Spacer saver spare tires

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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I suppose I could look this up but there's a wealth of knowledge here.

If I get a flat car tire and have to use the space saver spare am I still allowed to tow my caravan? If yes then I think I would make sure the space saver tire was on the front.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I suppose I could look this up but there's a wealth of knowledge here.

If I get a flat car tire and have to use the space saver spare am I still allowed to tow my caravan? If yes then I think I would make sure the space saver tire was on the front.
My 2010Volvo XC70 said rear fitment with or without trailer. But the OD of the tyre was 2 inches less than the standard OEM alloys fitted so would have imbalanced the steering if fitted to the front. The space saver was load rated for the cars GVW and as far as it would be aware the nose load was no different to an extra load in the luggage bay.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I feel sure the space saver’s are up to the task. But will give much poorer performance in terms of road holding and poor weather grip. Simply go slow and get the tyre fixed as soon as possible.

John
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I think on the rear would be better and safer as it should comply with the maximum load rating of the vehicle. However on some cars it may cause the TMPS to throw a wobbly as the spare saver will not have a sensor fitted so the TPMS may constantly sound alarm for flat tyre?
 
Jun 16, 2010
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I suppose I could look this up but there's a wealth of knowledge here.

If I get a flat car tire and have to use the space saver spare am I still allowed to tow my caravan? If yes then I think I would make sure the space saver tire was on the front.
I can't imagine i would start rotating tyres, in the rain, stuck in some layby!

This website seems to suggest it's okay to use one when towing (more or less!)

 
Mar 14, 2005
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You have to be guided by the vehicle manufacturer's instructions, and as we have seen on the forum previously there are variations between makes and models.

But for what it's worth, the spare tyre should be rated to carry the fully laden vehicle. and be durable enough to enable the vehicle to make it to the nearest tyre replacement depot, albeit at a restricted speed.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Yes in general, you can still tow with the space saver fitted but a few models have it "banned" in the handbook - but in any case the 50 miles at 50 mph limit still applies to get you and the caravan to a NEARBY tyre repairer.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Yes in general, you can still tow with the space saver fitted but a few models have it "banned" in the handbook - but in any case the 50 miles at 50 mph limit still applies to get you and the caravan to a NEARBY tyre repairer.
The sad part is that some people cannot afford to pay to have the tyre replaced and will carry on using the space saver.
Imagine a young family saving up all year for their holiday, then to have a puncture on their way to their holiday destination and the tyre needs to be replaced. It could make a big hole in their holiday spending money and disappointed kids.
 

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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Just checked my manual and it says do not tow a trailer when using a temporary use spare tire.

Should have looked there first.

BTW: A nearby tyre repairer could be a few hundred miles away up here and depending on time of day not even open.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Just checked my manual and it says do not tow a trailer when using a temporary use spare tire.

Should have looked there first.

BTW: A nearby tyre repairer could be a few hundred miles away up here and depending on time of day not even open.
Mine gives little information.

Spare wheel*
The spare wheel (Temporary spare) is only intended for temporary use. Replace the spare wheel with a normal wheel as soon as possible. The car's handling may be altered by the use of the spare wheel. The correct tyre pressure for the spare wheel is stated in the tyre pressure table, see page 260.

Very poor imho.

John
 
Last edited:
Jul 18, 2017
7,738
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Just checked my manual and it says do not tow a trailer when using a temporary use spare tire.

Should have looked there first.

BTW: A nearby tyre repairer could be a few hundred miles away up here and depending on time of day not even open.
A bit of a blow if towing a caravan. With our Volvo S80 which came with a spacesaver I bought a full size wheel and it only just fitted into the well however raised the floor by about 2 inches.
On our current Jeep the normal tyres are 20", but the spare is only 18" however it has the same tread etc but is a different brand Kumho? It is a proper tyre otherwise.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The sad part is that some people cannot afford to pay to have the tyre replaced and will carry on using the space saver.
Imagine a young family saving up all year for their holiday, then to have a puncture on their way to their holiday destination and the tyre needs to be replaced. It could make a big hole in their holiday spending money and disappointed kids.
If it’s some types of 4WD then a minimum of two tyres may require to be changed depending on the tread depth difference between the tyres and the new one. Haldex seem reasonably tolerant, Subaru specify 1 mm overall difference between all four tyres. Luckily I converted my previous Subaru to full size spare and when I had a non repairable puncture the spare which was a part worn was okay to be matched with the other three tyres. So I only had to buy a new full size spare, keeping fingers crossed I did not have another non reparable puncture.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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A bit of a blow if towing a caravan. With our Volvo S80 which came with a spacesaver I bought a full size wheel and it only just fitted into the well however raised the floor by about 2 inches.
On our current Jeep the normal tyres are 20", but the spare is only 18" however it has the same tread etc but is a different brand Kumho? It is a proper tyre otherwise.
My Skoda Superb had a full diameter and width tyre but on a 16 inch rim. Whereas the OEM alloys were 17 inch rims. So the spare was still labelled 50 mph but given it was in all respects a standard rolling diameter and width I would have been happy to travel long distances on it if required.
 

