How to take care of your spare tyre

Like most motorists, you probably make sure you always drive around with a spare tyre, but don't bother to take care of it. You presume it's enough to have it there. But, when you're suddenly stuck on the motorway with a flat, and a spare tyre in the boot that's useless, you'll certainly wish you had.

Make sure you have a spare

Of course, this probably sounds like the most obvious thing ever, but people are caught out all the time with a flat and no spare tyre, even though they could have sworn they had one.

Do a monthly tyre check

While it might be annoying to check your spare tyre monthly, it takes five minutes and could save you hours, when you're stuck on a country lane with a spare tyre you can't use. Even if it's just been in your boot for a month, foreign objects can be transported into the trunk, and then pressed into the tyre causing damage. So look closely.

Check for gouges, tears, small holes, stones, pieces of metal or anything else pressed into the tread. If you find anything that shouldn't be there, remove it carefully, wait a few minutes, then check it again for any leaks.

If you're not sure, the easiest way to know is to fill a tub with water, place the tyre in it, and then watch carefully for air bubbles. If you see bubbles, you have a leak and need to get it repaired.

Check your tyre tread

Every tyre you drive on should have the legal depth of 1.66m, although even deeper is better. Measure it to be sure, as one of the most dangerous things you can do is drive on a spare tyre with not enough tread.

But, you'll be happy to know, you don't need to check monthly, just after every time you've used it, and before you secure it back in the boot ready for the next time you need it.

Check the pressure

Over time, every spare tyre begins to lose pressure, so check the tyre pressure monthly and re-inflate it if necessary. The owner's manual will tell you what the correct tyre pressure is for your spare.

Don't drive on a spare tyre for long

Remember, just because you had a healthy spare, it popped nicely onto your car and it seems to be driving well, that doesn't mean you can drive around town on it for the next month.

Most spare tyres nowadays are not full-size and are only meant for a temporary fix. They're also not balanced correctly and, if you use one for long, it can cause problems for your car.

As soon as is feasibly possible, get your flat tyre fixed (or buy a new one), and get the spare one off and it back on.

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