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Spare Tires 101

When your tires get damaged during the drive, it’s always an unexpected inconvenience. In such cases, it's time to whip out the spare tire. However, the type of spare tire you have will determine your vehicle’s performance afterward.

The common solution to a damaged tire are the full size spare tire, the compact spare tire, an emergency tire repair kit, or a run flat tire.

Today, we will take a look at these individually to see the pros and cons concerning them.

Full Sized Spare Tire

Full Sized Spare Tire

This is basically a fifth tire for your vehicle. If you have the space in your trunk, this would probably be the best option to choose.

Full sized spare tires are bought together with the tire sets, so you would need to buy a fifth tire in the set. As their name suggests, these tires are the same size as the other four tires mounted on the vehicle. They provide equal durability and performing ability as the rest of the tires. Furthermore, to keep all five tires equally worn, the full sized spare tire needs to be included in with the rest when the tires are rotated on the vehicle.

The downside of full size spares is their size. In modern times, vehicles are becoming more compact, which minimizes their trunk space. Nowadays, most vehicles are unable to fit an extra tire in their trunk or the weight of full sized tires will put strain on their performing ability.

Compact or Donut Spare Tire

Compact or Donut Spare Tire

In the same manner as with full sized spare tires, you need to mount these spares on the vehicle once your original tire gets damaged, but there is a catch.

Compact or donut spare tires are only an emergency fix. They feature a lightweight construction and some in a smaller size than the other tires on the vehicle. Due to this, compact spare tires cannot perform in the same manner as regular tires. Generally, it depends on the brand of tire you purchase, but all donut tires only offer a limited temporary performance. They have a speed limit they cannot pass, as it can cause blowouts and other tire failure, and they can be only used for a specific mileage.

Furthermore, compact tires do not offer the same traction as regular tires do. Harsher weather conditions will make these tires lose their grip on the road surface easily, which can be dangerous.

Both Compact/Donut Spare Tires and Full Sized Spare Tires need to be checked regularly. Just because they are sitting in the trunk of your car, doesn’t mean that they are in tip top conditions. It's advisable to check tire pressure often.

Tire Repair Kit

Tire Repair Kit

Flat tire repair kits are the less costly solutions, but they are also temporary. These repair kits are equipped to quickly fix versatile problems. These kits ensure that you are able to restore the damaged tire into a usable form, but a professional will still need to fix or change the damaged tire later when you reach your mechanic.

These quick fix kits, basically, enable you to go around a spare tire. The damaged tire doesn’t have to be changed on the spot, as the temporary repairs offer a limited performance to the vehicle. However, repair kits should not be used for large punctures or cuts or any damage located on the tire’s sidewall.

Run Flat Tire

Run flat tires are the high tech solution. Such tires offer a limited temporary performance after air pressure leaves them due to a puncture or other damage.

Run flat technologies enable the damaged tire to be driven on for 50 miles up to the speed of 50 mph. This prevents the vehicle from being stranded on the side of the road and they don’t need to be changed immediately after the damage occurs. Instead, you can drive on them to a nearby garage, where the damaged tire can be fixed or changed.

Run flat tires are manufactured for vehicles without space to hold a full or compact spare tire. Such models are created with a reinforced construction which allows the tire to withstand the weight of the vehicle and its passengers after air pressure leaves them. Also due to their heavier construction, run flat tires should not be mounted on the same vehicle as regular tires.