Last Updated: 06.04.2022

In the past, vehicles came with spare tires that matched the standard tires already installed on the cars. These spare tires lasted for as long as the standard tires. But with time, car manufacturers noticed that most drivers rarely used the spare tire. Therefore, equipping every car with a full-sized spare tire didn’t make sense. So, they switched to a space-saver spare, also referred to as “donut.”

This means that most modern cars don’t come with a permanent spare tire, which begs the question, how long can you drive on a spare tire? Also, how fast can you drive your car when using a spare tire? For answers to these questions and more, please read on…

How Long Can You Drive on a Space-Saver Spare Tire?

man changing a flat tire

As mentioned earlier, many modern vehicles come with a space-saver or donut spare tire. 

Space-saver tires are not meant to be used for a very long time. Therefore, they are different from the standard tires. Donut tires are compact, narrow tires designed to save weight and space, making it possible for manufacturers to produce smaller cars.

However, space-saver tires come with some restrictions. For instance, they cannot be used for more than 70 miles. You are also only allowed to drive at a maximum speed of 50 mph before replacing it. You need to do this is because donut tires don’t have treads. This makes them vulnerable to projectiles and road hazards. 

In some cases, the donut tire is smaller than the other tires, so it spins faster to keep up with the other tires.

How Long Can You Drive on a Full-Size Spare?

spare tire with tools

Manufacturers included a spare-tire well that can support a full-sized spare tire for decades. This is still the case with a few new models and older vehicles. While most cars come with donut spare tires, new SUVs and trucks still come with a full size-spare.

A full-size spare tire can be used longer than a donut, but it’s always a good idea to replace it as soon as possible. A full-sized spare tire is heavier and will require a bigger storage space which can be found in older vehicles. 

Modern models have a smaller spare tire well designed for donut tires, so switching to a full-sized spare tire can be tricky. Despite being more durable than donuts, a full-size spare can affect the stability of your car. 

Full-size spare tires vary, depending on the manufacturer. That’s why they may be a bit different from the other tires on your vehicle. They may even have extra treads, which can affect handling and cause poor traction, especially when driving on wet roads.

How Long Can You Drive on a Run-Flat Tire?

sporty bmw car

Run-flat tires have grown in popularity in the last few years because they’re cheaper to produce. If you own a new BMW model, then there’s a big chance that it came with some run-flat tires. Run-flat tires are more rigid; however, they can’t outlive full-spare tires.

So, instead of adding a spare tire, these tires are designed to withstand a wide range of road hazards such as punctures. And, instead of blowing out or going flat, like the other tires, you can continue driving for about 50 miles after getting a puncture. Run-flat tires will cost you even more to replace.

Though you can drive with punctured run-flat tires, it is best to inspect it after noticing a change in pressure. This can give you a rough estimate of how long you have to drive with the run-flat tire before replacing it.

Related: Michelin Defender vs Premier, which is the better option?


How fast can I drive on a space-saver spare tire?

Space-saver spare tires are less durable and smaller than standard tires; therefore, they come with a few restrictions. One of the main restrictions is how fast can you drive. Since you will have less traction than you usually would with a full-size spare, then you can’t exceed 50 mph. At high speeds, the donut can affect the handling of the car and even its stability.

Does the donut tire have more traction than a full-sized spare tire?

No, space-saver spare tires have different treads compared to full-sized tires and are made using other materials. Therefore, they have lesser traction than the standard tires and should only be used for about 70 miles and at a speed of about 50 mph.

Will driving faster and longer on a space-saver cause more damage to the car?

Donut tires are emergency solutions and should only be used to take you from the road to the garage. This is why they come with speed and distance restrictions. If you use them for a very long time, you may experience decreased grip while driving. Plus, it will wear out faster than standard tires, which can be very dangerous on the road. Driving for long distances with the donut can cause more damage to your car; it can even affect its transmission.

Why does a donut tire have a speed limit?

Since they are smaller than full-sized tires, they tend to spin faster than the other wheels. This means that they will wear out quicker and have a poor grip on the road. So driving faster than 50mph can be dangerous for everyone on the road.

How long can my vehicle use a donut spare tire?

Most tire manufacturers put a 50-mile rating on their spare tires, which means that you can only drive the car safely at 50mph. Other producers put a 70-mile rating on their products. So as long as you don’t exceed the 70 miles distance and operate at a speed of about 70mph, then you can use it for a few hours. But make sure you don’t exceed a distance of 70 miles or 50 miles.

Can I leave my car with a flat tire overnight?

Provided the vehicle isn’t driven, then the car will be safe. After all, leaving it with a flat tire won’t damage the rims. So provided the vehicle is in a safe place, you can wait and have it replaced the next day.

Also, find out what causes a tire to blow out


Every vehicle owner has experienced a punctured tire at some point, so it’s crucial that you know how long you can drive with spare tires. Donut spare tires are not designed to outlive the standard tires; therefore, you should replace them after 70miles. The run-flat tires can continue running for about 50miles after getting a puncture. Older models come with a full-size spare that lasts longer than the other spare tires.