Driving On A Spare Tyre

Traditionally cars were manufactured and delivered to their owners with four tyres and a fifth spare tyre in the boot. Nowadays, if there is a spare tyre (many vehicles do not come with one by default) it is designed for short term temporary use only. This change in the manufacturing process occurred as a result of 3 principal factors: cost, space and weight. The average full-sized tyre is expensive and takes up a lot of space underneath the luggage compartment eating into valuable storage, the additional weight also makes the vehicle less economical in terms of fuel consumption.  In response to this, many car manufacturers opt to cut costs and save space by using space saving temporary tyres or flat run tyres, both are a lot smaller and lighter than regular tyres. Another popular alternative is a foam-based breakdown repair kit, these take up the least amount of space and are the most economical

Different Types of Spare Tyres

There are several different types of spare tyre available, these include:
•    Full size matching tyre
•    Full size temporary spare
•    Full size non-matching spare
•    Compact temporary spare
•    Folding temporary spare

Things To Remember When Driving On A Spare Tyre

Temporary types of tyres and tyre repair kits are not designed for prolonged use or to be driven on at high speeds – their basic function is to get you to the garage to have the tyre replaced. 
When driving on a temporary tyre it is important to take it slowly and not drive at a high speed. These types of tyres are smaller and unbalance the vehicle, they also offer less grip on the roads which is especially dangerous when driving at higher speeds, making it important to maintain speeds of no higher than 50mph.

Do I Need A Spare Tyre?

Whilst nobody wants to be stranded at the side of the road with a flat tyre, it is not a legal requirement carry a spare, and in fact, most car owners do not ever need to use their spare tyre. With regular tyre servicing and driving on good roads, a full tyre blowout is unlikely. However, it is a good idea to always have a backup plan in the event of an unwelcome surprise - this will save time, hassle and lessen the emotional stress in the event of a tyre blowout, or other tyre related issue.

What Happens During A Tyre Blowout?

A tyre blowout occurs when there is a sudden loss in tyre pressure, this causes the tyre to burst and essentially destroys it immediately, making the car unstable and difficult to drive. 
One of the most common causes of a blowout is under inflation – an under inflated tyre will bulge out at the sides due to the weight of the car, when driven at higher speeds, greater pressure is exerted onto the underinflated tyre, increasing the likelihood of it bursting. Other causative factors include, hitting potholes and kerbs at speed and overloading the vehicle. 

What Should I Do If My Tyre Blows?

During a blowout it is important to stay calm and maintain a strong grip on the steering wheel, the vehicle will inevitably pull in the direction of the blown tyre. Do not brake sharply as this may cause the car to spin, hold the steering wheel firmly and let the car slow down itself, and then pull over as soon as possible.

How To Avoid Problems

Regular Servicing

Over time the tyres become worn and lose their grip with the road surface making them more prone to slippage and accidents. The majority of tyre punctures are slow, as opposed to sudden blowouts, the tyre gradually loses pressure over time in a slow puncture. In some cases, this type of puncture can be repaired, or it may require an immediate replacement – this will be assessed by the garage. Regular servicing includes general tyre maintenance and replacement, it is essential for the health and safety of your vehicle and its passengers. During a car service or an MOT, all tyres will be thoroughly inspected, and the driver will be alerted to any problems, necessary repairs and replacements.

Check Your Tyres

We recommend the following checks at home:
•    Tyre pressure should be checked regularly to ensure they are inflated correctly
•    Perform a visual weekly inspection of your tyres for any signs of damage or obvious deflation
•    Check tyre pressure more often during warm weather
•    Check the car manual for the correct tyre pressure for different loads
•    Check the tyre tread depth is within the legal limits

Check Your Paperwork

Ensure that you know exactly what type of spare tyre or repair kit is in your vehicle. In this case of any doubt, it may be worth consulting your local garage for more information regarding the most appropriate option for your make and model of vehicle. 

Our Services

Longmynd Service Station is a long standing, family run car servicing centre offering a comprehensive range of services including tyre sales and fitting and MOTs. Get in touch today to book a service or for more information.