If you’re an old driver, it’s very unlikely that you’ve never had a flat tire at some point in life. It happens all the time, and sometimes even after you’ve just checked that everything looks good. Although many motorists usually have a spare tire to make changing easier, some have no other option but to change to a small awkward tire that’s found in the trunk. This small awkward tire is normally called a donut tire, and it might be your only hope when you find yourself with a flat tire. This handy guide seeks to answer questions frequently asked by motorists about the donut tire.
What Is a Donut Tire?
Just like a spare tire, a donut tire is simply a replacement tire that’s stored inside a car to make changing easier when you experience a flat tire but lack the means to change to a regular tire right away. Because a donut tire is much smaller in size than the regular tires on your vehicle, it’s usually stored in the trunk where it can properly fit with no problems. It’s also less durable than other regular tires, which means it can’t cover as many miles or last that long as the ordinary tires would.
Why Shouldn’t You Drive on a Donut Tire?
Driving on a donut tire for a long time isn’t usually safe for both drivers and motorists at all. Here are some top reasons you shouldn’t drive on a donut spare tire.
Hampers the Speed
Donut tires are far less superior than regular vehicle tires. They also don’t usually perform well like the normal tires would. This is why you shouldn’t drive them quite as fast as the usual traditional tires. These tires are much smaller in size than the other tires that fit your vehicle, which means driving them any faster than 50mph is very risky.
Difficulty Braking and Handling
Because the tire is much smaller in size than other regular vehicle tires, the donut tire could likely develop some issues while driving with it in place. More often than not, the spare tire may make the vehicle lose its braking and handling power as well as make it become unstable when cutting sharp corners. The side on which you fix the tire also appears to dip due to its small size. You might experience something like a pull when on the road because of this issue.
All Safety Systems Are Usually Disabled
All the vehicle’s safety controls may not work properly when you’re rolling on a donut tire. The vehicle might become quite unstable and also lose its electronic traction control when you’re driving on a donut tire. All these issues usually go away once you place back the right tire that’s meant for your vehicle nevertheless.
Is a Donut Tire Universal?
Just like the usual regular tires, the donut tire isn’t universal and can’t be used for any vehicle. It’s important to use the donut spare for your specific car make and model in order not to directly affect its performance. These tires are also made to support a specific weight, which means if it’s more or less it could be risky for a person to drive on such wheels.
If you fix the wrong donut tire in your vehicle, you may experience some balancing problems that can easily turn into an ugly mess when cutting sharp corners. Always check that the tire you’re about to use is tailor-made for your vehicle every time to minimize the occurrence of an accident. If you can’t find a specific donut tire that matches the description of your car, seeking a tow service could be a safe bet.
Is it Okay to Place a Donut on the Front Tire?
Motorists shouldn’t place a donut tire in the front part of the vehicle at all. This is because the front weighs more than the back, meaning the tires at the front must support all that weight. A donut spare tire is relatively small and much lighter, so can’t bear all the weight at the front of the vehicle.
Moreover, the front tires also play an important role in ensuring the proper function of braking, steering, and even acceleration. You should take extra caution when you have this thin tire on the front. Make sure you’re driving slow, especially when cutting corners, and don’t get tempted to stop fast at any one time. If the service station you want to take your vehicle is a far distance, make sure you rotate the tires in order to bring a rear tire to the front and push the donut tire a little bit behind.
How Far Car You Drive on a Donut?
A donut tire is only meant to be a temporary fix for a flat tire until a person can safely reach the nearest service station where they can replace the tire. If you’re wondering how many miles can you put on a donut tire, depending on the specific make and model of your vehicle, many times it will range anywhere from 50-70 miles. And this is the maximum distance a person should drive on a donut tire every time. Otherwise, driving longer distances than the one mentioned above can do some serious damage to other vehicle parts, including the transmission if not careful.
How Fast Can You Drive on a Donut?
Because a donut tire is much smaller in size than regular tires, it can’t effectively manage the same stresses that standard tires deal with every day. Donut tires have less than the recommended tread depth of standard tires and are more of a stopgap than anything. This means it would be difficult for a donut tire to keep up with the speed of other tires when a vehicle is moving. For this particular reason, you shouldn’t do more than 50 mph on a donut. Otherwise, driving at higher speeds than this can easily put your life and those around you at risk because the wheel can come loose and cause swerving off the road.
How Much Air Should Be in a Donut Tire?
All donut tires should not exceed the prescribed inflation of more than 60 psi. This is the recommended inflation rate, which should also go hand-in-hand with the recommended speed and distance a vehicle should cover every time. Also bear in mind that a donut tire shouldn’t be used full time, as this would destroy the tire for not using it for its intended purpose. And once the donut tire gets damaged, you’d have no other option but to get a new one since it’s irreparable.
How Much Does a Donut Tire Cost?
The actual cost of a donut tire varies depending on the size, type, and quality. The tire you choose to buy should also match the specific description of your vehicle, or your manufacturer specifications every time. Many new vehicles have a space saver where you can safely store these tires. And donut spare tires are more cost-effective than regular tires and would cost you around $50 and $200, depending on the size, type, quality, and where you purchase them. Online stores many times appear to sell these tires at a cheaper price than your actual local tire retailer.
How Should I Drive With a Donut Tire?
Because donuts are more of a stopgap than anything before a person reaches the nearest service center to have a full-size tire change, your car’s performance may likely be affected when rolling on one. Below are some precautions you should take when driving with a donut every time.
- Drive slowly, at least no more than 50 mph
- Be prepared for compromised braking, handling, and cornering
- Make sure the tire pressure is correct at all times
- Also beware that some of your vehicle’s safety systems won’t be working properly
A donut tire is meant to provide a temporary solution when you don’t have the means to hire a tow car or get your tire fixed right away. All motorists are advised not to use it as you would any other ordinary tire since it’s not meant for long-term use. Otherwise, make sure to check that the spare is properly filled and in good condition before using it to ensure optimum road safety every time.