We find lots of information on Changing a Tyre Safely – but what if that tyre is not a normal size tyre but rather a Space Saver Spare Wheel? How safe is it and do we need to adjust our driving to be safer?
The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference has shared some important insights:
The Space Saver or Temporary spare wheels can take a number of forms, ranging from narrow, brightly coloured ones to a more conventionally sized temporary wheels. Temporary use spare wheels range from 13 inches to even 19 inches and the inflation pressure varies per tyre – check the vehicle handbook, or the sidewall of the tyre, for the correct pressure.
Temporary use spare wheels are lighter and smaller than those which are normally fitted to motor cars. The idea behind the design is that it is smaller; lighter and takes up less space in the vehicle than a full-sized spare wheel, particularly if the vehicle is fitted with expensive high-performance tyres. Importantly, the temporary spare tyre may only be used in an emergency.
It is hence that the T in the tyre designation indicates temporary use under restricted conditions. It is vital that the user acknowledges that temporary use spare wheels or tyres have no maximum distance due to the speed restriction, limited tread depth (3mm on new tyres) and the fact that the compound of the tyre is often softer to emulate the traction capabilities of a wider tyre. So, it is recommended that users get the original car tyres repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
All temporary use spare wheels have two things in common, namely, they are only intended as an emergency option, with a maximum allowable speed of 80km/h for safety reasons and secondly, they impose a significant operational restriction on the vehicle when in use.
1. Fit only the temporary use spare tyre provided by the vehicle manufacturer for your vehicle model. (Replacement tyres offered by reputable tyre companies may also be used provided they match the original equipment specifications.)
2. Temporary use spare tyres are not designed to travel long distances. If you are unsure of the condition of the space saver tyre, check it before driving the vehicle and/or consult a tyre dealer.
3. Do not attempt to fit a temporary use spare tyre to any other rim than has been provided with the vehicle.
4. Use the temporary use spare tyre strictly in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions. Carefully observe the manufacturer’s recommendation for any limits on speed, tyre pressure and load. Note that inflation pressure will often be much higher than the normal vehicle tyres. This information can be found either on a placard near the spare tyre or in the vehicle handbook or on the sidewall of the tyre.
Also view the following sections:
- Road Safety and Tyre Safety
- Wheel Balance, Wheel Alignment and Safe Driving
- Tyre Maintenance and Road Safety
- Tyre Expiry
- Nitrogen in Tyres and Road Safety
- Run Flat Tyre Technology and Road Safety
- Changing the Tyre Safely next to the Road
- Tyre Safety, Fitment and Road Safety
- Tyre Selection and Safety Tips