Spare tires

I have a 2008 Tacoma with a full sized spare tire that has never touched the pavement. There are no visible signs of deterioration & no checking. I am thinking about buying one tire with as close of a match to the spare and mounting them on the vehicle, rather than letting it go to waste. Any thoughts? Thanks.

I prefer to keep the tires on my vehicles the same relative age and design.

The tire may look good, but over time ozone deteriorates the rubber in the tire. And in six years the ozone may have comprimised the tire.


In the old days the spare used to be rotated along with the other tires or the tire that was shot was used for a spare. Might want to just leave it alone at this point.

“I am thinking about buying one tire with as close of a match to the spare”

First, it would need to be the exact same make and model for me to even think of doing this. Second, the spare is about 6 years old now, so even a matching new tire will not have aged (hardened) like the spare, so it’ll handle differently.

I’d just keep it as a spare for another 4 years or so.

Everyone has given good advice, thus far.
The OP needs to realize that, even without visible checking or other indications of deterioration, the rubber compound of that tire has hardened over the past 5 years or so, thus giving that tire a different coefficient of friction than a comparable tire with the same tread design. Having tires with different coefficients of friction can lead to some…let’s just say…“exciting” handling situations.

Does the OP crave excitement?
If so, then go to it with that old, hardened tire.

I would buy a tire that serves my needs for traction, longevity, handling, quiet, etc., for the cheapest price regardless of tread design. Just treat it like a temporary spare and change back when the flat is fixed. Otherwise, we might think you have way too much money to spend.

I don’t agree that the spare tire is not usable. We ran our new 1986 motorhome’s original set of tires to about 10 years with no failures. A few years ago we traded a 12 year old car bought new with three of the four original tires still on the car; had no problem with the three. The fourth was lost to a puncture too close to the sidewall so it was replaced. I recently replaced a 11 year old front tire on a motorcycle that was regularly taken up to freeway speeds. If your spare tire is stored under the bed and shielded from direct sunlight, it should have deteriorated very little and in my experiences you can safely run it to 10 years of age or a little more. Alternately, just keep it as a spare as was suggested and use it a minimal amount. 4 years of use will not save you much money and at the end of four years your tire set will not be of equal age. On the other hand, you might have a non-repairable tire failure with any tire so an unequal age set could happen anyhow. It’s your call on what you want to do.

If the spare is the same age as the other tires on the PU, then start using it now and when rotating the tires, keep the spare in use.

I’m going with the majority here. Looks can be deceiving when dealing with most things…especially tires. Keep it as a spare only.


Unless that spare tire/rim assembly has a TPMS sensor installed, keep it where it is

Even if it does have a sensor, that tire rubber is probably too hard by now

It will be very difficult if not impossible to find an exact match for that tire…The tire companies change their product lines every year or two…

“It will be very difficult if not impossible to find an exact match for that tire…The tire companies change their product lines every year or two.”

And, that is not really a new phenomenon.
Back in the mid-late '60s, a friend of mine had a “beater” '59 Pontiac. Every time that one of his tires became unrepairable, he would buy another tire of the same brand (Delta), but after a few years, he had 4 very different-looking Delta tires on his car, even though they were the same size.

He was a very conservative driver, so the differences in friction coefficient probably weren’t a significant factor for him, but–all the same–those tires undoubtedly had somewhat different handling characteristics from one sample to another.

First, DO NOT use that spare tire.

It is at least 5 years old. Over time, rubber degrades. Tire shelf life’s are generally considered 6 years for tires stored under IDEAL conditions, and this is far from ideal.

Second, an un-used tire will NOT show any deterioration due to age. That’s because it takes some flexing for the rubber to crack.