Spare Tires and Donuts
Manufacturers know that spare tires are used infrequently, so many are changing their designs to a smaller space-efficient “donut”. Spare tires and donuts are very different from standard tires, and they require different driving methods and techniques when being used. Whether you have a spare or a donut, there are important guidelines to follow to protect yourself, other drivers and passengers, and your vehicle.
Never leave your spare tire on longer than the owners’ manual or manufacturer’s instructions state. This can lead to a whole heap of complications. Spares and donuts are meant to be temporary tires, because in fact, they are temporary tires! They are not as durable as ordinary tires, and weaken at a much faster rate. You see, a standard tire contains layers of steel and polyester fibers beneath the rubber. These layers are called plies and are where the real strength comes from. For space and weight-saving reasons, spares do not contain as many plies as ordinary tires; therefore, they deteriorate quicker. With half as many plies as regular tires, spares lack sufficient puncture-resistance and corning ability too.
Temporary tires, being smaller and narrower, make much less contact with the road. A smaller contact patch means reduced traction and ABS control. Stopping distance is increased and handling can become unpredictable. And don’t try to tow a trailer, or anything for that matter, because spares do not retain the same loading strengths and qualities as standard tires. Driving on a spare can also create a load of mechanical problems and problems with the differential.
With all this in mind, most manufacturers suggest using a spare tire for a short, emergency amount of time, while never exceeding 50 miles per hour. Avoid highway and interstate driving if you can; but if you must remain on the interstate, always drive in the far right lane with your hazard lights on. Perhaps you just need a tow, and don’t want to mess with a blown tire? In this case, call a local Indianapolis tow truck service for roadside assistance or towing.