How Long Can You Drive on a Spare Tyre - UK Laws & Understanding your options

By David Sholicar

In the UK, the landscape of spare tyres has evolved considerably. Gone are the days when every vehicle came equipped with a full-sized spare wheel ready to be mounted in case of a flat. With various alternatives available, it's crucial to understand the options at your disposal to stay compliant with the law and ensure your safety on the road.

Spare Tyre

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?

Driving Without a Spare Tyre: Legal Considerations

In the modern era, there's no legal mandate to carry a spare tyre in your vehicle across the UK. The traditional notion of having five wheels, including a spare, is largely replaced by diverse solutions for handling punctures or blowouts

Space saver wheels

Space-saver wheels represent a common alternative to full-sized spares. Thinner and designed for temporary use, they facilitate driving to a safe location for tyre replacement. Typically, these tyres have a maximum speed limit of 50mph and a suggested distance of around 50 miles for safe usage.

While space saver tyres serve as a temporary solution, it's essential to acknowledge their limitations. They alter vehicle handling, reduce road grip, and degrade faster than standard tyres. Thus, they should only be relied upon to reach a garage promptly for a permanent fix.

Run-flat tyres

Run-flat tyres offer a distinctive advantage by enabling continued driving post-puncture, albeit with restrictions. With a capped speed of approximately 30mph and a distance limit of 50 miles, they provide a convenient option for those hesitant about roadside tyre changes. However, they may incur higher costs and deliver a less smooth ride. It's important to note that run-flat tyres cannot be repaired, necessitating replacement upon damage

Sealant and inflator kits

Sealant and inflator kits offer a temporary fix for minor punctures, facilitating safe travel to a secure location. However, they prove ineffective for significant tears or blowouts. Regardless of the puncture type or temporary solution chosen, the paramount concern remains: replacing the damaged tyre at the earliest opportunity.

At Protyre, our certified technicians specialize in promptly and securely getting you back on the road. As authorized stockists of leading tyre brands such as Pirelli, Bridgestone, and Falken, we ensure the right tyres are fitted to meet your requirements. Schedule your complimentary tyre check today for peace of mind and safe travels.

Book A Free Tyre Check

In conclusion, while the legal landscape regarding spare tyres in the UK has evolved, prioritizing safety and compliance remains paramount. Understanding the nuances of various spare tyre options empowers motorists to navigate unforeseen challenges on the road effectively.

Can You Drive on a Motorway with a Spare Tyre?

In the UK, navigating motorways with a spare tyre warrants attention. While there's no explicit prohibition against driving on motorways with a spare tyre, it's essential to recognize the limitations of different spare tyre options.

Space Saver Tyres: Motorway Considerations

When contemplating motorway travel with a spare tyre, especially space saver tyres, it's crucial to adhere to their designated speed limits and distance constraints. Typically, space saver tyres are engineered for temporary use and may not provide optimal performance at higher speeds or over extended distances.

Can You Use a Spare Tire More Than Once?

A common query among motorists pertains to the reusability of spare tyres. While spare tyres are designed for temporary deployment, the possibility of using them more than once depends on several factors, including the type of spare tyre and the nature of the damage incurred.

As we delve into the nuances of spare tyre usage, it's important to underscore the temporary nature of these solutions and prioritize prompt replacement for sustained safety on the road.

By addressing these considerations, motorists can make informed decisions regarding spare tyre usage, ensuring compliance with regulations and prioritizing safety during their journeys.

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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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