How to Buy a Spare Tire

by Contributor

A spare tire is like a bit of insurance that fits right in your trunk -- you may never need it, but it can be a real lifesaver when you do. While your car should have either a full-sized matching spare or donut-style emergency tire at purchase, sometimes they go astray, are damaged or you may want to upgrade from an emergency tire to a matching full-size. Purchase a new spare tire to suit your needs ASAP -- you don't want to be left in a lurch if you get a flat.


Read your car's owner's manual to see what size tire to purchase. Although it's OK if you want to buy a donut tire, they tend to be expensive. It's best to buy a full-size, matching spare since you can use it as a regular tire.


Consider how important fuel savings is to you. A full-size, matching spare weighs more than a non-matching full-size, or factory-direct temporary tire. Temporary tires, though full-size are designed to be lighter to decrease the weight your car has to carry around -- more weight equals fewer miles per gallon.


Check with the mechanic or tire store technician to ensure that the spare you purchase is fully inflated.


Install your spare tire in your car. Check to make sure you have the jack in your car as well, since you never know when you may need to change a flat tire.


  • check All spare tires are now full-sized tires. Tires that match the rest of those on the car, however, give the best performance.
  • check Some new cars have tubeless tires that don't go flat, so no spare is required.


  • close Factory-direct spare tires are full sized, but may be designed with a lighter framework to help lighten the load your car carries. When you use one in an emergency, trade it out for a new, regular tire as soon as possible, since it is only meant for limited use.

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