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Old 12-17-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
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2010 30' Classic
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Temporary spare tires

Maybe you have a daily driver that has a temporary spare.

How long do they last if left unused in the trunk? After they're 10 or 15 years old should they be replaced? With what? Where do you get replacements?

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:34 AM   #2
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Temporary spares are subject to the same problems ground tires are. And the 10 year limit would apply.

However, I think you'll find it extremely difficult to locate a replacement. Most folks either forget about it and hope that if needed, the tire will hold together long enough to get them to where they can get the situation remedied - remembering that temproaray spares are good for 50 miles at 50 mph!

- OR -

They get a full size spare.

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Old 12-18-2012, 05:16 AM   #3
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The one in my '99 Cougar is now 13 years old. No sign of dry rot or anything, and it holds air. I do plan to replace after the next time I need it, since it has so many miles on it (sigh), but it doesn't seem to be "aging out" like camper tires. I suspect the fact that it's kept out of the sun 99.9% of the time helps a lot.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:36 AM   #4

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POI.....try to avoid using doughnuts on the driven axle.
If unavoidable, go slow.

Differentials/gears hate them.

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Old 12-18-2012, 05:37 AM   #5
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Way back in the 1970's and 1980's, when temporary spares were first introduced into the majority of passenger cars, the vehicle manufacturers promoted a lifetime replacement. I've only known of a handful of people that took the manufacturers up on this, and don't know if you could find anybody at a dealership that would know or remember about this.

I've also replaced seatbelts under a little-known lifetime warranty when I worked for a manufacturer. It was "fun" locating new seatbelts for a 25 year old sports car.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Differentials/gears hate them.
Electronic stability control hates them, too. My new Honda Fit is the first vehicle I've ever owned with a donut spare. My owner's manual tells me that if I use the spare, I need to turn off the ESC system for the duration. My spare should hold 60psi, and I should not exceed 50mph while using it.

There is no Federal standard regarding the life expectancy of donut spares, because NHTSA has delined to issue one. A number of European, Japanese, and American studies have come up with recommendations varying from 6 to 10 years for replacement of a donut spare even if it has never been used, due to degradation of the rubber (despite the tires never being exposed to UV, the rubber can still oxidize— albeit slowly—because the trunk space isn't airtight).

Because my Honda already sits close to the ground, and will sit even closer with the spare on, my first recourse in the event of a flat is a good-quality tire plugging kit that I got from It's the same type of kit that I used back when I worked in a service station in the late 70's, and uses a mushroom-shaped plug that seals well. I used literally hundreds of them in three years at the service station, and never once had to re-plug a tire. That style of plug always held, if it was the right size for the hole.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:23 PM   #7
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Temporary spare tires

When I purchased my 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible in 1994, it came without a spare of any kind. The estate from whom I purchased the car couldn't account for its absence, but literature that came with the car indicated that it came from the factory with a compact, "inflatable" spare. When I attempted to locate a replacement in 1995, it was listed in GM parts books as no longer available, but I lucked out when the long-time parts manager remembered that they had seveal of these spares in the attic obsolete parts bin . . . four days later, he called me to come pick up the spare assembly that included the wheel (standard 1966-1978 Cadillac Eldorad0/Oldsmobile Tornado), inflatable spare tire, and inflation cannister. The inflatable spare was marked Good Year. I have since tried to find out about a replacement tire assembly, but received blank stares from my long-time Good Year tire dealer. When I had rims restored for the car in 2007, I had six rims restored so that I could have one for a "standard" spare tire/wheel when towing either trailer . . . . towing traction with a front wheel drive car is already enough of a problem without adding in the potential for difficulties caused by a "compact spare" that has significantly different characteristics from any of the other tires/wheels on the ground.

I am probably a little nonchalant regarding spare tires. The spare tire for my Argosy is the original tire/wheel that came as its spare in 1978 (always rode in the first owner's tow vehicle trunk just as it does in mine today). The spare for my Overlander pre-dates 1980, but it is not the original spare/tire wheel. All of my passenger vehicles have their original spares that have never been used with the oldest dating to 1984 in my 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible . . . the 1975 Cadillac Edlorado is the one exception.

One of the few places where Murphy's Law has not been an ongoing problem for me is in regard to tire life on my vehicles. In more than 37 years of driving covering close to one million miles, I never had a flat or blowout while underway. It seems like my flats are always discovered while parked in my own driveway/garage or during the morning pre-departure checks. Lengths of welding rod picked up inconstruction zones have been the most frequent cause of tire repairs on my vehicles for some reason.


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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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