JAM | May 11, 2023

Car Care Tips | Is your spare tyre in good condition?

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Be completely honest. The only time you concern yourself with your spare tyre is when you need to actually use it. That approach to car care is a horrible one to take. What if the moment comes for you to actually use your spare and you can’t because the pressure is too low or the tyre is otherwise unfit for use?

The spare tyre is arguably the most neglected safety device your car is equipped with. Generally, it hides in your trunk or under the back of your vehicle and you barely give it a second thought until you really need it. It may be months or years before you need to use it in an emergency and by that time, the spare may not be in good condition for use.

If you you do use it, car care professionals will urge you to bear in mind that you should drive only fifty miles or approximately 80 kilometres (km) on it. The reason for this is because a spare tyre is typically much smaller than your regular tyres. The spare will probably not be able to handle driving a long distance well. They are designed to get you to a destination where the regular tyre can be fixed.

Don’t be caught in the hairy situation of needing the use of your spare but it’s non functional. Regularly check your spare tyre to determine its condition in the event that you will need to use it.

How do you know if your spare is still in good condition? Well, there are four general checks to make to make that determination.

Checks for the health of your spare tyre

Check the tyre pressure

Though car care professionals will recommend that the spare’s tyre pressure should be checked during every oil change service, it is often overlooked. However, you should check the pressure with a tyre pressure gauge and compare the actual pressure to the manufacturer’s specification. You may find the appropriate pressure listed on the driver’s door placard along with the other tyre pressures. Please note that if the tyre is flat or the pressure is far below the recommendation, do not take your chances driving on it. You should re-inflate it when you are able to and monitor it for leaks.

Check the manufacture date

Believe it or not, tyres expire and they are not meant for use beyond 10 years from the date they were manufactured. It is made of rubber which degrades especially when exposed to environmental elements. In some cases, a tyre’s life may last longer than 10 years, but that is a rare occurrence.

Check the tread depth

If your car is new, it is unlikely that the spare tyre has been replaced without your knowledge. If you purchased your vehicle second-hand, it is possible the spare has been switched out for a tyre of much lesser quality or poor condition. If the spare tyre is worn beyond 2/32nds of an inch of remaining tread, replace it immediately. At that stage, the tyre tends to be considered worn out and must be discarded.

RELATED Car Care Tips | Do you know how to inspect your car tyres without immediate help from a professional?

This is the 12th article in the weekly series, ‘Car Care Tips’ where we highlight various aspects of a car, how to provide care and maintenance for optimal performance while ensuring safety. This series may feature your favourite mechanic or others from the motor vehicle industry.

Read the eleventh installment : Car Care Tips | It’s important to rotate your tyres

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