How to Buy a Spare Tire

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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.

Things You'll Need

  • Owner's manual
  • 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.

Tips & Warnings

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

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