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How to Drive on a Spare Car Tyre

At one point or another, most drivers will experience a flat tyre and will have to fit a spare. But, what is the safest way to drive on a spare tyre and are there any restrictions?

When to use a spare tyre

The most common reason for using a spare tyre is if one of your current tyres suffers a puncture or blowout. There may be other reasons, such as sidewall damage or damage to your rims, or any other time when it may not be completely safe to drive on an existing tyre.

Are spare tyres safe?

Yes, spare tyres are completely safe if you stick to the guidelines. However, some spare tyres, such as space savers, do come with limitations, which you should adhere to.

You must make sure your spare isn’t ‘front only’ or ‘back only’, as using spares incorrectly can interfere with your brakes and damage your transmission.

For specific information on the limitations of your spare tyre, check your vehicle’s handbook.

How to safely drive using a spare tyre

When driving with a spare tyre, it’s recommended that you follow these steps:

Make sure it’s road legal

Spare tyres still need to adhere to the standards of regular tyres, so must exceed the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and be correctly inflated. If this is not the case you shouldn’t drive on the spare.

Check the maximum speed and distance

Space savers have a maximum speed of 50mph, so you should avoid driving on dual carriageways and motorways when one is fitted to your vehicle. They also shouldn’t be used for more than 50 - 300 miles, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Drive sensibly

Try to avoid harsh braking and acceleration, as the spare may not be designed to cope with the same temperatures and forces as standard tyres.

Be aware of changes to your vehicle’s handling

You may also notice a difference in the way your vehicle handles, due to the difference in size of the spare. Be aware you may need to adjust your driving to accommodate this.

Follow the guidelines

While spare tyres are safe, you should follow the guidelines and only use them for short journeys until you’re able to have a new tyre fitted. You shouldn’t drive your vehicle with more than one spare tyre fitted at a time.

Can you use a spare tyre twice?

Yes, you can use the same spare twice so long as it hasn’t worn below the legal minimum tread depth and it hasn’t exceeded its maximum permitted distance. You shouldn’t attempt to repair a damaged or punctured spare, which will need to be replaced.

When should you not use a spare tyre?

It’s important to note that while it’s legal to drive on your spare, if it’s fitted to your vehicle at the time you take it for its MOT, it will result in an automatic fail. Ensure you have your tyre replaced before taking it for its MOT.

Are there alternatives to using a spare?

Some drivers prefer to keep a puncture repair kit in their vehicle, however this isn’t guaranteed to work and will still come with limitations and the need to replace the repaired tyre.

If your vehicle uses run flat tyres, there is no need to carry a spare. These tyres have a reinforced sidewall that allows them to support the weight of the vehicle for a limited time when flat.

Need to replace your tyres?

Have you used your spare recently and now need a replacement tyre? Just Tyres have a simple solution; pop your vehicle reg into our tool and in just a few minutes you can buy replacement tyres online.

Customer services: 01908 222208 [email protected] Calls are recorded for training purposes


Ratings from A-G
A = Best Fuel Economy

WET GRIP wet grip

Ratings from A-G
A = Best wet weather

NOISE LEVEL noise level

The lower the decibel,
the quieter the tyre