Back in the day, most cars came with five wheels – four attached to the car itself and the fifth stored away in the boot for emergencies. This began to change as car manufacturers increasingly looked to cut costs and save on space, and these days you’re much more likely to find a temporary, ‘space saver’ spare tyre in your boot (or no spare tyre at all).

While there’s no law stating that you have to carry a spare, it’s something we’d always recommend so that you don’t get caught out on the side of the road. In this article we’re going to look at what you should watch out for when driving on a temporary spare tyre.

Take it slowly

When you’re driving on a temporary spare tyre, it’s really important to keep an eye on your speed. The speed limit for these tyres is usually capped at 50mph because their smaller size means that they unbalance the vehicle. The higher your speed, the harder your car becomes to control. So, stick to 50mph as an absolute maximum and help yourself to stay safe.

Drive carefully

The experience of driving on a temporary tyre is pretty different to driving on a full set of standard tyres. The smaller size means there’s a lot less space available to grip the road and provide traction, while your cornering and braking will also be affected.

Drive carefully and sensibly, giving yourself and other drivers plenty of space on the road. Where possible, stay in the slow lane on faster roads and, if necessary, consider using your hazard lights to help make it clear to those around you that you’ve got a problem.

Head to your nearest garage

A spare tyre is a temporary solution, and the general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t travel more than 50 miles when you’ve got a spare fitted (unless you happen to have a full-size spare tyre).

In the vast majority of cases, this should give you ample time to make your way to your nearest garage for some help.

Make sure your spare is roadworthy

Most of us will probably never have to use our spare tyre. But imagine being in that position and discovering that your spare is damaged or flat. That’s why it’s crucial to keep an eye on the condition of your spare and not leave it ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

Checking your tyre’s pressure, tread depth and condition every so often is a quick job and one that could save you a lot of time, expense and inconvenience further down the line.

Call in some help

There might be times when even though you’ve got a spare tyre, it’s just not an option because you can’t get your damaged wheel off or you haven’t got the correct equipment to-hand for a roadside tyre change. That’s when having back-up like Halfords Breakdown Cover comes in handy.

From just 86p per week, talented mechanics will be there to help you in the event of a breakdown. There are a number of cover options available, so you can choose the best fit for your requirements, and all policy holders also qualify for exclusive Halfords benefits like half-price MOTs and 10% off servicing.

Or if you’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to suffer a puncture at home and can’t make it to a garage, then our Halfords Mobile Experts are on hand to get you back on the road again. We offer next day fitting when you make a booking before 6pm on the previous day – subject to slot availability – and our vans are on the road 7 days a week between 8am and 8pm.


With the uncertainty of the energy price cap and cost of living crisis, we know that you’ll be keen to save money as and when you can. Here at Halfords, we’re committed to driving down prices and offering you the best value possible to keep you safe, happy, and secure. We’ve pledged to never be beaten on price on 1000s of motoring essentials, including fitted tyres – read more here.