Spare Tires in the Snow

Spare Tires in the Snow: Crucial (Guide) for Winter Emergencies

You’re almost there! You’ve battled the blizzard, navigated the treacherous icy roads, and you’re just a stone’s throw away from the warmth of your home. But alas, fate has a wicked sense of humor, and your car, your trusted companion, betrays you with a flat tire. In the frosty heart of winter, I found myself in your shoes just last season, wrestling with a spare tire in the snow. I’ll tell ya, it wasn’t a walk in the park.

But, don’t you worry! I’ve become somewhat of an expert at this, courtesy of my own misadventures. I’ve got a pocket full of wisdom and a secret sauce to share that will transform you into a pro at handling spare tires in the snow. You see, the struggle is real, but so are the solutions. From my frostbitten fingers to your eager eyes, here’s a guide to help you conquer this winter hurdle.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, make yourself comfy, and let’s dive into this together. After all, we’re just two folks trying to navigate the snow-sprinkled quirks of life, right?

Spare Tires in the Snow

There’s nothing quite like the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a spare tire in your car when you’re driving in winter conditions. But did you know that the performance and safety of these spare tires can be significantly affected by cold weather and snowy conditions? In this article, we delve into the world of spare tires in the snow, their role, performance, safety, and how they stack up against winter tires.

Spare Tires in Winter Conditions

Spare tires – our unsung heroes. In the event of a flat tire, it’s that little lifesaver in the trunk that gets us to our destination. But when we think about spare tires, we rarely consider their performance under winter conditions.

As the temperature drops, every tire’s pressure decreases -even the spare one- by around 2% for every 5.5°C dip! This is crucial to remember, as tire performance is dramatically affected by tire pressure. A well-maintained spare tire can come in handy during tricky winter situations, especially when regular tires fail. However, it’s essential to note that spare tires, particularly temporary ones, are not designed for long-term use and especially not ideal for harsh winter conditions.

How Spare Tires Handle Snow and Ice

How does a spare tire handle the icy or snowy roads? Not all spare tires are created equal, and their performance in snow and ice varies. Temporary spares, commonly known as donut tires, are lightweight and not designed for challenging conditions. They are more prone to slipping or hydroplaning on wet, snowy surfaces. Full-size spare tires offer more stability, but even they can’t match the performance of winter-specific tires.

Types of Spare Tires for Winter Use

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the different types of spare tires and how they fare in the winter cold.

Full-Size Spare Tires in Winter

Full-size spare tires are pretty similar to your regular tires and offer a comparable level of stability. These tires can be driven for longer periods and handle winter conditions better than temporary spares. However, they are not as effective as winter-specific tires.

Temporary Full-Size Spare Tires for Winter

Contrary to full-size spares, temporary full-size spares are not designed for long-term use. They come with limitations in terms of load capacity and speed, making them less reliable during winter.

Compact Temporary Spare Tires in Cold Weather

Compact temporary spare tires, often referred to as donut tires, are not suitable for winter conditions. They are smaller and lighter, making them less stable on icy or snowy roads. They should be used with caution and replaced with a regular tire as soon as possible.

Folding Temporary Spare Tires and their Snow Performance

Folding spare tires are another type of temporary spare that is not winter-rated. They should be used as little as possible, especially during winter.

Spare Tire Safety in the Snow

Let’s now talk about safety. It’s important to remember that driving with a spare tire in the snow requires additional precautions.

Precautions when Driving with a Spare Tire in Snow

Firstly, reduce your speed. Remember, spare tires were not designed for high-speed performance, especially in challenging conditions. Always check your spare tire’s pressure and tread depth before using it. In winter, tire inflation and tread depth are key to ensuring a safe stopping distance.

Safe Duration of Driving on a Spare Tire in Snow

The safe duration of driving on a spare tire in snow varies depending on the type of spare you have. Both compact and folding temporary spare tires should be replaced as soon as possible. A full-size spare can be used for a longer period, but it’s recommended to replace it with a regular tire at your earliest convenience.

Spare Tires Vs. Winter Tires

Winter tires are designed specifically for cold temperatures, snowy and icy conditions. Thanks to their softer rubber compounds, they provide better grip on snowy surfaces. Spare tires, on the other hand, don’t perform as well in winter conditions. They are mainly designed for emergency use and not for specific weather conditions.

Can you use Snow Chains on Spare Tires

You might think that throwing snow chains on your spare tire would solve the problem. However, it’s not recommended to use snow chains on spare tires, particularly on temporary spares, as they can cause damage due to their smaller size and lighter construction.


Can I drive with the Spare Tire in the Snow?

Yes, but with caution. Spare tires aren’t designed for prolonged use or challenging conditions like snow and ice. Always check the tire’s pressure and tread before driving and replace it with a regular tire as soon as possible.

How Long Can I Drive on a Spare Tire in the Snow?

It’s best to replace your spare tire with a regular tire as soon as possible, regardless of the type of spare. Temporary spares should be used minimally, while full-size spares can be used a bit longer.

Is it Safe to Drive with a Spare Tire on in the Snow?

It’s safe to drive with a spare tire in the snow, as long as you exercise caution. Slow down, maintain a safe stopping distance from other vehicles, and get your regular tire replaced as soon as possible.


In conclusion, spare tires serve an important role, but they are not substitutes for winter tires. During winter, always remember to adjust your driving behavior, check your tire pressure, and consider getting winter tires or snow chains for better traction and safety. Stay safe on those snowy roads!