Can You Put a Spare Tire on the Front?

Often, while driving, you may experience a problem with one of the tires in your vehicle. In this case, having a spare or donut tire is necessary to avoid inconvenience.

While spare tires are a great addition to your vehicle, they are built to serve a temporal purpose and cannot be relied on as a full or permanent replacement.

Can you put a spare tire on the front? Their compatibility with your vehicle is less than 100%. You may experience some drivability issues (alignment & wheel issues) when driving on a donut instead of a normal tire.

Read on to understand your spare tire and how to utilize it properly.

can you put a spare tire on the front

Can you put a spare tire on the front?

The emergency spare tire may be used on the front end of your car. But it is not a safe option. Spare tire placement on your car’s front end would throw the balance off the hook. Most vehicles are built to have matching tires on each axle. This spec is particularly important to establish an effective braking system and ensure stability on each car’s front end. First, the donut and stock tires are of different sizes and weights. It can cause your car to appear tilted towards the position of the spare tire. You may also experience a drop in braking power – tires would require more time to come to a halt. Altogether, you wouldn’t be driving under the best conditions.

So, while a spare tire on the front can still get the job done (drive you to the nearest tire shop), it wouldn’t do so in the safest term.

Can you put a spare tire on the back? If you have no other option (i.e., where more than two tires are bad) than to use a spare tire on the front end or back, we advise you to drive more defensively and take fewer risks.

How to solve when the front tire becomes flat suddenly?

When your front tire becomes flat suddenly, your first line of action might be to replace the flat tire with a spare one. But as we’ve highlighted above, that might not be the best idea for driving maneuverability.

You can offset this imbalance by switching the rear tires to the front and replacing the rear tires with the donut tire. This way, the front-wheel drive has the required force needed in case of emergency braking.

Using a spare tire is an essential part of driving safety, providing a temporary solution to the problem of a flat tire. The choice of when to use a spare tire typically follows the instinctual need to ensure uninterrupted driving, especially over distances where service stations are scarce. The spare tire, a vital part of your vehicle’s backup parts, is set aside for these critical moments, ensuring that a flat tire doesn’t force you to stop for long periods.

The hardest decision often lies in determining the right moment to replace the flat tire with the spare, balancing the urgency against the safety of performing the replacement, especially if the flat occurs in a high-traffic area or under adverse conditions.

Thus, can you put a donut on the front tire? Here are some steps on how to put a spare tire on spare tire placement:

Put Spare Tire On Car You Tube
  • Park the car and apply the handbrakes
  • Secure the vehicle with wheel chocks
  • Loosen the wheel nuts and jack the car up
  • Remove the flat tire & the rear tire.
  • Place the rear tire at the front and replace the rear tire with a spare tire. It is best done simultaneously. Please request assistance.
  • Gently lower the car with the jack.
  • Tighten the bolts back in place and lower the car to the ground.
  • Park up the equipment and drive to the nearest tire shop for a replacement.

What are the limitations of spare tires?

With spare tires used in your car, you don’t get as much quality on the road as you would driving a regular tire. This limitation results from some pronounced differences between a spare tire and a regular one. 

For instance, a backup tire would have significantly less height and width than a normal tire. While this size difference helps the spare tire fit into the boot of your car, it can also impact the vehicle’s stability when used since both tires would not spin at the same rate. Thus, tires may shred quickly.

Another significant difference is the wheels. Most spare tires’ wheels are made of lightweight materials for easy installation. And as you would have guessed, this lightweight material would affect the rigidity and longevity when you install spare tire. As a result of these differences, using an extra tire may cause these limitation.

Reduced drivability

When driving with a spare tire, you will likely experience control issues like a longer braking time or difficulty making sharp turns. If you take a corner too fast, your car may easily slide out of control. In extreme situations, you may be unable to avoid a collision if you need to dodge an obstacle. You can reduce any of these happening by driving more safely.

Speed limit

The recommended speed limit is 50 mph. Anything over this can place your vehicle and its occupants at severe risk of an accident. Also, you can drive your spare tire for only 70 miles. 

If you drive over the recommended speed limit and miles, you place more constraints on the spare tire, which can cause it to explode while moving.

To be safe, consult your owner’s manual while buying a spare tire.

Can you get an alignment with a spare tire on?

The chances here are low. Generally, for you to achieve proper balance and alignment in your car, all tires are needed to be of equal pressure and size. These tires are usually shorter and narrower than factory-fitted tires. So, putting a spare tire on the car would cause alignment issues since one side would be higher than the other.

What’s the difference between a spare tire and a donut?

The difference between a spare tire and a donut tire is the size. Donut tires are usually significantly less in size to spare tires and lighter weighted. They are mostly used in smaller and mid-sized vehicles. For larger trucks and SUVs, spare tires are the only sustainable replacement.

spare tire on car

Note: You can also add a full-sized spare tire to your wheel. These spare tires are usually the same size as normal tires and would differ in size and weight from donut tires and regular tires.

How fast can a spare tire go?

The maximum speed on a spare tire, often referred to as a “donut” spare tire, is generally around 50 mph. This is because donut spare tires are typically smaller and less durable than regular tires, designed for temporary use until a proper tire can be repaired or replaced. Additionally, you should avoid driving long distances on a spare tire and check the specific recommendations from your vehicle’s manufacturer, as it can vary slightly.

What happens if you drive fast on a spare tire?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, a spare tire serves as a backup tire, and as such, it is not intended to be used like a normal tire. The spare tire contains very little thread, which is okay for short miles. However, when you drive fast on your spare tire (over 50mph), you place more stress on the spare tire, which can often lead to a flat tire or even a tire blowout in extreme situations. 

In a nutshell, driving fast on a spare tire would increase the risk of losing control of your vehicle, which can eventually lead to an accident. So, it is advisable to limit your spare tire use to below the recommended miles (70 miles) and speed limit (50mph).


Having a spare tire is a great addition to your vehicle but can you put a spare tire on the front? The spare tires are only as good as a temporary replacement. So, if you must use your spare time, ensure you drive more carefully as you locate the nearest tire shop.

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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