Is a space saver tyre the best choice for drivers in Brisbane?

Helping you make the best decision when buying a new tyre in Queensland

Some drivers we meet here in Brisbane love them. Some hate them. They’ve become very popular with vehicle manufacturers. I’m talking about space saver tyres – the temporary use tyres provided as the spare in many new vehicles. They are cheaper, more convenient, and, as their name suggests, take up less space in the trunk. But are they really good enough as a spare, or should you switch to a conventional spare tyre?

The advantages of space saver tyres

Tyre manufacturers first produced space saver tyres to use as spares for the smaller cars being made. And there are several advantages over normal-sized tyres. These include that they:

  • Take up less space and are lighter. Great for compact hatchbacks.
  • Are easier to change the tyre after a blowout, because they are lighter.
  • Leave more space for luggage.
  • Are better on fuel consumption, because they are lighter.

They are usually cheaper than a proper tyre, meaning you have fewer dollars tied up in an unused spare tyre. That’s a big benefit to those who drive luxury cars with expensive tyres.

However, there are some disadvantages, too.

The disadvantages of space saver tyres

If space saver tyres were only beneficial, everyone would like them. So, what are the disadvantages of space saver tyres?

  • First, they have a very limited life. You can only drive on them for around 400 to 500 kilometres.
  • You will also have to limit your speed. 80km/h is the maximum, meaning your journey will take longer than expected.
  • Steering and braking won’t be as good as on proper tyres. Emergency manoeuvres will be more difficult to make.
  • Finally, and one that many people don’t think about, the full-size tyre you remove may not fit into the space for the space saver tyre. That means juggling with your luggage, perhaps even needing passengers to travel with a suitcase on their laps until you get to the next tyre specialist.

Should you choose a space saver tyre as your spare?

If you’re buying a new car, you might be given the option of a space saver or a proper tyre as your spare. If you are switching out a space saver after a flat or tyre damage, you might be thinking about a full-size tyre as your spare. Before making your decision, here’s what you should think about:

Do you need extra room in your trunk?

If room is at a premium and luggage space is important, a space saver could give you the extra space you need.

What type of road do you drive on?

If you mostly drive on quiet roads that are well maintained, the potential handling issues of a space saver tyre are likely to be less of an issue than if most of your driving is done on busy roads full of potholes.

What distances do you drive?

If you plan to drive hundreds of kilometres, perhaps on a road trip or for work, you could find yourself a long way from a tyre specialist. If you are pressed for travel time, the need to drive more slowly on a space saver tyre could make you miss an important appointment.


Though we never recommend choosing your tyre based only on the cost of the tyre, affordability may be an issue – especially if you need to buy two tyres (one to replace the proper tyre, and one to replace the space saver).

Whichever tyres you buy, make sure you maintain your spare

Whichever type of tyre you own as a spare, don’t neglect it. Make sure it is inflated correctly before you go on a long journey. Take it out of its hiding place regularly to check that it is fit for purpose. When you bring your car in for a tyre change, I’ll know if you don’t check your tyres regularly.

If you need a new spare or want your tyres checked in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres today. We’ll be pleased to help you make the best decision for all your tyre needs, considering your vehicle, where you drive most, the type of driving you do, and your budget.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.