We all know how the story goes. You get a flat, put on your spare and drive off. Sometimes, people even forget that the spare tire is there instead of the real tire. Unfortunately, using a spare tire for too long can cause your car damage and put you in a risky situation. So, how long should you drive your car with your spare before it’s absolutely necessary to switch it out for a new tire?
The answer is that you should change your spare for a real tire as quickly as possible. A spare is really only designed to get you safely to the nearest tire shop. It does not allow you to travel at high speeds and requires you to make extra careful turns. If used for too long or improperly, a spare tire can cause more damage than necessary.
What Damage Can Be Caused?
There are a number of ways to damage your vehicle if you leave your spare tire on for longer than intended. Since spare tires are used infrequently, car manufacturers have designed the tire to be smaller and lighter. This design allows you to carry less weight and have more storage room in your vehicle. More room and a lighter load is a benefit for many people, however there is potential for:
- Damage to the spare. Spare tires are built to be far less durable than a regular tire because they have fewer plies (layers of steel and polyester under the rubber) supporting it. That means it will be not be able to withstand the type of conditions and punctures that a normal tire would have no trouble with.
- Limited traction. Spare tires are smaller, and have less surface area than normal tires. That means there is less contact with the ground with a spare. In dangerous driving conditions, such as water and mud covering the road or when attempting to evade an obstruction, handling is unpredictable. You have a higher potential for losing control of your vehicle.
- Damage to your other tires. Spare tires are not the same size as your regular tires. They can cause the pressure between your vehicle and the ground to be unevenly distributed for a longer period of time. This can cause unusual tread patterns that might require you to replace a tire sooner and even reduce your gas mileage.
There’s no reason to wait to change your flat tire. Drive right in to Quanz Auto Body to have it repaired here. We can fix any issues, whether you’ve kept your spare on for too long or if your flat caused additional damage to your vehicle. Stop in today, no appointment is necessary.