Can You Put Air In A Spare Tire? + Other Common FAQs

If your car gets a flat while driving, it’s important to have a spare tire ready to mount on your vehicle.

But what if your spare tire isn’t inflated enough, can you put more air in it? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to learn what I discovered!

Can You Put Air In A Spare Tire?

Drivers can fill spare tires just like regular ones, but many drivers forget to keep air in their spare tire. However, you should always fill your spare tire whenever you fill the others, as remembering to do this can save you a lot of hassle when you need to change a tire out in an emergency.

If you’d like to learn more about flattening spare tires, how to know when to stop filling your spare, if spare tires have a pressure sensor and more, keep reading for more facts!

Can A Spare Tire Flatten?

A spare tire is like any other tire on your vehicle with air in it, so it can flatten when in the spare holding spot or on your vehicle for use. Therefore, filling your spare tire when you put air in the rest of the tires is a good way of preventing this situation.

You should also be more cautious when you drive on a spare because they’re usually smaller and weaker (though some vehicles come with full-size spare tires like trucks and SUVs).

However, if you’re driving on your full size spare, you have no extra spare tire to use if you fall into another unfortunate flat tire situation. So even if you have a full-size spare, you’ll still require a replacement.

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How Do You Know When To Stop Putting Air In Your Donut?

When putting air in a donut, usually the recommended psi is 60-lbs. Not everyone carries a tire pressure gauge, but since you’re just filling a spare, simply make sure that there’s enough air to get you moving safely.

Usually, a visual tire pressure check is good enough. Make sure that there’s enough air in the tire to hold the car up, but not enough air where the tire will burst. Remember, you’ll be driving cautiously until you get the main tire fixed.

Does The Spare Tire Have A Pressure Sensor?

Unfortunately, your spare tire won’t have a pressure sensor, so don’t worry about the TPMS light that comes on the dashboard. All your other tires and probably your spare have plenty of pressure in them.

Your TPMS light comes on because it’s not recognizing the pressure sensors coming from the spare you put on. When you replace the original wheel and tire, the TPMS light should go off.

How Long Can A Spare Tire Last Unused?

A full-sized spare tire can last around 7 to 10 years. A donut spare tire, if properly maintained with proper air pressure, will last about the same time.

The most important part about using a spare tire is not the age of the tire, but what type of shape it’s in.

Before using a spare tire, make sure there are no cracks or bulges in the sidewalls, irregular tire wear, or any visible damage that would make it unsafe to use.

Is It Okay To Put A Spare Tire On The Front?

Is It Okay To Put A Spare Tire On The Front?

If you have a full-sized spare tire, then you can put a spare on any one of the four corners of your vehicle with no problems.

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If you have front-wheel drive and you have a donut, the best thing to do in this situation is to take a rear tire and place it on the front, and put the donut on the back (you should still proceed with caution and not exceed the 50-mile range).

Can You Drive With A Spare Tire On The Highway?

When placing a tire with a spare donut on your car, you should stay away from the highway at all costs. Rather, take side roads until you can see your tire technician.

If you have a full-sized spare tire, you should have no problem driving on the expressway until you get another replacement tire. However, be extra careful, because you won’t be equipped with another spare.

Can I Put A Spare Tire On Backwards?

You can try putting a spare tire backwards, but most spare tires only go one way. If you’re not sure which way a spare tire goes on, place the tire on the hub of the wheel, as something will look off if you put it the wrong way.

Can You Drive Faster Than 50-mph On A Donut?

It’s not recommended to drive faster on a donut than the recommended speed in your owner’s manual or what’s posted on your tire. Donut tires are not made for speed nor are they made to drive long distances.

Why Do Spare Tires Have A Max Speed?

For Most donut spare tires, the wheel and the tire will be smaller than the wheel and tire it will be replacing. This will put the axles at an uneven angle, thus making one side work harder than the other and a little dangerous.

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Now, of course, this isn’t great for the car and why you should not only avoid driving more than 50-60-miles on a donut, but also maintain the recommended speed limit for the donut.

Why Is The Spare Tire Smaller?

If you have a donut spare tire that is smaller than the original tires, it’s because the manufacturer made them smaller to save space and money.

How Long Can My Car Sit On A Spare Tire?

A full-size spare tire, as well as a donut spare tire, doesn’t have a time restriction for sitting. Your donut spare tire and possibly your full-sized spare tire will have a mileage recommendation that’s around 50-70-miles max travel.

To know more about tires, you can also read our related posts on how long do spare tires last, if new cars come with spare tires, and how to reduce road noise from tires.


Spare tires are often not needed for a lot of people, but when they are needed, they come in handy when taken care of properly. The most important thing to remember is to check and fill the air in your spare tire whenever you fill the air in your other tires.

Also, if you’re using a spare, it’s supposed to only last you until you get a chance to replace the original tire. If you forget and have another flat, you won’t have another spare to help you out.

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