Decades ago, nearly every car came with a full-size spare tyre. But fuel economy requirements, boot space considerations and the dangers involved in setting up a jack on the road side, prompted automakers to shift toward smaller, temporary spares. Today, some vehicles have no spare tyres at all. That doesn’t mean carmakers are stranding you, however. Your car may be equipped with run-flat tyres. Or, in place of the spare, you’ll find a tyre repair kit. The worst time to find out about the different types of spares is when you have a flat. It’s better to learn about the pros and cons in advance and purchase a car while informed. I will take you through the different types of spare tyres each with their own benefits and disadvantages:

Full-size matching spare tyre

What is it? A full-size tyre that matches the current ones on your vehicle. If you’re using a full-size matching tyre as your spare, remember to make it part of your vehicle’s tyre rotation pattern.

Pros
  1. Maintains the aesthetics of your car.
  2. Unlike temporary tyres, you won’t have to drive straight to a garage to get a full-size replacement.
Cons
  1. Takes up storage space if there’s not a place for it.
  2. When it’s time to buy replacement tyres you’ll need 5 rather than 4 if you’ve rotated all 5 of the original tyres.

Full-size non-matching spare tyre

What is it? A full-size tyre that may have a different wheel and be a different size to those you already have. If you have one of these it shouldn’t be a part of your vehicle’s tyre rotation pattern.

Note: please check whether this is permitted under law.  Some national legislation may require you to have identical tyres fitted on the same axle.

Pros
  1. Unlike temporary tyres, you won’t have to drive straight to a garage to get a full-size replacement.
Cons
  1. Takes up storage space if there’s not a place for it.
  2. Might look different to your other tyres.

Full-size temporary spare tyre

What is it? A lightweight tyre with a shallow tread depth. It should match your vehicle’s tyre size specifications but you should only use it as a spare.

Pros
  1. Because they’re full-size, they generally don’t interfere with ABS, all-wheel drive or traction control.
  2. Lightweight construction won’t add a lot of weight to your vehicle. 
Cons
  1. Still require a ‘full-size’ amount of storage space and must still be considered temporary.

Compact temporary spare tyre

What is it? A lightweight tyre with a shallow tread depth. It’s smaller than both standard and temporary spare tyres and requires a higher inflation pressure – generally 60 psi.

Pros
  1. Doesn’t require the storage space of a full-size matching spare. 
Cons
  1. Can impair certain vehicle features like ABS, traction control, and even speedometer operation.
  2. Intended for limited and restricted usage to get you to a garage or to your tyre dealer.

Folding temporary spare tyre

What is it? An inflatable or collapsible temporary spare tyre.

Pros
  1. Takes up the least amount of storage space of the various spare tyre options. 
Cons
  1. A little more difficult to use as it has to be inflated with either an air pump or a canister. 
  2. Intended for limited and restricted usage to get you to a garage or to your dealer.

Most manufacturers have also developed Run-Flat tyres.

You can use these tyres when your tyres are losing air, or even when they are fully deflated. They have a maximum speed, when deflated, of 60 k/h and can be used for up to 60 kilometres. 

Buying a spare tyre

Since not all new vehicles come with a spare tyre, you might want to consider purchasing one when you buy your car. Don’t forget that you can always ask us for advice if you’re not sure what kind of spare tyre is right for you. Visit out shop to buy spare tyres for your car or call 0700670707.

Driving on a spare tyre

Before you use your spare tyre, remember to:

  1. Make sure it’s been properly inflated.
  2. Inspect it for damage or punctures to the tread and sidewall.
  3. Watch your speed – follow the instructions from your vehicle and tyre manufacturer regarding your speed as well as driving distance.
  4. Use it only to get as far as a garage or tyre dealer. A spare tyre (other than a full size matching spare tyre) is a temporary solution.

Storing and using a spare tyre

When choosing a spare tyre, think about where you’re going to store it. See our list of spare tyre types above to get an idea on the amount of space required for each.

Chances are, if you need to use your spare tyre, you’ll need to know how to change a flat in the first place. Check out this page for a simple guide on changing tyres.

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