Decades ago, most spares used were full-sized standard tires; but today, there are more options to choose from depending on your vehicle type, driving habits, and personal preferences. Continue reading to learn about the most common types of spare tires in the automotive market, and how to determine which one is right for your vehicle.
Full Size Spare Tires
Several years ago, most new cars were equipped with full size spares. Full size spare tires are the same size as standard tires, so they can be used for an extended period of time. This is helpful for drivers that cannot take their vehicle to a shop right away or for those who drive a truck or SUV. They come matching and non-matching forms. A matching full size spare is one that is identical to the other tires on a vehicle. And a non-matching spare is not identical. Unless driving a large truck or SUV, non-matching spares are more common and preferred nowadays since they are lighter in weight and have shallower tread. This makes the spare easier to store and install, thus improving on fuel economy.
Compact Spare Tires
Also known as “donuts”, compact spare tires are the most frequently used spare for small to mid-sized vehicles. This is because they deliver the best balance in terms of function and size. They are also more-cost effective compared to full size spares. Although they are highly-effective and convenient, compact spares are not meant to be driven on for long distances or extended periods of time. They provide a temporary means to get your vehicle back on the road so you can drive directly to a tire shop.
Run Flat Tires
Some vehicles are manufactured with a sort-of “built-in” spare tire system. These are called run flat tires and are only found on certain make and model vehicles. Run flats contain reinforced tire walls that allow a vehicle to continue driving without using any tire pressure. They are monitored by a vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which alerts drivers when the run flats have been punctured and are “in mode.” So vehicles that are equipped with run flats do not come with a spare tire at all.