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Re: [Shop-talk] Maximum speed with a limited use spare

To: Jim Stone <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Maximum speed with a limited use spare
From: David Scheidt <>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2009 23:10:22 -0400
On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 10:16 PM, Jim Stone <> wrote:

> I am writing this from a hotel in Harrisburg, PA.  My wife and I are
> driving
> her BMW 323 to Eastern Long Island and had a flat tire today.  That isn't a
> big deal as we are close to needing new tires on the car anyway.  I will
> probably just order a new set from TireRack and have them delivered to
> where
> we are staying.  However, we still have 275 miles to our destination and
> the
> spare says not to exceed 50 MPH.  I am not sure which is more dangerous:
> exceeding the maximum speed on the tire or driving 50 on the NJ Turnpike
> and
> Long Island Expressway.  I assume the 50 MPH sticker on the tire is
> primarily
> there for liability protection.  Does anyone know what a reasonable safe
> speed
> would be with this tire?  I promise not to sue you if you are wrong.  The
> spare is on the rear, assuming that makes a difference.

Get the existing tire repaired, if you can.  If not, get a new one.  (Or a
used one, and get new ones later.  Or get two/four new ones in Harrisburg.
I suspect they sell tires there.  Even to fit BMWs.)
The spare will have a speed rating.  They're typically L (75 mph) or N (87
mph) rated.  But you don't want to drive 275 miles on a limited service
spare.  Even if you think you do, you don't.  And you probably wouldn't
manage, if you tried it at highway speed.

But, if you insist on driving on the donut, check the owners manual for
instructions.  It's quite possible that you have to do something to disable
traction control, stability control or the like.   Limited service spares
are very often not the same diameter as a regular tire, which adversely
effects such systems.  (And general handling.  )  Also follow the
instructions on the sidewall: they typically restrict speed and distance.

David Scheidt
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