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Be Aware of Your Spare Tire

Do you have a spare tire in your car? If you have to think twice about that question, I bet you either don’t have one or the spare you have needs attention. Your spare tire is one of the most important accessories on your vehicle, but it is often the most neglected.

If you never check your spare tire, it might not be useful when you need it. Here are some general steps you should take to make sure your spare tire will be ready when disaster strikes.

Think about the most basic thing you check on your tires. That’s right, the pressure on your spare tire should be checked on a regular basis. Most tires should read between 30 and 35 PSI. This could change depending on the type of spare your vehicle is equipped with. A compact spare tire referred to as a donut, could require as much as 60 PSI. Always check your owner’s manual for appropriate inflation guidelines.

Not all vehicles have a spare tire and most vehicles won’t have a new one. If your car is older or maybe you bought it second hand, you will need to watch out for two things. Check the manufacture date on the sidewall of the tire. After 6 years from manufacture date, the warranty ends, and most companies will not install or service tires beyond that date. However, there is no legal expiration date and each tire must be judged individually based on condition. A tire that is older than 6 years old becomes substantially more likely to fail. A spare tire might last you as long as 10 years, but a safe bet is to replace it with a new one. 

The second thing to watch out for is the condition of the spare tire. In the case of older vehicles, the spare has often been used or is actually the old patched tire from a previous mishap on the road. Examine the tire carefully. If you notice worn down tread, cracks, scarred side walls, or plugs you might want to replace your spare with one you can depend on. Also make sure that the jack and necessary tools are available. Including the wheel lock key if needed. Too often a car is towed in for lack of the wheel lock key or a lug wrench that fits all of the lug nuts.

 Now that you have a spare that is in good condition, you will want to follow some rules to keep you safe using it. Remember spare tires are only meant to be used in emergencies, not as your everyday tire. You should only travel about 50 miles on your compact spare. You also want to avoid the highway. Most donut tires should only be used while going less than 50 mph.

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