Be Aware of Your Spare

Having a spare tire in the car at all times is essential for driving safety. But in order to be fully prepared, make sure to know the answers to these questions about the tire itself.


What Type of Tire Is It? A man changing a tire


Most cars come with a spare tire already in the trunk and ready to go. However, some may be surprised to learn that this spare isn't meant to replace a flat tire for an extended period. These tires are actually just temporary tires known as "donuts." To prevent changing the tire twice, drivers can switch the included donut out with an actual spare tire before a tire change is needed.


Has the Tire Expired?


Many people don't know that tires have expiration dates just like perishable foods, and driving on an expired tire can be as dangerous as forgoing engine repair. To see if a tire has expired, check the manufacture date on its sidewall. If six or more years have passed, the tire becomes more likely to fail, meaning it's time for a spare tire replacement.


Is the Tire Worn Down?


Even if a tire hasn't technically expired, it may still be unsafe to drive on depending on its condition. If cars are pre-owned, the spare tire may have been previously used as well. Check the tire for scarred sidewalls, worn down tread, or any visible cracks that may be a sign of damage. These problems should be addressed through tire repair, or the tire should be replaced.


Is the Tire Correctly Pressurized?


When using a full-sized replacement tire, the PSI should read between 30 and 40, depending on the type of tire. However, donuts often require a significantly higher PSI. Be sure to check the owner's manual to ensure that the spare is properly inflated. Also, since spare tires typically sit in the trunk and don't get used for months or even years at a time, their air naturally escapes over time. Check the spare tire a couple of times a year to make sure it's topped off with air.


Can You Drive Safely on a Donut Tire?


When driving on a donut, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. These tires should be changed relatively soon, and they should not be driven on for more than 50 miles. Drivers should also avoid highway travel, as donuts should only be used while driving less than 50 mph.

It's always a good idea to drive with a spare, but following these tips will make sure your spare saves the day in case of a flat tire. For more information about road safety or repairs, schedule a maintenance appointment with A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. today! We can perform an inspection to make sure you're driving on a safe set of tires.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

Categories: Car Maintenance
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