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How Long Can You Drive on a Factory Spare Tire (Really)?

I know many people suggest that you do not drive on a factory spare for more than 50 miles, but are the really designed to implode once you exceed 50 miles?

The reason I ask is that I have a 2006 Honda Civic EX that currently has three (3) normal tires and one (1) spare on it (after a flat I swapped to the spare and have only driven 5 miles on the spare). All four (4) wheel rims need to be replaced with 4 new tires. BUT I want to drive 150 miles to:

1. Make it a wedding this weekend in my hometown (I am a groomsmen)

2. Get a great deal at my hometown tire shop that is having a tire sale this weekend where you get free alignment & tire service and $100 off any purchase of four (4) Michelin tires. Almost $200 value!

So you decide what I am to do (and include any scenarios that I have not listed).

1. Get 4 new tires in my current location, but miss out on a good hometown tire deal worth ~$200 (I am currently a poor college student by the way) and still make it to the wedding.


2. Buy one tire to get me to the wedding (no spare used), but still get four (4) new tires with the tire deal and make it to the wedding. A little more money.


3. Drive on the spare for 150 miles below 50 mph, get a four (4) new tires for a great deal, and make it to the wedding

Personally, I am leaning toward option 3 of driving on the spare, but I will let you the people decide what I am to do. I just have a hard time believing the spare will not last me 150 miles if I drive under 50 mph, but that belief could easily change if the spare tire does not last me during my trip.

FYI- I am tight on money and according to the 2006 Honda Civic owners manual you are "not to exceed 50 mph when driving on a spare tire" and there is no mention in the owners manual of the maximum distance that can be traveled on a spare.

Your input would be great!




  • edited June 2010
    You do realize that flat tires are usually fixable, right? Do you have any reason to suspect the flat isn't fixable? The best option would be to pay the 10-15 bucks to have the flat fixed before you leave (yes, even though you're only going to put another 150 miles on it before you junk it). Another option would be to put a can of fix-a-flat in the tire, although the tire place will hate you because it makes an awful mess (and make sure it's a newish can-- some of the old stuff could explode when the tire was dismounted).

    It's not like the doughnut spare is going to explode from driving it 150 miles below 50 mph, but driving 50 mph on the highway is not very safe, especially since you're not really sure what the car is going to do in any kind of evasive maneuver. Exactly how dangerous it is probably depends on traffic and weather conditions, but in general I'd avoid it.
  • edited June 2010
    Yeah, I forgot an essential piece in my post: The tire is beyond patching and the steel belts are exposed. In my green age I have patched plenty of tires and this tire is beyond that. I really wish that were an option though. Attached is a picture of the tire if you would like to take a gander.
    480 x 640 - 136K
  • edited June 2010
    How many lives do you have left after driving on that tire? If you haven't used them all up yet, driving on your spare will be safer than driving on that thing. Every time I wonder about the hassle of yearly state inspections I just think of drivers like you and I'm glad my state requires them.
  • edited June 2010
    Keep in mind that if the 'donut' spare is on the driven wheels, that the "50 mile" rating and the low speed is to keep the axle's gearset from excessive wear and overheating due to the mismatched tire sizes, and not because the tire is going to wear out.

    The spare is probably far better than the tire you show in the picture... I hope the rest of them aren't that bad. I haven't been dumb enough to drive on tires like that since I was a 17 year-old @#$! head though... Scrape up and get a decent cheap set of tires all-round and your driving will be much more enjoyable. (I'd avoid General tires)
  • edited June 2010
    I'd Only Run That Mini Tire On The Rear (FWD) For The Reason Given By Oblivion (Drivetrain Wear). Have You Read The "Fine Print" On The Spare Tire Itself ?

    Here's an idea. After the wedding you should ground your self until more funds are available. If the tire in the picture is any indication of your idea of car maintenance then the whole car is probably just about junk.

    Even if you don't care, others that you share the road with do care. Get all the maintenance up to date and have the car safety inspected. Meanwhile, do everyone a favor and keep this car parked. It's not a game.

    Oh, and don't cheap out on your liability insurance. Purchase the maximum coverage.

  • edited June 2010
    You've presented options that you're wrestling with.
    However, driving on tires like that has a great way of making the decision for you.
  • edited June 2010
    simple answer to a simple much is your life and others worth????? get four new tires!
  • edited June 2010
    First whatever you do make sure the tire pressure is proper in your spare on the car. The proper pressure is on the rim or tire itself.

    You don't need Michelin tires on a Civic if you cannot afford tires. Just buy the least expensive set of four and motor on.

    You realize if you blow the spare besides the danger you are stuck not showing for your friends wedding?
  • edited June 2010
    If your other tires look anything like that tire, you should buy new tires immediately in your current location.
  • edited June 2010
    If/when you cause an accident I am sure that a lawyer would love to read this thread. Can you say "involuntary manslaughter"? How about "Darwin Award"?
This discussion has been closed.