Donut tires are small, lightweight spare tires placed in or at the back of the trunk. Donut tires are used only in emergencies. They have less weight and are smaller than the other tires on a car. However, their small size and weight do not mean they do not last long like the traditional tires on your car.
Most folks often wonder why these tires are smaller than others. Motorists also ask can I drive 500 miles on a donut, or can I drive 200 miles on a donut tire?
Here, we’ll explain why donut tires are small and lightweight and how long you can drive with them. But first, let’s see what donut tires are all about.
Donut tire explained
Flat tires are inevitable, and car manufacturers know this. That’s why most vehicles come with spare tires to help you combat the unnerving, annoying, and frustrating flat tire issues.
Older vehicles typically come with full-size spare tires to aid drivers in emergencies. But as the auto industry evolves and manufacturers come up with futuristic designs and start equipping several car sensors and features, they see the need to equip a space saver, otherwise called a donut tire.
Donut tires save space in the vehicle and also save costs in production. These tires are either placed in or at the back of the trunk.
Since donut tires are small and lightweight, they occupy less space in the trunk and enhance fuel economy, unlike full-sized spare tires. Meanwhile, they are designed to be used in emergencies only. For instance, you should only use donut tires when your regular tires blow out in the middle of nowhere. And you should fix the flat tire or get a new one once you get to a safe place.
Meanwhile, donut tires are usually seen on compact cars and sedans. Regardless of the vehicle’s size, driving on a donut tire on the highway for so long can cause a safety hazard. Therefore, it is important to stick to why the manufacturers designed it: emergency situations alone.
Can I Drive 200 Miles on a Donut?
We have explained what a donut tire is and why manufacturers shift from full-size spare tires to donut tires. Let’s answer the question, can I drive 200 miles on a donut tire?
As reiterated above, donuts are temporary tires manufactured to carry you from point Y to Z in an emergency. Technically, donuts are designed to run 70 miles. If you continue driving 200 miles on a donut tire, it’ll increase the chances of a blowout, which will cause catastrophic damage to the vehicle.
However, it is best to run no more than 50 miles per hour on a donut tire until you repair or replace the original car tire. You’ll find this information on a sticker that comes with the spare tire. Do not worry if you can’t find the sticker. All you have to do is drive at 50mph with a donut tire.
These tires are small and lightweight and have poor tread, less traction, and reduced maneuverability with different designs from your normal tires. Hence, using them on the highway or continuously becomes a safety issue.
So whether you’re asking, can you drive 150 miles on a donut, or can I drive 300 miles on a donut? The answer is no. This, however, doesn’t mean you cannot drive up to 500 miles on a donut. But driving over 70 miles on a donut will cause safety issues. Therefore, it is essential to drive slowly and no more than 70 miles.
How far can you drive on a donut?
If you’re asking how far can I drive on a donut or how fast can you drive on a donut, you need to know that we have already explained that you should drive between 50 to 70mph and no more than 70 miles. Let’s be clear here. We’re not going to tell you that it’s impossible to drive up to 200 miles on a donut tire. But we’re saying that it is unsafe to do so.
For example, all vehicles have specific wheel and tire sizes they should run safely on. Running for an extended period with a donut will cause severe issues on other system components like the brakes, suspensions, and transmission.
The damages worsen when you install a donut on the front wheel. This is because the frontal end of vehicles carries more weight because of the engine at the front, and the front wheels do more acceleration, braking, and cornering.
What is the difference between a donut and a spare tire?
We cannot highlight the difference between a donut and a spare tire without citing size as a major difference. Donuts are common with compact cars and sedans. They won’t work well on trucks and other bigger vehicles due to their lightweight and size.
On the other hand, full-size spare tires work fine on compact cars, sedans, and trucks. However, they are seen on older compact cars, sedans, and all trucks. They have the same size as normal tires. Though, they are not rated the same as normal tires.
Meanwhile, full-size spare tires can cause drag on the rear end of compact cars. As a result, it’ll lower gas mileage. Plus, having a full-size spare tire on the trunk will add to fuel consumption. However, the extra fuel is likely insignificant, meaning you might not notice it. Generally, the difference between donuts and spare tires lies in their size.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: What happens if you drive 200 miles on a spare tire?
Spare tires are lightweight and smaller. They are rated to travel 50 to 70 miles. Driving beyond this will increase the chances of a tire blowout. Aside from that, running with spare tires for an extended period may damage other system components like the suspensions, brakes, steering system, and the tranny. It is essential to stick with the recommended miles to prevent unnecessary issues to surface.
Q: Can a donut tire last 100 miles?
If you’re asking, can I drive 100 miles on a donut? You need to understand that donut tires are rated to travel 50 to 70 miles at most. As reiterated above, donut tires can travel as far as 300 miles. 50 to 70 miles is how long you can safely run the tires. Anything beyond this means you have increased chances of having bad tires, damaging other system components, or even having a tire blowout.
Q: Do donuts mess up your tires?
Driving with donut tires beyond 70mph and longer than 70 miles will increase the risk of causing damage to other car tires. This is true because the donut is smaller and thinner than other car tires, and all the wheels are supposed to balance for better handling and comfort. Running with a donut for an extended period will mess up other car tires, suspension components, steering systems, and brakes.
Q: Can a donut tire blow out?
Driving beyond 50 to 70mph on a donut will cause accelerated tire wear, uneven tread wear, flat tires, or even tire blowout in a worst-case scenario. Trust me, you don’t want to experience tire blowout as it could lead to loss of lives and can also send your vehicle to a junkyard.
Q: Do donuts mess up alignment?
Depending on your car’s age and set-up, driving beyond the recommended miles per hour for a longer period can affect the car’s geometry. They can throw off the rear toe, which affects tire wear the most. By this, donuts can throw off wheel alignments. If this happens, you’ll notice your wheels pull to the left or right while driving at a higher speed.
Q: Do you need to replace a donut tire after using it?
Donut tires are made for emergency use only. Therefore, if you install a donut tire after a flat tire, you need to replace the donut tire with the original tire after fixing or replacing it. After that, return the tire to the trunk, where you removed it earlier. You only have to install it again when you have a flat, bad, or blown tire.
Q: Is it better to have a donut on the front or back?
If there’s any reason to install a donut tire, put them on the rear wheels. It is better to have donut tires on the rear wheels because the frontal end of most vehicles has extra weight due to the engine. Plus, the front wheels do most of the braking job. Even if you have a blown tire on the front wheel, transfer one of the original tires at the back to the front and install the donut on the rear wheel.
Q: How much does a donut tire cost?
One would think that donut tires are quite cheap due to their size and lightweight, but this is not the fact. Donut tires cost the same as the price of normal tires. However, the exact cost of a donut depends on the tire manufacturer, your region, the seller, and the material used in production. A donut tire costs $100 to $200 to get a replacement.
If you have been reading to this point, you have got all the answers to can I drive 200 miles on a donut. Here is a quick recap! Donuts are rated to travel at 50-70mph and never longer than 70 miles. However, this does not mean it is impossible to drive up to 200 miles or above with a donut. It only means that driving longer than 70 miles will hike the chances of tire blowout and damage to other system parts.
In summary, it is important to stick to expert recommendations to avoid incurring unnecessary costs and compromising your safety. Donuts and spare tires are made for emergencies. So, use it only when there’s a need, and remove it once you get things fixed.