I have often considered how to use those mini-tires for some application. Mostly a light trailer. It seems so wasteful.
If I was running a vehicle on a short run, on a lightly used gravel back road, I would do it. Low speed, no emergency handling or braking required. Okay.
On a major high-speed thoroughfare, this would be manifestly dangerous and quite frankly unethical. On these roads, you need the engineered handling and braking of full-size tires. Driving is the most dangerous thing that most of us do. It's not cool to add risk for yourself or those around you.
Your insurance company would surely have a collective aneurysm, and probably deny coverage if something, anything at all, went wrong. Bye bye liability insurance. One spare, okay; four spares, violation of contract.
I'm sure law enforcement would pull you over, issue tickets and impound your vehicle if you tried this on a major public road. Helpful citizens with cell phones would not be your allies.
End of reality check/wet blanket. Despite this, I get it: free tires. Maybe on a light trailer?
I live in Kentucky. I've seen it. Not just once or twice, either. I must say, one of the most ironic things I've ever seen was a vehicle left on the side of the road, due to a flat tire, when all four tires were "donut" spares!
Those tires really are the bare minimum it takes to roll a vehicle. They are not steel-belted, nor are they even radials. And the tread is abominable on pretty much all I've seen. They are easily punctured. I'm not sure if they can be balanced, even. I'd say they would work on a yard trailer or cart, but you would need the heavy hubs and axle to mount them. I wouldn't trust them even on a trailer to take out on the farm. I've had enough flat tires on heavy duty tires to last me a lifetime. But then if they're free or dirt cheap, on the farm I guess I could just drag it to the house flat and just replace it rather than fix it. Hmmm....
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I'll back the concern about liability. It's one thing to kill yourself, but how would you feel if you killed someone else?
That said, the desire to find a useful way to put the tires (which are a fire risk among other environmental baddies) to good use, is totally admirable. It's a light tire on a heavy rim, so things like bike trailers seem out, but would you consider changing the title of this thread (there's a button to the right of the title that allows you to do so) to something like - What are some great, creative and safe uses for a surplus of temporary spare tires? I bet that would generate some great ideas.
Let me lean into other ways to use them.
I think you could mount them on a 4" PVC axle by using toilet flanges, for use on a yard cart.
I have used full sized tires this way to create a stable but movable post for things like volley ball or clotheslines.
I'm with Jordan. (we also own a mechanic shop, I don't claim to know it all but I know a few things). They are the bare minimum of what can be defined as a tire, and you can't expect them to act like a real tire in terms of endurance and safety.
That said, if it were a farm vehicle or something I was just using around my property, why not? A cart that goes SLOW for shortish distances, sure. But if it had to go out on the street farther than a block or two at any speed faster than I could walk, I wouldn't, for the reasons above.
(in recent years, full-size spare tires are more common, because IMHO you can't even trust a donut to get you far enough to get fixed)
Ive never used a donut spare so am not speaking from experience. But they might hold up for a lightweight vehicle. I’d love to have them for around the farm. Even better might be on a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) but that might not be legal or safe. I wish NEV’s were legal in my town and had caught on with drivers.
I've built a number of utility trailers and use auto spares (a.k.a 'donuts') regularly.
My latest find was a new pair of T135/90R16's Continental (made in Germany) .. for $10 each
These are from a 2001-04 Nissan Altima with the same 5x4.5 bolt pattern as most medium single axle trailers.
60 PSI radial w/steel plys
On the sidewall is '102M'. The 102 is load index - which translates to: 1,874 lbs capacity.
The 'M' is the speed rating - and the above Continental tire is DOT approved for speeds up to 81 mph.
I'm also running a pair of Michelin radial donuts (from a 1996 Lincioln Town Car) on a smaller 8'x4' trailer - again 5x4.5 BC
I had a friend in college who eventually had to replace all 4 of his tires with the doughnut spare tires. He drove those tires well over the rated speed limit and well past the rated mileage. Eventually, through a combination of wear, tear and some questionable driving practices on hilly roads he ended up in a ditch where he sheared off all 4 of the tires! Personally I thought he was crazy and I would not recommend it.
That is actually a really good idea that I had not thought of. I have never been a fan of the doughnut tire and even though I have never had to use one, I am always skeptical about their physical intgrity.
I used to put 50,000 miles a year on my vehicle. ....mostly on interstate. It doesn't take too much of an imagination to consider putting a donut on a car and then letting ones mind wander about the need for a repair.
Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. Mark Twain
.... I am always skeptical about their physical intgrity.
I doubt the DOT would allow usage if the spare tires were susceptible to structural failure.
The "50 MPH" limit molded on the sidewall is primarily due to the dangers of high-speed driving on mismatched tires.
Mismatched tires on the drive axle can also raise havoc with the differential gears.
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