My space saver spare wheel is only 16 inches but my wheels are 18 inches - is it safe to use on the driven wheels?

I have a Mini Clubman which has 18 inch alloys with low profile tyres. I have purchased a 16 inch space saver which I have been assured is suitable for use in case of emergency, even though the total diameter of the wheel and tyre is a lot smaller than the 18 inch alloy.

I can understand that it is all right to use for a short time on one of the rear wheels, but I am concerned that if I put it on one of the front driven wheels (even for a short time and driven sensibly) that it could damage the differential/gearbox. Are my fears justified or not?

Asked on 26 July 2023 by Paul Lockyear

Answered by David Ross
A space saver spare wheel should only be used in case of emergency and for the minimum distance possible until you can get the original tyre replaced.

Driving a long distance with the space saver on a driven wheel should be avoided - you can do this by swapping one of the rear wheels to the front - but it is important to remember that while the wheel size has a difference of two inches, the actual tyre diameter will be much closer. Your low profile 18-inch wheels have a low profile, while the space saver has a much bigger sidewall.
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