, be especially cautious and give yourself extra room and time to slow down. When your tire fails, head straight to a tire service center to have the tire replaced or repaired. At Evans Tire & Service Centers, whether it’s helping you replace your regular tire or your spare, we are ready to assist you with all your tire service needs. Stop by one of our locations whenever you need help with your tires or other car maintenance and repair issues.