Edmunds Answers



  • karjunkie 07/18/10 2:51 pm PST

    If the nail is in the tread area and away from the side wall you are safe to drive. However, trusting that the tire will not go flat for 150 miles is a stretch. Perhaps you can have them plug the tire along the way? Remember that even if it holds air well now, at highway speeds it may not and possibly cause additional damage to the tire.

  • morin2 07/18/10 3:29 pm PST

    This is the problem with the ridiculous donut spares with which modern cars come equipped. They are such "limited" use that they are nearly worthless. I agree with karjunkie about trying to get your tire repaired en route. Once you return from your trip, look into getting a real full-size matching spare wheel and tire. I have full-size spares for our 4 cars (the truck uses a full-size), having bought matching wheels on ebay and tires locally and storing them in a garage out of the sun.

  • isellhondas 07/18/10 4:01 pm PST

    I disagree. Modern compact spares actually work quite well. They can be driven up to 150 miles which is a lot farther than most people would need to drive.

    They are used not to save money but to save space. Flat tires are a fairly rare occurance thses days but they can happen.

    And, I would not get it "plugged". That isn't a good method of fixing a flat. Have them dismount it and patch it from the inside the right way.

    And, I wouldn't be afraid to drive on it just keep your speed resnoble and, yes, if you see a tire shop, pull in and have them repair it.

  • morin2 07/18/10 5:20 pm PST

    The OP has a 300 mile roundtrip - so he would max out the entire use of 2 of these donut spares.
    The real savings to the manufacturer is certainly not space - it is reduced weight, which helps to reduce fuel economy in theory, to a tiny degree. The spare wells are designed to accomodate the donuts - but they could just as easily be designed to hold full-size spares. The speed limit on a donut is 45 mph - which will get a person run over on many highways. I am sometimes passed by irresponsible people driving 70 or more and fishtailing all over the road with the donuts.

    The donut is ok in an emergency to limp home a few miles, but not for sustained high speed long distance.

    And I've plugged dozens of tires and never had a plug fail. I still carry a plug kit with me for emergency use, and though flats are far less common on-road, they are just as common as ever in trail use. A properly plugged tire is a safer tire than a donut any way you slice it.

    I eagerly await your next thumbs-down.

  • jwilliams2 07/18/10 8:15 pm PST

    A full size spare would be a strong selling point for me. But they are really rare in cars.

    However, I would disagree on the plug if it's the type inserted from the outside. You may have been lucky not to have a problem, but many of these plugs allow air to seep into the casing possibly causing a catostrophic failure somewhere down the road.

    The only responsible way to repair a tire is to dismount, check for casing damage, then use a combo patch from the inside.

  • the_big_al 07/23/10 1:36 pm PST

    Most answers given so far are good. Listening to anyone will probably not cause catastrophic harm... I would be hesitant to drive 150 miles KNOWING that I have a nail in the tire, but check the tire pressure and see how low it is. If it is REAL low, like 10 PSI below the recommended pressure, then the tire is losing air and I wouldn't want to be at highway speeds when it loses all air pressure. If it isn't then you should be okay as the it is the nail that is actually sealing the hole.

    I would have it repaired asap. You can use the donut for your trip; they are more durable than the warnings plastered all over it. I wouldn't go 70MPH with it, but you can use it. I would however just use the regular tire with the nail in it and pull over frequently to check air pressure and if I found a tire shop along the way that can repair it, I would do that.

    Make sure they will pull the tire off the rim and use a plug/patch from the inside. This will ensure that the hole is seal, not only from air leakage, but the plug will also keep water from penetrating the several layers of tread and belts and potentially causing the tread to separate from the casing. You can also use the an "emergency" plug kit that you stick a thick string of sticky plug stuff in from the outside, but treat it like the donut. Temporary use only. First chance you get, get it properly repaired. The shop may not like that plug you used, but if they do their job right, it won't really get in the way they will cut and drill it out anyway in the process of repairing the tire.


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