If you have had a flat tyre and have fitted a space saver wheel what must you do? If you have had a flat tyre and have fitted a space saver wheel what must you do?

  • A. Drive at 80km/h (or the speed denoted on the wheel) or less to a place you can fix the tyre as soon as possible

  • B. Drive up to 300km if the weather is fine

  • C. Lower the pressure in the other tyres

  • D. Put your hazard warning lights on while you are driving

    The correct answer is A
    Space saver wheels are not as robust as normal tyres, have much less grip and also force your differential to work harder because they are smaller than normal wheels

Driving on a space saver wheel

If you have a flat tyre and you are using your space saver wheel (also called a temporary use spare tyre or TUST) here are the guidelines:

You must not exceed 80kph (or less if there is a sticker on your space saver indicating the maximum speed is less). This is for dry weather driving; in the wet, go slower.

You must go directly to a place where you can fix your tyre (preferably less than 80km away, but some space savers will say that up to 500km is OK if there is no other option).

If your flat tyre is on the front, and your car is front-wheel drive, swap one of the rear wheels to the front and put the space saver on the rear - this is because the front of the car is used for steering, braking and acceleration and therefore it needs the best rubber at the front.

If you have a rear-wheel drive car with a limited-slip differential, you risk damaging your differential if you put the space saver on the rear. Put it on the front and drive more slowly than the 80kph limit, especially in the rain.

If your car is a standard rear-wheel drive car, the space saver should still go on the rear but be aware that you will wheelspin much more easily.

Never fit more than one space saver to a vehicle.

Driving with a space saver can reduce your cornering grip between 10-15%.

Keeping control under emergency braking and swerving becomes much more difficult.

Changing your wheel to a space saver

As cars only come with one jack, if you don't have an axle stand or other way to jack up both the front and back of your car at the same time your process for changing a flat front tyre will be:

  1. Put the handbrake on and preferably chock one of the wheels on the other side of the car to stop it moving.
  2. Jack up the rear of the car and take the good tyre off and replace it with the space saver. If you don't put the handbrake on the wheel will turn while you are trying to undo the lug nuts. If you're using directional tyres you must take the rear tyre from the same side as the flat front.
  3. Tighten up the lug nuts, but be careful not to over-tighten them.
  4. Lower the car then jack up the front. You might have to move the chock on the other side of the car.
  5. Take the flat front tyre off and replace it with the rear tyre. 
  6. Tighten up the lug nuts and, again, take care not to over-tighten them.

Replacing your tyre

If you live in a rural area where the road surfaces tend to be more coarse your space saver will not last as long. Rural tyre shops also may not carry the full range of tyres that city tyre shops do, and travelling distances will be further. This is why it's important that you contact a tyre shop as soon as possible to get a replacement tyre.

You can also carry a can of tyre sealant as well as a space saver as you might be able to use this on your original tyre which will give you another 50-80km of travel if you have to travel that kind of distance to get to a tyre shop. Tyre sealant comes in a pressurised can which you connect to the valve of your flat tyre. It inflates the tyre with a foam that temporarily seals the puncture (long enough for you to get to a tyre repair shop).

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