Posted under Car Tires

Oh, the frustrations that come with a flat tire. Whether it’s low tire pressure or you just found a nail stuck in it, you know the repair is going to cost you time and money.
You May Be Wondering, “Can I Drive On A Flat Tire?”

Only drive as far as you must until it’s safe to pull off the road. You don’t want to drive on a flat too long or you could damage the tire and even the rim, leading to even more costly repairs. So, the answer to, “can I drive on a flat tire” is mostly no.
An exception to this is if the damaged tire is a “run flat tire”, which are tires that are built to drive on zero tire pressure for a short distance in the event of a flat. So, once you’re able to get the spare on, you’ve bought yourself a bit more time, but how much? 
Spare (Or Donut) Tire Is On, Now What?

After you’ve replaced your flat tire with the spare, it’s easy to wonder: how long can you drive on a spare tire? Remember the rule of 50. You shouldn’t drive more than 50 miles on a temporary tire, if possible, and you shouldn’t drive more than 50 mph either. Spares are not meant to replace a tire and are exactly as they sound – temporary.
Here’s the scoop on why: Their design has far less traction and durability than a standard tire, so keep those mph low or you’ll have a very harsh ride. 
Let’s Talk About Different Spares For Different Needs. 

Compact and mid-size cars:

  • These spares are often compact donut tires. 
  • Usually fit inside your car, beneath the floor of the trunk.
  • They not only differ from regular tires in shape and size, but also in required tire pressure (for a smaller vehicle it’s usually 35 PSI, but donuts are around 60 PSI).

SUVs, crossovers, and trucks:

  • Larger vehicles often come equipped with a full-sized spare, which are larger to support the full load and any additional cargo or items being towed. 
  • These tires are much better quality than a donut, but they should still be replaced ASAP since they aren’t as durable, are narrower, and may not be produced by the same manufacturer as your other tires. 
  • One last thing, full-sized spares should be regularly inspected, especially if they are secured under your vehicle where they are exposed to harsher elements. 

Driving Safely On A Spare

Now that we know “how long can you drive on a spare tire?”, let’s go over how to make those miles last. Driving safely is extremely important for both donuts and full-sized spares. 
Here are three best practices:

1. Check the tire pressure regularly when it isn’t in use.

2. Give yourself extra space and time to brake.

  • Using a spare can cause your vehicle’s Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) light to illuminate or your ABS to malfunction. Plus, a donut spare can lead to inaccuracies in some vehicles’ speedometers.
  • Braking early and with extra distance between you and other vehicles can ensure you’re not in for surprises, especially during inclement weather since spares are more susceptible to slipping or hydroplaning. They also don’t have advanced treads so they can’t provide the proper traction that regular tires would. 

3. Replace your spare when necessary.

  • Replacement will depend on the type of spare you have. Check your owner’s manual or inspect the spare for more information on how frequently you should replace it. (If you can’t find the manual, or you still have questions, feel free to ask a trained Jiffy Lube® technician).
  • Many temporary tires have a tire life of about eight years.

Always follow the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spare tire usage and pressure recommendations. 

Here’s What To Expect When You Bring Your Car To Jiffy Lube® To Have Your Tires Inspected Professionally

Visit any of the 2,000+ locations nationwide and a trained technician will inspect your tire tread (depth and condition), sidewalls (both inner and outer), and pressure. You can count on Jiffy Lube to help keep you safely on the road. 


Jiffy Lube technician using a machine to balance a vehicle's tire during a tire inspection and/or replacement service

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Now that you’ve answered “how long can you drive on a spare tire?”, you can become better acquainted with tire pressure here.
Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center or visit for specific services offered.