The pros and cons of different spare tires

For some of us, the term “spare tire” can mean different things. Some people picture a compact spare tire, also referred to as a donut spare tire. Others imagine a full-size tire. As it turns out, the full-size spare tire and compact spare tire are two different options that can help you prepare for a flat. Let’s break it down.

The full-size spare tire

A full-size spare tire looks like the other tires on your vehicle, and it must be the same size. Here are the pros and cons of using a full-size spare tire.

One pro to using a full size spare tire is that it will maintain a consistent look on your vehicle and provide excellent safety and handling. Also by including your full-size spare tire in your regular tire rotation, you will extend the tread life of all five tires.

The cons to having a full size spare tire are that the full size spare is heavier than a compact spare, and will take up more space in the trunk of your vehicle..

The compact spare tire

A compact spare tire is not the same thing as your regular, day-to-day tires. Specifically, they’re a lightweight version that you can use just long enough at a low speed to reach a service station. Driving for long periods on a compact spare tire is dangerous and not recommended. Here are some more pros and cons of a compact spare tire.

On the positive side a compact spare tire will leave more room in your trunk. A compact spare is also lighter than a full-size spare, making it easier to pick up and install.

Some negative points on compact spare tires include that they are designed for emergency use only and not meant for use over long periods of time. Additionally a compact spare tire can impact important vehicle features, such as ABS, traction control and your speedometer.

Some other options

Compact and full-size tires are not the only options you have when dealing with a flat. Run-flat tires and tire repair kits are viable alternatives.

Run-Flat Tires These tires have reinforced sidewalls that offer deflated or deflating tires the ability to make it to a tire service provider. Plus, you won’t need to carry around an extra tire in your trunk. Once deflated, you should not exceed 55 mph for 50 miles.

Flat-Tire Repair Kit Some vehicles don’t come with a spare tire. Instead, these vehicles have a flat tire repair kit. These kits include emergency inflators and supplies like foam or sealant. Again, you don’t need to carry a spare tire in your car. But, they can only repair punctures that are than a quarter inch. Plus, sealants and foam might have chemicals that permanently damage your tire. See our article on how to properly repair a flat tire