How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tyre - UK Laws

By David Sholicar

In the UK, there is no legal requirement to keep a spare tyre in your vehicle. The days of every car coming complete with five wheels, with the spare ready to be popped on with the help of a jack stored in your boot have long since been replaced by a host of alternatives.

Spare Tyre

With so many options now available should you suffer a puncture or blow out, here’s our guide to what you need to know to ensure you continue to drive within the law.

Using a spare tyre

If you do happen to have a traditional full-sized spare wheel for your vehicle, of course, this can still be fitted as normal in the event of a puncture. However, you still need to ensure that this tyre meets legal requirements in terms of tread depth and being free from defects. Remember to regularly check it as part of your general vehicle checks.
Many vehicles are now fitted with non-standard spares, such as ‘space-saver’ wheels, tyre sealant and inflation kits or run-flats. So, how do these work and what restrictions apply?

Space saver wheels

Space saver wheels are thinner than standard tyres and designed solely to get you to a safe place in order to get a regular tyre fitted. Usually, the maximum speed you can drive on a space saver wheel is 50mph, and although there is no official restriction on the distance you can travel using one, around 50 miles is generally deemed to be the maximum safe distance for usage.
It’s important to remember that, when using a space-saving tyre, the handling of the vehicle will be different to normal, grip on the road will be reduced and the tyre will degrade at a much faster rate than usual. While they can be great to keep you on the road in an emergency, you should really just use them to get yourself to a garage which can fit a replacement tyre as soon as possible.

Run-flat tyres

Run-flats are designed to enable you to continue to drive on them even after suffering a puncture, albeit restricted to around 30mph for a maximum of 50 miles. This can make them an attractive option for those not wishing to have to change a tyre on the roadside in the event of a puncture, but they can be more expensive and lead to a bumpier ride. It isn’t possible to repair a run-flat, so you could find yourself needing to replace them in the event of damage.

Sealant and inflator kits

These kits offer a temporary fix for minor punctures to get you to a place of safety. However, they won’t work for larger tears or blow-outs. Whatever type of puncture you suffer – or temporary solution you choose – the key to safe motoring is to have a replacement tyre fitted as soon as possible.
At Protyre, our qualified fitters can get you back on the road quickly and safely. As stockists of a wide range of tyres – such as Pirelli, Bridgestone, or Falken – our tyre professionals are experts at fitting the right tyres to suit your needs. Why not book your free tyre check today?

Book A Free Tyre Check

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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