How Long Will Your Spare Tires Last?

Tires are not just a necessity for a safe drive, they are your lifeline on the road. They provide the necessary traction you need to control the car. That’s the primary reason why the idea of driving a car with worn-out tires sounds dangerous. If you’re a frequent driver, having spare tires either mounted on the back of your vehicle or stored in your trunk can be a game-changer, especially in emergencies when you’re stranded on a deserted highway with no car service for miles.


Either way, the spare tire will really come in handy if you get a flat tire. But these spare tires won’t last forever. Everything has a shelf life. And that includes a spare tire sitting in your trunk as well.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the importance of regular tire checks, and practical maintenance tips to make them last longer. We’ll also see how long you can use spare tires. So, let’s get started!

Why Are Spare Tires Necessary?


Let’s suppose you’re not someone who goes on long trips. Do you still need spare tires? No, but it’s always better to have them. Here are three reasons why you might need spare tires for your vehicle. 

Emergency Preparedness:


You don’t exactly have to be on a long drive in order to face an emergency. It can occur during your drive to the office. When faced with unexpected tire issues such as punctures or tread wear, having a spare tire readily available can make a significant difference in one’s ability to continue the journey safely. You can definitely drive on a spare tire and make your journey safe!

Safety Assurance:


Having spare tires in a vehicle significantly reduces the risk of being stranded on the roadside due to tire-related issues. In the event of a flat tire or blowout, you can quickly replace the damaged tire with the spare and continue your journey safely. Moreover, the vehicle tire service can cost you some decent money. A spare tire ensures you’re prepared to handle unexpected tire failures without incurring hefty costs.

Time and Convenience:


One of the primary advantages of having a spare tire is the ability to avoid delays and inconvenience associated with waiting for roadside assistance. Help can take time to arrive, even in a busy city. Let’s suppose you’re running late for the office and your boss doesn’t cope with late arrival. In this undesirable scenario, spare tires are your best companion. 

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Spare Tires


As aforementioned, spare tires have a shelf life. There’s no direct answer to how long you can use spare tires. Experts say not to store spare tires for more than 10 years for safety reasons, but depending upon several factors, this shelf life can vary. These factors include:

Environmental Factors:


First and foremost, the environment profoundly affects your tires. Remember that your tires are made up of rubber, and just like how rubber melts in the heat, the tires can also deteriorate in intense summer conditions. Moreover, temperature variations like extreme heat or cold can accelerate the aging process of rubber compounds, leading to premature deterioration and reduced tire longevity. Prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV radiation can also cause the degradation of tire materials, resulting in dry rot, cracking, and loss of elasticity. 

Storage Conditions:


If you always carry your spare tires on the back of the vehicle where they get proper sunlight, the shelf life will be significantly affected. Storing spare tires in a relaxed, dry, and well-ventilated environment helps to minimize exposure to environmental factors that can accelerate degradation. If you have multiple spare tires, it’s advisable only to store 1 or two tires in your vehicle. You can store the rest in a dry and cool environment for longevity. Furthermore, don’t make the mistake of exposing the spare to chemicals, oils, or debris. These factors can also cause damage to the tire surface and compromise performance. Every once in a while, give your stored tire a proper inspection and ensure they’re getting proper aeration periodically.

Usage Patterns


If you use the tires, then store them, and then again use them, it’ll affect its overall longevity. Spare tires that are regularly rotated into use and driven for extended periods are subject to more wear and tear compared to those that remain idle for extended periods. We all know that frequent use can lead to tread wear, loss of traction, and reduced overall performance. Conversely, spare tires that are rarely used may still experience degradation over time due to environmental factors and aging, albeit at a slower rate. If you’re storing used tires, always make sure they’re properly cleaned and dried before you store them!

Tire Material and Construction:


Last but not least, the tire brand is accountable for the tire material and construction. Expensive tires from a reputable brand will be better than cheap tires from some anonymous seller in the market. High-quality rubber compounds and reinforced sidewalls contribute to excellent resistance against wear, abrasion, and environmental damage. Additionally, the design of the tire, including tread pattern and construction techniques, plays a vital role in determining its ability to withstand various road conditions and usage scenarios. Spare tires manufactured with advanced technologies and superior materials tend to have a longer lifespan and provide better performance under demanding conditions.

Signs of Spare Tire Deterioration:


It’s imperative to know whether or not your spare tires are safe to use. For this purpose, go around the tires, and give them an excellent inspection. One of the primary indicators to look for is tread wear, which can manifest as uneven patterns or reduced depth of the tire grooves. The uneven tread wear can also cause uncomfortable rides with a lot of shaking and noise.


Moreover, pay attention to age indicators such as sidewall cracking or dry rot, which can develop over time due to exposure to environmental elements or prolonged storage. These signs suggest that the tire’s rubber compounds are deteriorating, compromising its overall integrity and safety.


Modern vehicles are also equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) that continuously monitor the air pressure in each tire, including the spare tire. A sudden drop in tire pressure can be indicative of a puncture, leak, or other issues that require immediate attention. Regularly checking the TPMS readings ensures that spare tires are adequately inflated for safe driving.

Final Thoughts:


At the bottom line, spare tires are indispensable for ensuring safety. In case of an emergency, you can always drive on a spare tire. However, even spare tires have a shelf life. Specialists recommend not to use tires that have been sitting on the shelf for more than 10 years.


Moreover, the tire’s lifespan is influenced by various factors such as environmental conditions, storage practices, usage patterns, and tire quality. Regular inspection, maintenance, and adherence to proper storage guidelines are essential for maximizing the longevity and reliability of spare tires! That said, safe driving!