Tire Types

About Spare Tires

Spare Tires Tireamerica | Tire America

If one of your main tires gets damaged, a lot depends upon your spare. So it pays to make sure your vehicle is equipped with the right option.

Most people think a spare can only be a Compact Temporary Tire that’s stored in the trunk of a car. Most people think a spare is only a Compact Temporary Tire that is stored in the trunk of the car. However, you can also purchase a fifth tire and wheel and use it as a Full-Size Spare. As Run-Flat technology continues to improve, more and more people prefer to buy Run-Flat tires and carry no spare.

There is no one right answer for everyone. Just consider your choices and decide what makes the most sense for you and your vehicle.

Compact Temporary Tire

This style is easily recognizable by its smaller, thinner size—relative to your regular set of tires. They also have a T, for Temporary, in front of the tire size spec. Example: T125/70D15.

Compact Temporary Spares: Tires are smaller to better fit in car trunks. They are narrower, feature shallower tread depths and are lighter in weight. Accordingly, you’re limited in how far and how fast you can safely go on one. A maximum speed of 50 miles per hour for a maximum distance of fifty miles is the standard recommendation. Exceeding those limits could lead to a blowout of your spare. Read more here – How long does a spare tire last?

Due to these tires differing in shape and construction from your standard tires, they may cause decreased performance in handling, such as braking and cornering.  Keep that in mind when using a compact spare. Also, to keep these tires solid enough to carry your vehicle’s weight, a Compact Temporary Tire needs to be maintained at a higher pressure—60 PSI—about twice that of your other tires.

Full-Size Spare

These tires are no different in spec than your vehicle’s standard set. Therefore they won’t have a T before their spec. If you have room to store a fifth full-size tire and wheel safely in your vehicle, this is a great option, since you don’t see a decrease in performance. Meaning you aren’t limited in the distance or speed you can drive on it.

However, to properly go with this option, you should incorporate it into your rotation schedule with the other four. This way they will wear evenly. Doing so will also increase the lifespan of all five tires. Consider this choice if you commonly travel well beyond 50 miles from a tire retailer.

Run-Flat Tire

Not only is this an attractive option because it means you should never have to pull over, use a jack, or call for a tow—you also get full use of your trunk space. Remember, the general recommendation is that following air loss, you should neither drive beyond 50 miles on a Run-Flat tire, nor exceed 50 miles per hour. If you live in a well-populated area, these tires are a good option, since you’re never too far from your local tire retailer.