Ultimate Guide To Spare Tires: How Much Weight Can They Hold?

By October 24, 2022Common Questions, Tires

Spare Tire Summary Guide

Spare Tire Question Answer
Max weight 1,635 pounds
Speed limit 50 mph
Max distance 50 – 70 miles 
How long can you keep it on 50 mph
Weight of spare tire 50 pounds or 23 kg


Spare tires are for emergency purposes only and not for extended use. They come with a specific speed limit of 50 mph, a maximum distance of 50 to 70 miles, and can carry a weight of more than 1,600 pounds.

Having the proper knowledge about spare tires is essential to driving safely. They come in three types: compact,  full-size non-matching, and full-size match. Your ability to differentiate them can help you out of a difficult situation. 

Personally, I used a compact spare tire when I had a flat tire on the highway. The spare tire did not give me a balanced drive like my original tires. I immediately changed the tire as soon as I could get my original tire fixed. 

How Much Weight Can a Spare Tire Hold?

When driving with a spare tire, we recommend that you do not carry an additional weight of more than 20 to 30 lbs. The weight capacity for most spare tires is 1,635 pounds.

Many vehicles do not use full-size spare tires; instead, they come with what is known as a donut or compact spare tires. These tires are smaller in height and width and carry the vehicle for a short distance, at least to where it can get your regular tire fixed or changed.

The tires’ smaller size is just manufacturers trying to save space and cost. Regular tires are more significant and can take up a lot of trunk space. With standard tires, you will need deeper trunk space and a more expensive space to fit the tire.

The spare tire weighs about 23kg, which is smaller when compared to regular tires, which can weigh between 40 to 80kg. It means that spare tires cannot carry the same weight that standard tires will be able to comfortably.  

Tires, in general, have different load capacities, and each of them can carry a certain amount of load comfortably. You can see every tire’s load capacity inscribed on the tire. This load capacity is also a requirement to get the gross vehicle weight rating.  

Standard tires can have a load capacity from as low as 1,000 pounds to as much as 4,000 pounds. For tires built for trucks, the weight capacity can be more. 

On the other hand, compact spare tires have a weight capacity of up to 1,635. The weight capacity for compact spare tires is pretty standard with all vehicles or brands. However, full-size spare tires can carry even more loads. Many people tend to change their spare tires into full-sized ones.

Also Read: Pumping Car Tires With Hand Pump: Is It Possible? + FAQs

Speed Limit When Driving On Spare Tire

Spare tires have a maximum speed limit of 50 MPH and should not be driven at more than this speed to avoid an accident.

Every tire comes with a speed rating, which determines how fast you can go with the tire. The speed rating depends on many factors, which includes a test of the tire on road surfaces, inflation level, added cargo, and weather condition. 

Also, speed rating shows how good your tire’s handling will be at a certain speed level. For spare tires, the speed rating is F, which has a maximum speed of 50 mph.

Tires come in different types and sizes, and the speed limit depends on their design, thread level, size, and various tests run on them. 

Manufacturers test all tires using a test machine to meet standard requirements. The tire is placed in the machine and tested for various speed levels to ensure it is suitable for a particular speed level. 

Unfortunately, spare tires are not designed like standard tires and do not have equal thread levels as regular tires. Light tires are a form of soft tires that make it difficult for them to perform well at a certain amount of speed. 

Also, spare tires may not be able to cope with the level of heat that comes from driving above 50 mph. The tire is likely to wear off faster when regularly driving at a higher speed. 

How Far Can You Drive With Spare Tire?

The required distance you can drive with a spare tire is 50 miles and a maximum of 70 miles. Spare tires are not a complete replacement for your regular tire because they do not meet the standard tire’s exact requirement. 

Driving with a spare tire has many disadvantages that make it dangerous to drive with them for a long time. The tires are created with lighter materials, meaning they would not last as long as regular tires. 

The rims of the tires are not standard; they are made from lighter steel material, making it easier to get damaged. Also, the structure of a spare tire gives a different wheel offset than the other regular tires. Its size also adds to the displeasing driving experience you would have when driving. 

Imagine driving on the highway or traveling with a tire that gets damaged; you do not have a spare tire to take you through the journey. It would be devastating to be in this situation. 

In addition, the tread depth of spare tires is shallower than regular tires, and prolonged use will cause the tread to wear off. 

How Long Can You Keep The Spare Tire On?

It would be best if you did not use your spare tire for a distance of more than 50 miles. Spare tires allow you to drive during emergencies, like when your regular tire is damaged. They are designed for emergency purposes only; using them for a long time will damage the tire and leave you stranded.

It is important to note that not all vehicles come with donut tires; some cars have regular tires as spares. If your vehicle is one of those that come with standard tires as a spare, then you can drive with them for as long as possible. Nothing will happen to the tires or the vehicle. 

