Spare Tire Maintenance
The best way to avoid having spare tire troubles is to properly maintain your spare tire. The only thing worse than having a flat tire is finding that your spare is flat too.
Like any other tire, your spare can be negatively impacted by lots of conditions, from heat, exposure to UV rays, and even time. We recommend that you check your spare every time you have your tires rotated, approximately every 6,000-8,000 miles. When inspecting your spare, check for:
- proper air pressure
- signs of aging
- excessive wear
Spare tires age like any other tire. Even if your spare tire never sees any use, it is still affected by the passage of time. As tires age, the structural integrity can be negatively affected. After a long enough period of time, driving on your spare tire may become unsafe. We recommend considering spare tire replacement at six years of age. For your safety, if your spare tire is ten years old, it is considered non-serviceable and should be replaced.
Learn more about tire aging
Spare tires are susceptible to slow air loss and temperature fluctuations. This makes it very important to check the air pressure regularly. It is best to check the air in your spare tire every time you check your other tires. This will help ensure that your spare is properly inflated should you ever need to use it. Driving on an underinflated spare, particularly a compact or space-saver spare, can potentially cause serious tire damage and even tire failure.
Many trucks, SUVs, and minivans store their spare tires underneath the vehicle. Typically, these spares are lowered using a tool provided by the manufacturer. It is a good idea to periodically check to ensure you have the proper tools required to both lower and install the spare. If your spare tire is mounted outside the vehicle, it is even more exposed to the elements. This makes it even more important to inspect it regularly for any signs of aging, damage, or excessive wear.
Spare Tire Types
Some vehicles come with full size spares, while others have compact or space-saver spares. Some coupes or sedans have compact spares to save on trunk space and vehicle weight. Full size spares can be found on most trucks or SUVs and some sedans. Compact spares are typically designed with very specific usage restrictions, usually set by the manufacturer. This information can usually be found printed on the sidewall of the spare tire or in the owner’s manual. Full size spares are generally the same size as the rest of the tires on the vehicle. One of the benefits of having a full size spare is that it will provide the same handling characteristics and driving ability as the other tires on the vehicle.
Practice Installing Your Spare Tire
We recommend practicing installing your spare periodically. Not only will this ensure that you know where the tools are, it will help familiarize you with the required tools and how to use them. This will make installing the spare in an unplanned emergency scenario that much more manageable.