If you’ve ever had a flat, you’ve probably had to have the frustrating experience of digging your spare out and laboriously changing the blown out tyre. While you’re tightening the last few nuts, have you ever wondered why many spares have ‘TEMPORARY USE ONLY’ stamped on the side, and why they are designed the way they are? In the latest blog from the A Grade Automotive Network, let us show you why your spare isn’t a permanent replacement for that tyre you lost, and how to best take care of yours.
Just for getting you to the workshop
As the old saying goes, “good, fast and cheap – pick two”. The convenience of having a spare tyre in your boot that still leaves some room for groceries means that there has to be some kind of trade-off, and it’s in longevity. To minimise weight and to allow them to fit into smaller storage compartments, many space-saver tyres are narrower and weaker, resulting in a smaller contact area and a greater risk of puncture. With a smaller contact area, space savers have an effect on your steering and braking capabilities.
Because of this, spare tyres should only be used for shorter distances – ideally taking you from the site of the blowout to the nearest workshop where you can get a full-sized tyre. Many spare tyres should only be used at speeds below 80 kph, and a reduced tread depth means they last significantly shorter distances than full-size tyres – often only as many as a few hundred kilometres. This gives people in cities more than enough time to find a repair shop while also ensuring that those in more rural areas can find help easily.
It’s also important to note that due to their lighter and thinner construction, your space saver tyre puts significant strain on a few of your car’s systems, especially the differential. This is part of the reason why they should only be used over shorter distances – in order to minimise the risk of long-term and expensive damage to your car.
The need for replacement
The limited range of a space saver spare tyre means that after your second or third flat – or even after your first if it’s a particularly lengthy journey to a workshop – you may need a replacement. Fortunately, most auto parts stores and workshops offer space saver tyres in the same range of sizes as their full size tyres. They can usually be found a little bit cheaper due to their simpler construction, so it shouldn’t be too much of an additional cost to pick one up with your new full-size tyre.
If you’re in need of a new tyre, speak to the team at your local AGAN member business.