Locals reflect on tire troubles in fluctuating weather


Mackenzie Jones


Marshall University students are seeing more donuts going down the road, and unfortunately, they are not from Dunkin.’ Instead, these donuts are temporary spare tires.

With the fluctuations in weather, ranging this month from 27 degrees to upwards of 65, tires on student and faculties’ cars are also fluctuating from low to high in air pressure, and local tire shops are warning drivers that using a spare is not the best or safest option.

“Right now, we are seeing a lot of spares tires or donuts on cars, mainly because they’re leaking air from the cold and drivers just put their spare on for a quick fix. But they really need to be cautious with this” said tire technician John Ray Vance. “A lot of drivers don’t realize there are restrictions on your spare tire, they’re rated to go a maximum speed of 50mph, any faster you’re at risk of busting the rim off the car, because they are such small or thin tires and rims.

“There’s also a risk with how long you drive on the tire itself,” Vance said. “Generally, they will only last about a month of continuous driving before they go bald. They’re only made to be a backup tire to get somewhere to buy a new tire, not a permanent fix to needing a new tire.”

With all information considered, some Marshall students said they are going to continue driving on their spare until they have to get something else.

“It’s hard trying to find the money to get another tire for my car or have the daily fight of putting air in the tire every day” Lauren Madison, a Marshall student, said. “But now that I know it’s pretty dangerous, well way more than I actually thought, I’ll put more effort into saving the money for a new one.”

Those in need of a true tire, or at no other option than to use a spare, actually be safer than some depending on the size, Vance said.

“There are cars out there that come with a full-size spare tire, it’s rare to see, but they exist,” Vance said. “If you have a full-size spare tire, they do tend to last a little longer and hold up more to a continuous drive than the smaller and cheaper spare tires. Most of the time, it’s just the cheapest tire you can find put on a regular rim. And truthfully that isn’t a bad option. It’s much better than the others.

“I always suggest to drivers who are looking to upgrade their spare and/or upgrade their peace of mind to save a ‘better old tire’ when they are getting new ones,” Vance said. “Then I suggest you go to a junk yard and find a rim that matches yours on your car in size and put that older tire on it. Keep it on you and your set when you’re in a pinch. Most of the time, they even fit where the old spare goes.”

Mackenzie Jones can be contacted at [email protected]