Can I Drive 200 Miles On A Donut? Tips For Safe Driving

By David Barlow
Last updated: Nov 27, 2022
Can I Drive 200 Miles On A Donut

If the engine fails, it can be towed, even pushed, but when the tire is punctured, it can only be transported by another car. A donut spare is the best solution to deal with this situation.

Can you Drive 200 Miles On A Donut?

If you go fast, there will often be a phenomenon of the car shaking; the car has a sound, and the risk of puncture and explosion is high. If you want to go a little further, you have to slow down, but 200 miles with donut wheels is NOT possible.

A donut is a tire with smaller specifications than a standard one; its weight is only 2/3 of a regular tire. Its modest measurement frees up the luggage compartment and allows you to store more items. The small size also makes the replacement easier

Weighing under 10kg will reduce fuel consumption compared to full-size ones, while its price is only 1/3 or even lower. Because of this feature, it is the ideal choice when having a wheel drive problem.

However, its biggest limitation is that it cannot go at high speed and has a short lifespan. To avoid any risks, the speed limit you can run is about 50 miles per hour, and the maximum distance is 50 – 70 miles.

It is understandable because, after all, it is just a temporary replacement in an emergency. Once you use it for too long, it can lead to many serious consequences.

The Risks Of Driving Too Far With A Donut

Instead of using this product as a lifesaver, many people have used them to drive longer distances than the manufacturer’s instructions suggest. 

However, the difference between the standard and the extra tires is too big. Here’s why you should only use them for short-distance trips:

Poor Load Capacity

Spare products have a poor load-carrying capacity, so long-term use can cause serious mechanical problems such as exposing the differential to heavier pressure.

Not As Tough As Regular Ones

The true strength of the tires lies in the steel and the polyester layer underneath the rubber. Backup types also have these layers but are thinner and less frequent than regular ones. This feature greatly affects its cornering ability and puncture resistance.

Poor Friction

These products deliver a smaller road contact due to its narrower width. This reduces traction, increases braking distance, and decreases handling speed in emergencies.

It also impairs the effectiveness of ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) and anti-slip controls to ward off any danger.

Influence On Differential Control

Since the differential comes with a rather complex function, it directs the engine power from the transmission to the wheels and controls the right and left wheels to move at various speeds. Its job is necessary when entering a bend.

When cornering, the wheels near the turn have a shorter path than those outside, so they rotate at distinctive speeds. When moving straightly, the differential does not need to operate, so there is less wear on bearings and gears.

But on the same axle, the opposing wheel is bigger than the spare one. So, it has to spin faster to reach the car’s speed. This causes the differential to control the force transmitted to the spare wheel.

Loss Of Elasticity

If the donut wheels are used too long, the tire will lose its elasticity, and the differential grease will start to dry, resulting in rapid wear of the gears and clutch discs.

For these reasons, tire manufacturers suggest you should keep an average speed of 50mph and use only within the recommended range stated in the owner’s manual. 

Notes When Using Donuts

Notes When Using Donuts

Do Not Use Old Products

Just like normal ones, the main material of them is also rubber. So when it is left unused for a long time, the rubber will age and lose its elasticity when running on the road.

Therefore, whether used or not, the spare one needs to be replaced after 5-6 years from the date of manufacture. In case the tire is too new, the dealer should check it. Either way, do not use it after ten years from the date of manufacture.

You Should Only Use It For The Rear Wheel

According to expert opinions, using donut spare tires to replace the front wheel is very dangerous. It affects the handling of the situation, especially on wet, snowy roads and road hazards. You may experience a loss of control, which may lead to an accident.

Many drivers think that if something is broken, replace it with another one in the correct position. This habit comes from the characteristics of old cars.

More than a decade ago, most old cars used full-size spares, so the usability was similar.

Today’s new cars are mostly equipped with smaller, lighter models to cut down the compartment size, which is easy to replace. Replacement is convenient, but their technical characteristics cannot match them.

Therefore, when installing and using, only run at low speed because the stability of this tool is not high. Remember that you should not replace the front wheel.

Technicians recommend that users, when there is a problem with the front wheel and need to use the spare one, should take the normal wheel at the rear to switch to the front and then install the spare wheel to the rear.


Should I Fix A Donut Tire When It’s Broken?

This one is a lifesaver for emergencies, but its lifespan is very short. Accept this and do not try to hold on to it when unusual signs have come. Wrong repairs will come with unnecessary dangers, so you are better off buying a new one.

Can I Use A Donut Tire On The Highway?

No, it’s just suitable in regular driving conditions. Highway means you have to control the car at a very fast speed. Unlike city roads, these road hazards do not fit this temporary solution. 


Donut tire is useful in emergencies but are not suitable for long distances. It’s still a thing to help you navigate the nearby tire repair workshop to find a new one.

Please like and share if this article is really helpful to you. Thanks for reading.

David Barlow

Automotive Experts at World Tire Review

Hi everyone, I’m David (Tireguy). I believe that finding tires can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for almost every driver. That’s why I would like to bring my experiences and knowledges to develop World Tire Review blog, it will give people a deeper understanding of what choosing the right tire is really like!