How far can I drive on space saver tyres?

Space saver tyres
  • Space saver tyres can go far enough to get most drivers home or to the mechanic

  • You can typically drive a few hundred kilometres on a space saver tyre, depending on the brand and type

  • Space saver tyres are usually limited to a speed of 80km/h

  • Space saver tyres don’t grip the road as well as normal tyres, which reduces steering and stopping ability

Space saver spare tyres or temporary use spare tyres (TUSTs) are common in modern cars and come with unique advantages and disadvantages compared with the alternatives, which include a full-sized spare tyre, run-flat tyres and a tyre repair kit.

Four strengths of space saver tyres

  • Space saver spare tyres are more compact than a full-size spare, so give you more usable boot space.

  • Space saver spares are lighter, so reduce fuel use and exhaust emissions by a small amount because your car’s engine has less weight to pull.

  • Space savers are less costly than full-size spare wheels and tyres. This saves the car manufacturer money, which may be passed on to the car buyer.

  • Because space saver tyres come on a conspicuous skinny wheel, often painted bright yellow or orange, they prompt car owners to rectify the flat tyre and return the space saver to the boot. When a full-size spare replaces a flat, the flat often stays in the boot long-term … leaving you stranded the next time you have a flat tyre.

Five drawbacks of space saver spare tyres

  • Space saver tyres only have a range of a few hundred kilometres, then they’re worn out and have to be replaced. This range is enough to get most drivers home, or to a tyre store or mechanic. 

  • Space savers are only good for speeds of up to 80km/h, which could slow down your progress if you’re out of town, far from the nearest mechanic or tyre store.

  • A car with a space saver tyre fitted won’t steer or brake as well as one with four full-size wheels and tyres, particularly in an emergency avoidance manoeuvre.

  • The full-size flat sometimes won’t fit in the space saver’s position, so it takes up space in the boot or the cabin.

  • With a full-size spare it’s often possible to rotate your tyres using the spare, which spreads tyre wear over five rather than four tyres. You can’t do this if you have a space saver spare.

It is sometimes possible to choose a full-size spare instead of a space saver, either at extra cost or as a no-cost option.

Some car boots don’t have room for a full-size spare, which means if you choose to have a full-size wheel and tyre it has to go in the boot – permanently taking up luggage space.

Other cars with a standard space saver have room for a full-size spare, which doesn’t sound like a space saving to us.

NRMA Members save 15% on tyres  

With Australia's most trusted tyre provider, Beaurepaires