Do Spare Tires Lose Air?

Do Spare Tires Lose Air? Solve This Mystery Once and For All

Hey, how’s it going? I’m your tire-troubleshooting friend, here to share a nugget of wisdom about an often overlooked facet of car ownership: spare tires. You see, I’ve spent countless years in the world of automotive mechanics, and during that time, I’ve learned many things. Over the years, I’ve been asked a lot, “Do spare tires lose air?” It seems such an odd question, but I’ve noticed it’s a question that often goes unanswered, until, of course, the moment of emergency arises.

Just imagine, you’re on a road trip, meandering through a sprawling countryside, the music is on, and life couldn’t be better. But then, that dreaded thumping noise, the slight drag on the wheel, the quick glance at your dashboard confirms it: a flat tire. No worries, you’ve got a spare! But wait… does the spare tire have enough air? Has it silently lost air over months, or even years of sitting in the trunk?

I’m here to ease your worry, answer your question, and make sure you’re never left stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and a deflated spare. Together, we’ll deep dive into the mysteries of spare tires and air loss, and make sure you’re always prepared for any tire troubles life throws at you.

Do Spare Tires Lose Air

Well, the simple answer is yes, they do. Much like the tires on your vehicle that are constantly in use, spare tires, whether full-sized or donut, can lose air over time.

Air Loss in Spare Tires

You see, spare tires are not immune to the laws of physics. Just like regular tires, they can lose air due to various factors. The most common causes of air loss are temperature fluctuations and valve damage.

Common Causes of Spare Tire Air Loss

Temperature fluctuations can significantly affect your spare tire’s pressure. For every 10℉ drop in temperature, your tire’s pressure could drop by about 1 PSI. This means that if the temperature drops by 20℉ over the weekend, your tires could lose up to 4 PSI.

Apart from temperature fluctuations, other factors contributing to spare tire air loss include valve stem deterioration. Exposure to chemicals on the road can cause the valve stems to deteriorate and leak air. Improper tire installation and corrosion at the point where the rim meets the tire bead can also cause a tire to lose air pressure.

Tire Pressure in Spares

Now, you might be thinking, “Why does the air pressure in my spare tire matter?” Well, my friend, tire pressure is crucial for your vehicle’s performance. Let’s delve in and find out why.

How Tire Pressure Affects Vehicle Performance

Proper air pressure in your tires evenly distributes the weight of your vehicle, improving its performance. Low tire pressure increases the horsepower required for propulsion and can lead to tire sidewall blowouts due to under-inflation, overload, or other factors. Correct tire pressure also improves your vehicle’s handling, traction, comfort, durability, and performance.

The Impact of Incorrect Spare Tire Pressure

Low spare tire pressure could not only affect your vehicle’s performance but also its safety. An under-inflated spare tire can result in poor handling and increased fuel consumption. Over-inflation, on the other hand, can lead to a harsh ride and increased risk of impact damage.

Effect of Punctures on Spare Tires

Punctures can have a significant effect on your spare tires. This could be a slow leak of 2-3 PSI per week due to a tiny nail or an overnight pressure loss due to cuts or other physical damage.

Just like a regular tire, a punctured spare tire can lose air over time, leading to flat tires or even tire delamination. Tire delamination is the separation of a tire’s components due to factors like wear, heat, and improper inflation.

Inflation and Maintenance of Spare Tires

It’s not all doom and gloom, though! With regular maintenance, you can ensure your spare tires remain in top condition.

How Often to Inflate Your Spare Tire

Now, you might be wondering, “How often should I check and inflate my spare tire?” From what I’ve seen, it’s advisable to inspect your spare tire as frequently as your regular tires.

I recommend checking your spare tire’s pressure at least once a month and before embarking on any long road trips. Remember, temperature fluctuations can affect your tire pressure, so it’s best to check it when the tires are cold.

Keeping Your Spare Tire at the Right Pressure

Keeping your spare tire at the right pressure is essential for its performance and longevity. For regular tires, the recommended air pressure typically ranges from 32-38 PSI.

However, space-saver and donut spare tires require a higher pressure of around 60 PSI to keep the tread in contact with the road. Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for the correct pressure.

Spare Tire Pressure Sensor

Have you ever heard of a spare tire pressure sensor? It’s a useful little device that can help you keep track of your spare tire’s pressure.

Role of the Spare Tire Pressure Sensor

The spare tire pressure sensor, part of the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), monitors the air pressure in your spare tire. It alerts you if the pressure drops below the recommended level.

This nifty device saves you the hassle of manually checking your spare tire’s pressure and ensures it’s always ready for use when needed.

Troubleshooting Common Spare Tire Pressure Sensor Issues

While the tire pressure sensor is undoubtedly useful, it can sometimes run into problems. But don’t worry, most of these issues are easy to fix. For instance, if your sensor is not reading correctly, it might need a simple reset.

How Much Air Should be in Different Types of Spare Tires

Different types of spare tires require different amounts of air pressure.

Donut Spare Tire: Ideal PSI and Inflation Guide

Donut spare tires, also known as space-saver tires, usually require an inflation of about 60 PSI. This higher pressure is needed to keep the tire tread in contact with the road.

Remember, these tires are not meant for long-term use and should not be driven at speeds over 55 mph.

Spare Tire PSI for Different Car Models (Corolla, Nissan Altima, Camry, Honda Civic)

The recommended PSI for spare tires can vary depending on the car model. For instance, thicker spare tires generally require around 90 PSI. However, it’s always best to check the vehicle’s owner manual for the correct pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about spare tires.

How Long Do Spare Tires Stay Inflated?

Spare tires, like all tires, lose air over time. However, with regular maintenance, they can stay inflated for a long time.

Can a Spare Tire Cause Low Tire Pressure?

A spare tire itself cannot cause low tire pressure. However, if your spare tire is under-inflated and you use it to replace a regular tire, it could lead to issues like poor handling and increased fuel consumption.

Is It Okay to Leave Spare Tire on?

Donut spare tires are not meant for long-term use and should be replaced with a regular tire as soon as possible. Full-sized spare tires, however, can be used as regular tires.


In conclusion, spare tires do lose air, but with regular maintenance and proper care, you can ensure they are ready for use when needed. Remember, the right tire pressure is crucial for your vehicle’s performance and safety. So, keep an eye on your spare tire and stay safe on the road.