How Fast Can You Drive on a Spare Tire? Things to Know!


Written by

Henry Speciale



Steven Schiller

how fast can you drive on a spare tire

A spare tire may come in handy in emergency cases like a flat tire. However, it should be used as a temporary option only because you cannot expect the same vehicle performance as regular tires provide.

So, how fast can you drive on a spare tire? The maximum speed of a spare tire is 50 mph, and you must not drive farther than 70 miles.

Else, it would cause vehicle issues like tire wear, tire blowout, flat tire, or damage to car parts.


How Fast Can You Go on a Spare Tire?

A spare tire is an additional tire carried on the trunk of a car. It can be a full-size spare tire or a donut tire.

1. With a full-size spare tire


A full size spare tire can be a matching spare tire of your traditional tires. Meaning they have the same size, weight, and perhaps, even brand.

Therefore, they don’t have specific limits, especially on the highway. You might be able to drive more than 70 miles without lowering the speed.

The max speed on spare tire will be 90 miles if you have to stretch a little to reach the destination as soon as possible.

2. With a donut tire


A donut tire, also known as a donut spare, is smaller than regular tires because it was designed to be light, space-saving, and portable. Its primary purpose is to replace a flat tire and bring your vehicle to the nearest repair shop.

Donut spares are small, light, and have minor tread construction than regular tires. Therefore, to be safe, the fastest you can go on a donut spare is 50 mph, and the farthest you can drive is not more than 70 miles.

This limitation makes it unsafe to drive on a donut on the highway.

Reasons Why You Cannot Go Fast on Spare Tire

1. Tire Wear

Donut spares are smaller, lighter, and have little tread, so driving faster than 50mph will cause the wheel to work harder and lead to tire wear quickly.

2. Tire blowout

Since donut tires do not have the significant features of regular tires, exceeding spare tire speed limit will cause the tire to blow out and lose control of the vehicle.

Worst, it may lead to an accident like a car crash, vehicle collision, or hitting pedestrians.

3. Flat Tire

Donut tires are constructed with less resistance to bumps, road hazards, or projectiles. So driving them faster and longer than their service design may put them at risk for another flat tire emergency.

4. Damage to car parts

In general, when donut tires are overused, they cause damage to car parts such as:

  • Transmission
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Car heating
  • Steering system

What Should You Prepare: a Full-size Spare Tire or a Donut Tire


Safety and Convenience

Suppose your full-size spare tire matches the current specifications of your regular tires. In that case, you can drive safely without worrying about another emergency.

On the other hand, when you drive on a donut, it is advisable to quickly visit the nearest auto repair shop.


Donut spare tires cost around $50-300, while full-size spare tire may start at $100 or have the same price as your regular tires.

How to Safely Use a Spare Tire?

Don’t use the spare tire if you experience a flat tire on one of the driving wheels. Instead, get the replacement from the non-driving wheel.

Replace the tire in the non-driving wheel with the full-size spare tire. As a result, you won’t feel a big difference in ride quality.

If you put a donut tire on a driving wheel, there is a huge shift in handling because it is undersized. It may throw you off the road when you turn or slide when you brake because there is much weight to carry.

If you don’t have a choice but to use the donut tire in front, drive a short distance. Don’t take other risks. Calling a towing service is a safer option if there’s a long way to go.

What Will Happen if You Drive Too Fast on a Donut Spare Tire?

Driving too fast on a donut spare tire can cause flat tires, tire wear, or tire blowout, leading to loss of vehicle control and road accidents. It may also damage vehicle parts such as the brakes, steering system, suspension, and transmission.

What is the Optimal Speed for Driving on a Donut Tire?

The optimal speed for driving on a donut tire is 50 mph. Reddit users attest that driving more than 70mph is dangerous.

Can I drive a spare tire on the highway?

Indeed, driving on a spare tire on the highway is dangerous because the average speed required is 50mph.

If there is no other way, you might drive on a full-size spare tire and not a donut tire.


Not knowing how fast can you drive on a spare tire is dangerous.

Driving spare tires at more than the recommended speed of 50 mph and mileage of 70 miles will cause more damage to the vehicle, not limited to flat tires or tire blowout. Worst of all, accidents may happen.

Although full-size spare tires are ideal, they are not available for small-sized vehicles. Even if donut spare tires are not for long-term use, they are reliable for short distances.

If you want to know more about fixing flat tires, don’t hesitate to ask some questions.

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Henry-Speciale - Writer

Henry Speciale

I’m Henry, the content writer for PPMC Transport. We build our site entirely on experience and extensive market and customer research. My goal is to create a trusted platform where people can go to determine what is best for their vehicles in terms of safety and convenience. Keep an eye out for our useful guide!...more