The holy tire of spares.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

This past year I bought my wife a new Toyota Corolla four door sedan. A short time ago, late at night, my wife had a rear flat tire. Since she was unable to change the tire herself and could not find anyone to help her, she drove the car with the flat three miles to our home. The next morning, I took the flat tire to a repair shop and had the nail hole repaired. I'm now using this tire as a spare. Would it be safe to drive the car with this tire on it? Would it be OK for every day driving? Will I need to buy her another tire?

TOM: First of all, Herb, we want to commend your wife for doing absolutely the right thing. If you're not in a place where it's safe to change a tire, the best thing to do is to keep driving until you get someplace that is safe (like a gas station or your driveway). You may ruin a tire, or even a wheel, but that's a lot better than having your butt simonized by a speeding semi while trying to loosen your lug nuts in the break down lane.

RAY: And the tire she drove home on probably IS ruined. Damage was certainly done to the sidewall, so it really isn't safe for every day use.

TOM: In fact, it's probably not good to use it as a spare, either. A tire that's been damaged is unreliable. And you don't want your spare to be flat some day when you really need it.

RAY: So your wife was a genius for having the presence of mind to put her own safety and welfare ahead of her tire's. And you should recognize that genius and buy a brand new tire. If you're a cheapskate like my brother, and can't stand to throw anything away, then turn the old tire into a swing for the kids or a garden planter. That's all it's really good for at this point.

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