Is your spare tire still usable?
11/21/2016 | Author: Nationwide Insurance
Nationwide Insurance, a TAR Benefits Partner, has provided the following tips for keeping your spare tire in working order. Visit Nationwide's website to get your Texas REALTOR® discount on auto insurance.
While most drivers realize the importance of taking care of their tires, there’s one tire that usually gets overlooked: the one in your trunk. Some people assume that because they haven’t used a spare, that it can operate like new. Accidents resulting from faulty or poorly maintained spares happen more than most drivers think.
Consumer Reports and other well-regarded sources on tire safety say that drivers need to inspect the spare regularly and replace it if the tire is more than eight years old—unless a vehicle’s owner’s manual recommends changing the spare sooner.
In addition to not letting your spare reach old age in the trunk, make sure it’s getting plenty of air. All tires lose pressure with changes in the temperature, and your spare is no exception. It’s a good idea to check the tire pressure in your spare on a fairly regular basis, and always check it before a road trip. After all, it’s not going to do you much good to replace a flat tire with an under-inflated spare.
One way to ensure your spare is ready to roll is to have it inspected every time you have your tires rotated. This is usually something that should be done about every 5,000 miles. All you have to do is ask your tire technician to inspect the spare and make sure it’s properly inflated and in good condition.
If your spare does have damage, it’s wiser to replace it rather than attempt to repair it. Space-saver or “donut” spare tires aren’t intended for long-term driving and can become worn much more quickly than a standard tire—particularly if they’re driven at too high a speed or for too many miles. A damaged spare isn’t likely to perform well, even after being repaired, so it’s much safer just to replace it.
Are you on the list?
Just like full-size tires, spare tires can sometimes be defective. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety website to check for recalls and make sure that your spare is safe for driving. Even if your spare passes inspection, is not on a recall list and is fully inflated, you need to make sure you’re taking all the proper precautions once you put it on your car. That includes:
- Mind your speed: Spares were not designed to drive at the same speed as regular tires; never let your speed exceed 50 miles per hour when you’ve got a spare on your car.
- Mind your mileage: As a rule, most spare tires are not meant to be driven farther than 50 miles. They're only a substitute to get you safely to a place where you can get your tire repaired.
- Think of the other tires: As noted, driving on a spare is not a long-term solution. It can also wear out your full-sized tires faster and, if driven for too long, can throw your car out of alignment.
If you need help replacing a flat with your spare, Nationwide’s 24-hour emergency assistance program can provide a quick tire change. Get back on the road faster with Roadside Assistance.
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