I have a 2003 Honda CRV with a full size tire and wheele. Is it okay to buy just 3 new tires and use my spare as the fourth?
I would suggest making sure your 3 new tires are the same make/model/size as the spare.Especially if you have AWD.
Although common to do this because the spare has never been driven and has new tread, >>> watch out for the AGE of the tire <<<. Rubber gets old and if that’s the original spare tire it’s five years old now. Check for surface cracking most obvious along the curviture of the sidewalls. If there’s any, buy FIVE new tires and remember to rotate the spare into road service once in a while.
As long as you can match the tire, yup. One thing you may want to consider is whether the tread design on the spare meets your driving needs. For example, if you live in the snow belt and the spare is a summer tire, would you really want summer tires on your car?
Remember, you have four pathches the size of your palms that have to accelerate, turn, stop and control two or three (or more) thousand pounds often at 70 mph. If they aren’t right, it could cost you your life. Spending a hundred extra bucks to be sure those patches are good and are balanced is cheap insurance.
That’s my opinion. I always keep good and matching tread on my cars. Others may vary.