Everything You Need To Know About Spare Tires

Everything You Need To Know About Spare Tires

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Automotive, Updated On
January 17th, 2024

Having a spare tire is critical if you own any sort of vehicle. In the unfortunate event, you have a flat tire, it is best to change the damaged tire with the spare one and continue. However, it is important to remember that the spare tire is not meant to last forever, it is not a replacement for the normal tire, but is a substitute for a limited time.

Let’s understand the basics together.

Where is the spare tire located?

Every vehicle owner has, at some point, faced the inevitable inconvenience of a flat tire. Whether it’s due to a puncture, blowout, or slow leak, the spare tire becomes a crucial savior in such situations. However, the quest to locate this spare can be an adventure in itself, as the placement varies across different makes and models of vehicles.

  1. Inside the Trunk: The Classic Retreat For many sedans and smaller vehicles, the spare tire’s natural habitat is the trunk or cargo area. It may be concealed beneath a removable floor panel or secured to the side, ready to spring into action when needed.
  2. Underneath the Vehicle: The Subterranean Solution Trucks, SUVs, and some larger vehicles often house their spare tire beneath the chassis. Retrieving it requires the use of a jack, making this placement a literal underground operation.
  3. On the Rear Door: An Exterior Statement Adventure-ready SUVs and crossovers often showcase their spare tire proudly mounted on the rear door. This not only serves a practical purpose but also adds a rugged aesthetic to the vehicle’s design.
  4. In the Bed of a Pickup Truck: Pick and Place Pickup trucks take a utilitarian approach by stowing the spare tire in the bed. It might be secured against the cab or positioned near the tailgate, providing easy access for quick tire changes.
  5. Behind the License Plate: A Stealthy Solution Compact vehicles and electric cars, known for their efficient use of space, sometimes hide the spare tire behind the license plate. The plate might be hinged or removable, revealing the spare in a cleverly concealed compartment.
  6. Interior Compartment: Luxury in Every Corner Luxury and specialty vehicles often elevate the spare tire’s storage to an interior compartment. Nestled beneath the floor or in a designated storage area, these spares remain out of sight until called upon.
  7. Inflatable Spare Tires: Compact and Convenient Modern vehicles occasionally come equipped with inflatable spare tires, also known as compact spares. These space-saving alternatives are typically stored in a well within the trunk and offer a lighter solution for emergencies.
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Types of Spare Tyres

Maybe to a car enthusiast, it is obvious, but for the layman, let’s just clear this up – not all spare tires are like your normal tires. They come in different varieties and categories and it’s better to know what kind you are dealing with.

  1. Normal Tyre

Some tires are the same as the ones you are using. If that is the case, lucky you! You can just replace the damaged tire and continue as normal. However, experts do advise inspecting and making sure all tires have similar treads, to maintain uniform functionality and control of the tires.

  1. Donut Tyre

These are the tires manufacturers started to make when they realized that most customers never used the ‘extra tire’ as they generally just replaced all of them. Donut tires are skinnier and more compact. This makes them a cheaper option for the manufacturer and also helps to reduce the weight of the car and the space it occupies when stored in the car. These tires are not a permanent solution and need to be replaced as soon as possible, as they are not designed to last long.

  1. Run Flat Tyre

These tires are the latest invention in the tire world. They are sturdy and have a unique and interesting mechanism – they can still function when punctured. That’s right, you read correctly. These tires are self-supporting and have a strong sidewall that provides extra support in case of a flat tire. Due to these qualities, the Run Flat Tyre is pretty costly. However, they too, cannot be used indefinitely and have to be replaced as soon as possible.

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Now that you know the different tires of spare that exist, you can examine the one stored in your car or the one your car is using and be prepared.

When to replace the spare?

In the unfortunate event, that you do experience a flat tire and are using a spare, you might be tempted to continue using it, or at least be wondering how long you can use it before you have to replace it. Well, here is the rundown.

Most spare tires – whether the Donut Tyre or a Run Flat tyre – can be used for up to 100 Km or so and the maximum speed they can withstand is around 80 km/hr. That should be a good enough speed and distance for you to get to a safe place or get to a mechanic to have it replaced.

Why replace the spare?

The reason Donut Tyres cannot last long and are considered a temporary fix is that they are not thick enough and they have very little treads. After about 100 km, these treads tend to wear down, which may cause your vehicle to skid and spin out of control. While Run Flat Tyres are punctured and though they have a powerful sidewall to support, the air pressure will eventually decrease due to the weight of the vehicle and the constant spinning, which again, may cause your vehicle to skid and spin. Regardless of what type of spare tire you have, it is important to replace them at the first opportunity you get. When replacing it with the actual tire, make sure you get the tire that is similar to the ones you are already using, e.g. if it is a Dunlop Light Truck Tyre or a Dunlop Passenger Tyre. This will be indicated on the sidewall of your tire. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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