Why Do Spare Tires Have Higher PSI? [Little-Known Facts]

Pound per square inch or PSI is the amount of air pressure in your tire. Did you know the spare tire has a higher PSI than the normal tire? Yes, it is true, and there are a few reasons.

First, the spare tire is smaller than the normal tire, making it have less contact with the ground. So it has a higher PSI to compensate for the small size.

This higher PSI will help the treads on the tire to have full contact with the road.

Of course, you only use the spare tire in times of emergency. So it needs to have extra pressure because of the long storage time.

A spare tire can stay for over six months in the trunk, and it will be a surprise to find out you have an empty spare tire. It is advisable always to inspect your spare tire and do a periodic refill.

How to Inspect the Pressure on Your Spare Tire

You should maintain the pressure at 60PSI, and it is hard to know by simply pressing on the spare tire. Remember, a low PSI will damage the tire and can even break your rim.

Use a tire gauge to inspect the pressure in the spare tire. It is a simple gadget found in most stores. A tire gauge is small and will occupy less space in your car.

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Open the valve cover and press the tire gauge on the valve. Allow the tire gauge to settle, displaying the amount of pressure in the tire.

Nowadays, there are electronic pressure gauges too. This type of gauge is more accurate than the traditional models. An electronic pressure gauge uses a special sensor to display the pressure level on the screen.

Here is how to check tire pressure

YouTube video

Maintenance Tips for Spare Tires

The first maintenance tip is always to check the tire’s pressure. Temperature is the main thing that affects the pressure. The pressure may reduce quickly during hot days. Make it a habit to refill your spare tire during hot months.

Also, always inspect the condition of your spare tire. How old is your spare tire? Inspect for cracks and cuts on the spare tire.

Cracks are dangerous as a spare tire can blow out without a warning. Look at your spare treads, which should be at least one inch deep. The spare tire will perform well with excellent threads.

 If you have a full-size spare tire, it is good to rotate them. Experts advise you to rotate the spare tires after 8000 miles. You can exchange the tires so that the old ones become spare tires.

 Do not forget to clean the spare tire. You can inspect the spare tire while cleaning. Take this time to look for cracks and leaks. Apply UV wax so that your spare wheel is safe from the rough rays of the sun.

Safely store or mount the spare wheel on your car. You can also cover it with a plastic bag for extra protection. Tire covers will help to protect the tire from rocks and other sharp stuff.

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Here is a video with more tips on tire maintenance

YouTube video

Things You Should Know About the Spare Tire

When you own a spare tire, there are a few things you should know about to help understand it better. Here are some;

  • Many types of spare tires

You are likely to come across different spare tires. The most common would be the donut-size tire. This is also called temporary spare tires.

This is because you cannot use it over long distances. Its purpose is to get to a shop and have the main tire repaired.

There is the option of buying a full-size tire and making it your spare tire. When you have such a tire, it means that you will not be worried about how long you can drive on it or even the speed. The only downside is that it will take up a lot of space.

  • Speed

The donut tires have a limitation on how fast you can go. The recommended speed is 50 mph. It might not seem much, but it is vital to protect you from potential mishaps. As you can see, it would not be the best for highways.

Only get to highways and motorways once you have the normal tire repaired and replaced.

  • Distance

Just like speed, you will also get a recommendation on how far you can go on a donut spare tire. You should not go over 70 miles driving on a donut tire.

We are sure that within 70 miles, you should get someone who can have your tire repaired and mount it back.

  • Donut tire pressure

You may have noticed that the donut spare tire would have more air pressure compared to normal tires. You can get most of them having a recommendation of 60PSI.

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We have already mentioned above that this is to ensure that the tire will always have the correct air pressure considering how long it is stored before it is next use.

How to Clean a Spare Wheel

What you need

  1. Clean water
  2. Hand brush
  3. Washing powder
  4. UV protection wax
  5. A clean piece of cloth
  6. Small plastic bag

Step 1. Place the plastic bag on the floor, and here is where you will clean your spare tire.

Step 2. Pour some water into the bucket and add washing powder. You can also use the dish wash soap for better results. Stir the solution until bubbles appear.

Step 3. Now take the hand brush and start scrubbing the spare tire. Don’t be rough with the brush to maintain the quality of the rubber. Scrub in a circular motion and also inspect for leaks and cracks.

Step 4. Once you are done with the scrubbing, rinse the soap with clean water. Ensure the soap is completely off the tire, or else your rubber will appear rusted.

Step 5. Use a piece of cloth to dry the tire. Wipe the water and let the tire dry under the shade for about 15 minutes. Then you will apply the UV protection spray to maintain the quality of your tire.


Q1. Can a spare tire endure high speeds?

It depends on the type of spare tire. Full-sized spare tires can run at high speeds like normal tires. However, the donut spare will cannot endure high speeds.

It is advisable to go up to a maximum speed of 50 mph. Spare tires are made to help you find the nearest tire repair point or a tire dealer.

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Q2. How much air should spare tire have?

A spare tire can endure up to 60 PSI, and this is the best pressure level for the donut spare wheel. On the other hand, the full-sized spare wheel can endure up to 100 PSI.

You should note that your tire can explode at 200 PSI. Always read on the sticker to know the limit for your spare tire. And avoid over-inflating an old spare wheel.

Q3. What is the lifespan of a spare tire?

The maintenance tips and tricks will determine the lifespan of a spare tire. With maximum maintenance, a spare tire can last for 8 years. Good storage and regular cleaning will add to the life span of your spare wheel.

Q4. What are the best tools for inflating a spare tire?

You can use the ordinary air compressor to refill the spare tire. Use the manual foot pump when you cannot get to an air compressor. A manual foot pump is a trick to use and will require some energy.

With good technology, we now have the electric portable air compressor. This type of air compressor is plugged into the 12-volt outlet on your dashboard.

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