Did you ever wonder how much a SPARE TYRE REALLY IMPACT the acceleration, breaking and skidpad A CAR’S PERFORMANCE?
IN OUR MINDS, this was going to be a lot more exciting. Our plan to test a Ford Mustang GT with a space-saver spare tyre in place of the full-size rubber at one corner seemed not just imprudent but also stood in direct violation of the advice of the owner’s manual and our attorneys. Mom also weighed in against it.The manual was most explicit: “ . . . do not exceed 50 mph” it warned, with another warning on the diminutive donut. But we defied all that because we wanted to see how much emergency performance you can expect when your car is wearing a spare. Surely there would be fire—actual flames!—from the mini spare as we relentlessly circled the skidpad, reducing the donut to smouldering rubber in only two laps. If we weren’t handy with the extinguisher, the conflagration might just consume the entire Mustang in a matter of seconds. There would be explosions, air tankers, and rescue choppers. Monkeys and zombies would sprint to escape the inferno. Perhaps not, but you get the point. It was sure to make the typical cars-and-coffee Mustang debacle look like mere curb rash. In truth, we didn’t even need common sense to avoid catastrophe. Nor, in fact, will you. Because the most remarkable thing about driving a Mustang at its limit with a space saver spare on one corner is just how unremarkable it actually is. The T155/60R-18 Maxxis mini spare that Ford supplies as an option on Mustangs without the Performance pack absorbed the abuse with virtual indifference when inflated to the recommended 60 psi. That it produced handling and braking results very similar to the 255/40ZR-19 Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season tyre it replaced was as surprising as it was anticlimactic. There’s a lot more going on here than just a flat-tyre contingency plan: “The goal with a mini spare,” says Jamie Cullen, supervisor of Ford’s Vehicle Dynamics Team, “is to come as close to the standard tyre’s performance and response as possible. Mini spares use an aggressive compound and minimum tread depth to achieve those results.”