Even when your vehicle has a regular tire as a spare, you still have to ensure that the damaged tire you replaced is fixed or replaced immediately. 

Vehicles that come with regular tires as spare are majorly trucks or SUVs. It is good to ensure that your vehicle uses a standard tire before using it for as long as you want. 

If your vehicle comes with a donut-type spare tire, then you can only drive with it for a period of 50miles per hour. The tires will fail if you continue driving beyond the recommended time.   

How Heavy Is a Spare Tire?

Spare tires weigh 50 pounds, less than a regular tire, which can weigh up to 80 pounds. Spare tire weight  plays a significant role in how long you can use the tire.

The tire’s size and weight help determine the significant aspect of driving like fuel efficiency, handling, tread wear, and more. 

When you drive with an uneven-weight tire, it could make driving difficult and draw a lot of issues to your vehicle. It is one of the reasons why you are advised not to drive too with a spare donut tire. 

The spare tire does not have equal weight with the rest of the tires. Your spare tire weighs about 50 pounds, while the regular tires can weigh up to 80 pounds or more. This difference could cause many changes in your vehicle’s driving condition. You can still manage to drive with these changes for a short distance. 

Also Read: Hard Vs Soft Tire: Which Is Faster, Better & Last Longer?

Is It Better to Have a Full Size Spare Tire?

Full-size tires are the best spare tires that you can get because you can drive for a longer time, till you get spare tires.

Full-size spare tires are just light tires with the same size and features as regular tires. They are mostly seen with trucks and SUVs because they are mainly heavy-duty vehicles and need equally balanced wheels to function correctly. 

Getting a full-sized spare tire will help you drive more confidently without panic. It will also afford you more time to get your damaged tire fixed. 

However, using a full-size spare tire could be expensive to get. The donut light tires are more affordable than the full-size spare tires. If you can afford whole-size tires, you should contact them. 

What is the Difference between Full Size and Spare Tire?

Many people do not know how to spot the difference between full-size spare tires and donut spare tires. Knowing the difference will help you immensely and save you from future problems. 

Below are some differences between a full-size and a donut spare tire. 

  1. Size. Donut spare tires look much smaller and slimmer than whole-size spare tires. Manufacturers create them for temporary use, unlike full-size, which you can use anytime.  The donut or compact spare tire has a lesser diameter, and it is pretty easy to tell that it is different by looking at it. There are also full-size non-matching spare tires, which might not be as big as your vehicle’s original tires.
  2. Wheek or trim. The wheel of your spare tires, be it full-size non-match or compact spare tires, have a different wheel type from the full-size and original tires. The rims are made not to be as strong as the original or full-size spare tire. Manufacturers make the rims from lighter steel materials, which can get damaged if used too long.
  3. Shallow tread. Compact or donut spare tires have a more shallow tread than full-size spare tires, which is responsible for their nondurable nature. On the other hand, full size has a more standard thread size.



Q: What Happens if I Drive Too Fast on a Spare Tire?

Driving too fast with a compact or donut spare tire will damage the tire, causing faster wear and a flat tire. It will put you in a difficult situation because you may not have another tire to use since you are using the spare tire.

Also, driving too fast on a donut spare tire could cause damage to other parts of your vehicle, including the brakes, transmission, and suspension.

Q: What Happens if I Drive Too Long on a Spare Tire?

The expected distance you should drive with your spare tire is between 50 to 70 miles. If you drive beyond this level, you risk causing severe damage to the tire and other parts of the vehicle. 

The spare tire has a smaller diameter, which is not the same size as the other original tires. At that point, there is no balance in the wheel of your vehicle. Once you drive too long, problems can develop in the wheels, suspension, and steering. 

Q: Can I Drive on a Spare Tire for a Week?

It would be best if you drove with a spare tire within 50 to 70 miles at 50 mph. If you driving for a week falls within the recommended distance and time, then you can do so. If it does not, you should get your original tire fixed or replaced as soon as possible to avoid issues with your vehicle. 

Q: Can I Leave Spare Tire Overnight?

You can leave the spare tire to sit overnight, but ensure it is not driving. Nothing will happen to the tire or the vehicle in general. The tire is temporary and should be changed and used for emergency purposes.  

Q: Can I Drive 1 Mile on a Flat Tire?

It is not advisable to drive at all with a flat tire. You can move your car to a suitable position to pack, and that must be a very short distance and done slowly. Driving with a flat tire can wreck the tire. It can also cause severe damage to the suspension, wheel, and other parts of the vehicle. 

Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

Car Performance Boss

Best resources online to improve your car performance!

Reach out:

  • hello@carperformanceboss.com
  • shop@carperformanceboss.com (Shopping related)