macandy

BANNED
Jun 12, 2014
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I always take a full sized spare when towing.
Using the space saver towing can burn up the 4WD differential.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
I always take a full sized spare when towing.
Using the space saver towing can burn up the 4WD differential.
I hardly think that a car manufacturer would provide a space saver if it were likely to burn up a differential. After all he is responsible for his own product liability so he would have an obligation to inform the consumer under what conditions a space saver may cause damage to components of the transmission.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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I always take a full sized spare when towing.
Using the space saver towing can burn up the 4WD differential.
A differential will cope just fine with the speed/distance limits imposed on the use of a space-saver. Older 4x4 systems with no centre differential would suffer from wind-up in normal use.
 
May 11, 2021
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Surely then the same theory holds good even when not towing.
Towing will put more load on the differential, meaning higher operating temperature, meaning lower oil viscosity, meaning thinner oil film thickness, meaning possible reduced protection. Under these conditions, if the differential is also being asked to manage a constant speed difference between the axles then this is an additional load factor.
 
May 11, 2021
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I hardly think that a car manufacturer would provide a space saver if it were likely to burn up a differential. After all he is responsible for his own product liability so he would have an obligation to inform the consumer under what conditions a space saver may cause damage to components of the transmission.
Space saver wheels usually come with a maximum speed and/or distance warning (often presented on the wheel itself, as well as in the user manual), no doubt at least in part to minimise the impact of wheel speed difference.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Towing will put more load on the differential, meaning higher operating temperature, meaning lower oil viscosity, meaning thinner oil film thickness, meaning possible reduced protection. Under these conditions, if the differential is also being asked to manage a constant speed difference between the axles then this is an additional load factor.
If such conditions were to lead to possible premature failure of vehicle components then it's the manufacturer's responsibility to issue an appropriate warning.

Space saver wheels usually come with a maximum speed and/or distance warning (often presented on the wheel itself, as well as in the user manual), no doubt at least in part to minimise the impact of wheel speed difference.
The restrictions applicable to space savers are based on the limited durability and less favourable vehicle handling characteristics of the much slimmer space saver compared with those of a full size wheel. They therefore apply equally to vehicles with two and four wheel drive.
 

macandy

BANNED
Jun 12, 2014
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Honda do not approve of towing on the space saver tyre, not will a dealer fit one new tyre on an axle when the vehicle is in warranty. The CRV has a fluid AWD clutch that will slip if an asymmetric load is put on it, causing it to overheat in a sustained unbalanced load situation.
The space saver is to get the tow car to a tyre depot, not the caravan too. Moot point now they have stopped fitting space savers.
 
May 11, 2021
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If such conditions were to lead to possible premature failure of vehicle components then it's the manufacturer's responsibility to issue an appropriate warning.
They do (as I outlined).
The restrictions applicable to space savers are based on the limited durability and less favourable vehicle handling characteristics of the much slimmer space saver compared with those of a full size wheel. They therefore apply equally to vehicles with two and four wheel drive.
As I said, the differential issue will be one of the factors influencing the warning - others are also important (as you describe). All cars have some kind of differential which will work harder if mismatched wheels are fitted. Keeping the speed down (as per the space saver warning) will mitigate this and other risks.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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There is no point in quoting what the instructions are for one particular model, becasue what might apply to your model may not apply or something different might apply for other vehicles. There is no universal set of instructions.

In all cases you should refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the model vehicle you are driving.
 

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