All new vehicles come with spare wheels. However, the majority of them are the donut spare wheel types. Donut spare wheels are smaller, lighter, and are preferred by car manufacturers to reduce overall car weight and save on space. Even so, they are not meant for regular use as the standard tyres. They have limitations and therefore have some safety rules to follow when using them.
Driving on a donut spare wheel compromises a lot of your vehicle’s capability. Since it is smaller than the rest of the wheels, the vehicle will lose balance and have its handling jeopardized. Braking and traction will also be affected because the donut spare tyre is thinner.
Therefore, in the unfortunate event that you have to use the donut spare wheel, here are some safety rules you will have to adhere to. They will help you avoid accidents and damages to your car;
Never Drive for Long Distances
Donut spare wheels should only be used in case of a flat tyre emergency. Their main work is to get you to the nearest tyre repair shop to have your flat tyre repaired or replaced. They are not designed for long-term use and should never be used for more than the time it takes to go to the tyre repair shop. Typically, they are only suitable for short distances.
Adhere to the Speed Limit
Most donut spare wheels have a maximum speed limit indicated by the manufacturer. If you can’t find it, check the car owner’s manual. The general rule of thumb is to drive at a low speed, say something less than 50 kilometers per hour.
Reduce the Load
If you are carrying some heavy load in your car, find a way to reduce it before changing the tyre. Donut spare wheels aren’t as strong as the normal tyres.
Pros and Cons of Using a Donut Spare Wheel
You can either use a standard tyre or donut tyre as your spare wheel. However, each has its pros and cons. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of using a donut spare wheel as compared to the normal one:
- Donut spare wheels are lighter. They help reduce the vehicle’s overall weight which is an important factor in fuel efficiency.
- They are smaller and therefore take up little storage space in the car.
- The car has to be driven very slowly.
- Donut spare wheels compromise on the vehicles’ looks, making them look un-proportional.
- They reduce the vehicles’ stability.
- Cannot carry heavy load.
Points of Advice
Since they aren’t used regularly, always check that they are inflated to their recommended air pressure of 60 psi so that you are not caught off-guard in case of an emergency. Also, you should know that your donut spare wheel is not a regular tyre and should not be used like one. Once you get to the tyre repair shop and have your flat tyre repaired, replace your repaired tyre back and return the donut spare wheel back in its place–the boot.