30th Dec 2009, 15:15

I thought space saver tyres were just another corner-cutting measure. Until someone asked me, "What would you rather your 65 year old mother lift out of the luggage compartment if she had a flat, outside cellphone coverage?"

Thought about it, and he was right -- I'm 6' tall and don't find it easy lifting a 16" alloy wheel with 195-size tyre out of the floor of the luggage compartment. They aren't light.

Fortunately I don't think I have any more than one flat every two years. Donut tyres do serve a good purpose, but by all means, buy a full-sized spare if you need one.

2nd Jan 2010, 01:18

Thank you for your comments. I clearly don't live in New York or 50km from a service station. Try driving over 100km on a space saver with 4 people in the car. Dangerous, Dangerous, Dangerous. As for Grannies who need to change tires, get real.

7th Apr 2010, 23:40

I once had to put about 100 miles on a space saver tire, and I had no problems. I wouldn't do this normally, but I had to do what I had to do. They are not unsafe when used the way they are meant to be used. Drive in a safe and steady manner. Also miles are a lot longer than KMs that most other countries use, so 100KM would be no problem, unless you're driving in snow or mud.

8th Apr 2010, 14:19

"As for Grannies who need to change tires, get real."

That IS real. If you have the need for a full spare, go get one -- but don't berate other people who aren't in YOUR situation and are being served perfectly well by those space savers.

Clearly if it was useless, they wouldn't be making them anymore?

8th Apr 2010, 17:10

Every car I've ever owned has come with a space saver spare tire. I had to use them occasionally, but never used one for an extended period. I think they are an excellent idea for compact to mid-size cars. They do exactly what their name says: save space. That's more space for your passengers and cargo. And, they're lighter than a full size spare, which means you will use less gas.

They can be very dangerous, but only if you think you can continue driving as you would with a normal size tire. The directions on how to drive with one are right on the sidewall: DO NOT EXCEED 55 MPH. Also, if you can, try to avoid using the space saver on your car's drive wheels, as it can damage the differential.

26th Jul 2010, 04:18

I had to laugh at this "review"

Space saver, when was the last time you changed a tyre? My car still has an unused spare at 6 years old. No electric windows in the back, who opens their back windows? It's one less thing to break, and you can always buy an up-spec model if you must have them. Hand brake on the wrong side - well I have to give you that one, but really, at least the Focus has a usable handbrake, driven a VE Commodore lately?

Black door handles on a black car, would you rather have red door handles?

Still if that was all the bad you could say about a Focus then I must conclude it's a good car, thanks for an amusing read.

3rd Dec 2010, 22:44

"They are not unsafe when used the way they are meant to be used. Drive in a safe and steady manner."

That is open to argument. Wait until you get into a swerve and recover manoeuvre. The massively reduced roadholding of a space saver tyre really does come into play then. It's not all about sticking to an absolute maximum speed of 80 km/h/50mph. Then look at the increased braking distance in terms of having to avoid an unforeseen situation, i.e avoiding a pedestrian, or an animal. A difference of 3 metres can mean accident avoidance or a shunt.

As for someone, not only grandparents, or anyone with back issues, if there is an issue with lifting a full size spare wheel out of the luggage area, the same issue remains of lifting the flat full size wheel into the same area! That is, of course, if your spare wheel well is able to fit a full size spare tyre! So many can't these days. Therefore, where do you put your flat tyre, if you can't suitably fit it into the wheel well?

Also remember, that when the space saver wheel's tyre itself is due for replacement, it's nigh on impossible to source the right size and rating, and the few that are commercially available are around $500 each. How is that a cost saving over a conventional tyre? That's dearer than many high line offerings by Pirelli and Bridgestone! Not to mention the massive reduction in performance.

Touch wood, it's great to know that there's people that haven't had to use their spare tyre in a long, long time. But, remember - it's when you DO need it, that everything comes into play. Think about it.

Safe driving everyone.

Thomas :-)

4th Dec 2010, 19:23

That is why you should have AAA, especially when you get older and these things become too difficult to do. So worth the price! Also as far as safety. These tires are meant to be driven from where you had the blowout to the tire shop for a replacement. They are in no way intended for you to cruise around on for weeks on end until you find it convenient to get your tire fixed. They are merely there to keep you from being stranded.

I've seen so many people driving 80 or more with these tires on the front of their cars. Just a cartwheel act down the highway to certain death waiting to happen!

10th Jan 2011, 16:45

I totally agree, but look at it this way: People stupid enough to drive like that with a space saver spare are probably stupid enough to kill themselves early in some other really dumb act. That will remove them from the gene pool, and help keep their kind from continuing to evolve. There is actually an award called the "Darwin Award" for such people.

9th Mar 2012, 01:37

As a tow truck driver working for a CAA (Canadian version of AAA), I change flat tires CONSTANTLY (perhaps my most hated call :) ). It is extremely rare for a car not to have the space saver doughnut/donut spare. Pickups have a regular spare, but they often either won't come off or are too rusty to use (mini vans have space saver spares underneath, but often they will not come off or are too corroded as well).

I have seen TWO Toyotas however from the early 2000's that had full size regular tires that had no speed or distance restrictions (they were a Camry and a Celica).

I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that the space saver spares are supposedly good for 3000 miles. Most of the spares I pull out of peoples trunks or under vans are neglected and have no air in them. They are supposed to have 60 psi usually, but often don't have 20 in them. Luckily I have air on my truck, so this is not usually an issue, but if I didn't, I would be towing it.

These tires are there to get you off the side of the highway and not much more, but are incredibly strong. I once towed an Impala that had hit a curb and blew the tire. The owner had the spare installed, but no one noticed that the tie rod was bent. She drove several hundred km with the spare scrubbing sideways, as the bent steering severely affected the alignment, and the good tire on the other side tracked straight, forcing the doughnut to scrub all the way home. I was shocked that the tire still held air, and was amazed at how tough the little tire was! It was of course junk after the abuse it took, but I guarantee a regular tire would have exploded in 15 miles.