How Do Spare Tires Fail?

How Do Spare Tires Fail? (Avoid These Common Mistakes)

As someone who’s lived and breathed cars for as long as I can remember, I can’t recall the number of times I’ve encountered the unpleasant surprise of a failed spare tire. Just like you, I’ve been caught off guard by that unwelcome flat tire during a long-awaited road trip or on a hurried morning drive to work. You feel the jolt, hear the thud, and your heart sinks a little.

Now, I’ve often asked myself, why does this happen? Why does the very thing that’s meant to save us in such a situation, fail us when we need it the most? It’s a question that has puzzled and frustrated me for years.

But here’s the good news. After countless hours investigating and experimenting, I’ve unlocked the reasons behind these unexpected spare tire failures. And I’m excited to share these insights with you because, just like you, I believe we all deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing our spare tire won’t let us down when it matters.

So, let’s delve into this perplexing and somewhat mysterious world of spare tires together. We may not be able to completely avoid flat tires, but with a little understanding and preparation, we can certainly make sure that our spare tire is up to the task when the time comes. After all, we’re in this journey together, you and I.

How Do Spare Tires Fail

The failure of spare tires often happens due to a lack of proper maintenance and attention. After all, it’s not the tire you’re driving on daily, so it’s easy to forget about it. But just like your everyday tires, spares need some TLC too.

Causes of Spare Tire Failure

Underinflated Spare Tires

One common cause of spare tire failure is underinflation. All tires lose air pressure over time, and your spare is no exception. When a tire is underinflated, it can lead to severe tire damage and even a blowout. In my opinion, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to regularly check the air pressure in your spare tire.

Overinflated Spare Tires

On the flip side, an overinflated spare tire can also fail. Just as with underinflation, overinflation can cause the tire to rupture or result in tread separation while driving. Remember, donut spare tires require more inflation pressure than standard tires, but overdoing it is just as harmful.

Expired Spare Tires

Did you know spare tires have a shelf life? They do, and it’s typically between 6 to 10 years. After this period, the tire begins to age, and aging can lead to drying out and cracking. These aged and expired spare tires are more prone to failure.

Damaged Spare Tires

Spare tires can become damaged just like any other tire. They can suffer from cracks, cuts, uneven tread wear, and excessively worn tread. If your spare tire is damaged, it’s likely to fail when you need it most.

Improper Storage of Spare Tires

Believe it or not, how you store your spare tire can also contribute to its failure. Spare tires that are not stored properly can suffer from premature aging and damage. This is why it’s crucial to store your spare in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight.

Identifying Spare Tire Issues

Knowing the signs of a bad spare tire can save you from a lot of stress and potential danger. In my experience, a careful eye and regular checks are your best defense against spare tire failure.

Signs Your Spare Tire is Bad

Here are some signs that your spare tire is in bad shape:

  1. Cracks or cuts in the tire
  2. Uneven or excessively worn tread
  3. Signs of aging, such as drying or cracking
  4. Incorrect tire pressure (either too high or too low)

Checking Your Spare Tire Regularly

Regularly checking your spare tire is crucial for its longevity and reliability. Make it a habit to test the tire pressure, inspect it for any visible damage and check if it’s expired. In my opinion, it’s better to discover a problem with your spare in your driveway than on the highway.

Consequences of Flat Spare Tires

Driving on a flat or failed spare tire can result in a myriad of problems. It’s not just about the inconvenience; it’s also about safety.

Can Driving on a Failed Spare Tire Damage Your Car?

The short answer is yes. Driving on a failed spare tire can lead to loss of control, causing accidents. It can also damage your car’s brakes, transmission, and other parts. Even donut spares, which are fine for short-term use, can cause harm if used too long or driven over 50 mph.

Preventing Spare Tire Failure

Preventing spare tire failure is all about proper tire maintenance and taking preventative measures.

Spare Tire Maintenance

Proper maintenance checks for your spare tire are necessary to ensure it’s ready for use in emergencies. This includes checking the air pressure regularly, inspecting the tire for damage and wear, and replacing it when it becomes expired or damaged.

Preventative Measures for Tire Failure

Preventative measures include properly storing your spare tire, avoiding driving on it for long distances or above 50 mph if it’s a donut spare, and replacing it every 6 to 10 years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spare Tires

Let’s address some FAQs that I’ve heard about spare tires.

What Can Go Wrong With a Spare Tire?

A spare tire can fail due to underinflation, overinflation, expiration, damage, or improper storage. It’s also possible that the spare tire could be the wrong size for your vehicle, which can lead to other problems.

How Long Does a Spare Tire Last For?

A spare tire generally lasts between 6 to 10 years. After that, the tire begins to age and is more prone to failure.

How Much PSI Should a Spare Tire Have?

The PSI (pounds per square inch) for a spare tire varies depending on the type of tire. Donut spares typically require higher inflation pressure compared to standard or temporary compact spares. Always check your vehicle’s manual or the tire’s sidewall for specific PSI instructions.

In conclusion, spare tires are just as important as your everyday tires. Proper care and regular maintenance checks can go a long way in preventing spare tire failure. After all, it’s always better to be prepared for an emergency than to be caught off guard.