2001 Buick 20-year old spare tire... Hard to find!

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May 25, 2005
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Long story.... but basically repaired a family vehicle that has been sitting in a garage for many years. 2001 LeSabre with 125/70/16 temporary spare.

Checked the spare and found this - (See Pics)

Buick Spare Tire Bad_2022_001.jpg


Wow.... So... Called local Discount Tire shop and they say: "Hmmmm...we don't even carry those anymore. Have you thought about using a full size spare?"

Well.... First, the "well" the spare sits in won't allow a "full size" spare. Secondly, I messed around with different size calculations and still do see that it would fit.

Some owners apparent;y just buy a spare tire cover and lay the wheel/tire in the trunk. Looks nice, but takes up a bunch of space. I did manage to see that the Tire Rack still has two tires available to purchase. (Funny how DT does not.)

Am I crazy to go with the "new" 125-spare again...?
 

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Have Tire Rack check the age of the tires, I’d say go for it if they aren’t over 5 years old.
 
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Junkyard I agree with, its not like you can use it for any distance. Although I’d give thought to just rolling with no spare, get a flat and just have it flat bedded to a shop, the odds are low of needing to do that (otherwise you’d be making a full size fit into the trunk somehow ).
 
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down in the park
neither the rope or fix a flat is any use on a sidewall rip. But if just a puncture in the tread I'd go with

1) just pumping the tyre
2) rope
3) changing to spare tyre
4) flatbedding

in that order
 

Astro14

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Junkyard. It will be old but will get you home in case of a flat.
In all honesty, why would the junkyard one be any better than this one? Same age. Same storage conditions.

Put some air pressure in that junkyard tire, or the weight of a car, and it will likely end up just like this one.

If the OP wants something that will get him, or the owner, home, I would really go new.

Don’t bother with 20 year old tires.
 
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Is it YOUR money you'd be spending?
Buy a new one, if not.
People who don't maintain spares properly are the same people who "don't understand why my battery just failed" after 8 years. Makes no sense.
 
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Cincinnati, OH, USA
If you can get a decent aged new one, go that route. Or, if you're never going to be far from home, a full sized tire & steelie stashed in the garage, and carry a cell phone so somebody can bring it to you (or take you to get it). The "donuts" are a lousy compromise anyway, I actually carry TWO spares in the Express on a longer road trip-one under the hitch in the back, one inside.
 

Astro14

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A tire sitting in a climate controlled garage will fare better than one exposed to heat, UV, subzero temperatures or chemicals. The problem with a 20 year old junkyard tire is that it’s seen all of that exposure. It may look OK, but the chances it will blow apart under inflation pressure or the load of a car are too high to risk.

Many years ago, when I was the Deputy Commander, I used to park my 1990 Toyota 4 Runner in front of the squadron. Sailors notice details. One day, a sailor mentioned to me that the rear mounted spare tire, a Bridgestone Dueler that had never seen the road, was 12 years old and really not safe.

I took the truck to a local tire store that afternoon, and had them throw a new BFG All Terrain TA (which matched what I had on the truck at the time) on the spare wheel on the back.

They guys at the tire store said, basically, “Most people don’t worry about the spare”. Well, yeah. Most don’t.

But there were two issues here: first, was the safety of running an old tire that had been exposed to the elements and UV. Second, and more important, was the leadership role I played. I needed to both listen to my sailors and to set the example. I couldn’t ask them to follow Navy safety rules if my old truck, which they walked by every day, wasn’t exactly safe.

And I used that old truck pretty hard. Good tires matter. When I have needed the spare, I needed a good one, not some dry rotted ancient junk that would fail.

F623C13E-94E5-423C-B859-D0CEE751270E.jpeg


07967F0C-E690-4346-9740-D78B9F6FCA24.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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I'd find out if the bolt pattern is still the same, and get a newer one from a junkyard.. As long as it fits the hub, its diameter doesn't as much.. As long as the diameter is close to your original it should work for you. stick within 5 years for the best chances you have for quality.

In Comparison, 20 year old spare worked fine for 90 miles at 55 max. Had to call AAA because the kit was absolute garbage.
 
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No. That tire hasn’t been used. That’s what happens with 20 year old rubber. It degrades. It breaks apart.

I’ve seen unused tires that look that bad. You haven’t?
The donut in my '95 Buick looks great as well as the full size spare out of a 94 Mercedes although it's been indoors the last 10 years. Will check some of my 80's cars but as long as they hold air and don't have cracks or tread separation I'm fine with them. Not spending $100 on a $1,000 car for something I may never use, and if I do, for only a few hundred miles. Maybe if I lived in the middle of nowhere 20 miles from anybody, I'd think different.
 
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I have a car that take 125/80r13 tires from the factory

Nobody makes the small stuff anymore

Used to be you could pickup space saver sizes off tire rack

Now days the space savers are 18”+
 
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Jan 22, 2011
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In all honesty, why would the junkyard one be any better than this one? Same age. Same storage conditions.

Put some air pressure in that junkyard tire, or the weight of a car, and it will likely end up just like this one.

If the OP wants something that will get him, or the owner, home, I would really go new.

Don’t bother with 20 year old tires.
It likely will never get used and is meant for temporary use to get you home or to the service station. The junkyard tire will work fine for that.
Unfortunately, most never take the time to keep them properly inflated or they run them too long like a regular tire which I would bet one of those is what happened.
 

JGmazda

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May 25, 2005
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Arizona
No. That tire hasn’t been used. That’s what happens with 20 year old rubber. It degrades. It breaks apart.

I’ve seen unused tires that look that bad. You haven’t?
Correct. The spare was never used. The degradation you see is what I found when going over the car. Just sitting there in the trunk caused this. It's old and I'm sure 60psi had to get out somehow...
 
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