Why are a lot of spare tire wheels yellow?

Why are a lot of spare tire wheels painted a school bus yellow color? Is it limited to Japanese manufacturers?

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

It’s to remind you you’re running on the spare. Besides the fact that you don’t have a spare at that point if you flat again, those things aren’t designed for long life.

Those types of spare wheels aren’t designed for highway speeds. They are a dedicated spare and are just there to get you to a tire shop. My car is a Subaru Outback and has a full sized spare that is identical to the others.

Full size spares are pretty rare now for cars and SUVs. If you have run flat tires you may not get a spare at all. Run flats can go around 50 miles with no air.

It might also be a legal/safety requirement in one or more countries and it’s just easier for the manufacturer to paint them all.

I’ll take a cite on that. There’s no mistaking a doughnut for a normal wheel under any circumstances, regardless of color. I’m skeptical anyone has ever forgot they were driving on a spare.

Don’t under estimate humanity. Its an out site out of mind thing. If you have yellow one its a visual reminder everytime you get into your car. And people bring it up when they see you and say “You still riding around on that?”.

I just like how the replies at the first link were about painting it to “look much better.” Dude, if you’re worried about how your temporary spare wheel looks, you need to rethink your priorities.

“Because space saver tyres come on a conspicuous skinny wheel, often painted bright yellow or orange, they prompt car owners to rectify the flat tyre and return the space saver to the boot. When a full-size spare replaces a flat, the flat often stays in the boot long-term … leaving you stranded the next time you have a flat tyre.”

Thanks. Guess I was spelling tyre wrong.

The color “yellow” is pretty much the Universal Code for “caution”.

Depends if your car has a boot or not.

About or not what?


This x 100. Really? Your worried about the color of the wheel of the spare tire? Something that you will likely never use? Just how bored can a person possibly be?

Sorry but I’m with the others on this. I once helped a colleague change a flat in the parking lot after work. We put on the (black painted) mini-spare and I reminded her it was only designed for temporarily use and she needed to get her full-sized tire back on as soon as she could.

I ran into her about a month later and asked how much it cost to fix her tire. She gave me a blank look and then told me she’d completely forgotten about it. She’d been driving on the mini since then.

I drove on one for a day (obsessing the entire time about getting to the tire shop ASAP) and on city streets there was no noticeable difference in handling or ride. It’s easy to forget about.

I’d agree that the vast majority of people don’t need the visual reminder, but safety features are usually targeted at the minority of people.

I recently saw a car that looked just plain weird. On closer inspection, the car had four donut spares. Is that a thing?

Was Annie Lennox driving?

The ugly yellow color is there to remind the driver that he or she is driving on a spare tire and it encourages that driver to get their tire fixed.

Right, those temporary spares are designed to get you off the highway and into a repair shop. They are typically designed for a maximum speed (like 50 mph), loading weight, and distance (like 50 miles). The restrictions are usually embossed on the sidewall.

They are usually thinner with high air pressure, so they ride like crap and don’t handle well. Often they are a slightly different diameter than the full-size tires, so extended use can damage your transmission, especially in an all-wheel drive vehicle like a Subaru.

So it’s probably a good idea to make it as clear as possible that they’re not a permanent replacement.

All of this reminds me of the person who passed me on the highway a few months ago at 80 mph in a fully-loaded minivan with a temporary spare. :roll_eyes:

Maybe this is something for a different thread, and I’m not disparaging JNGLMASSIV, but I wonder how much of our perception of the possible is skewed by our place in life. I agree that I wouldn’t forget that I was driving on a spare and would replace it as soon as possible, but when I was a poor young man, I couldn’t do that financially with tires running $100 and not necessarily being able to give up my transportation for a couple of hours for a repair. I can see having an "“Ï’ll get to it eventually attitude”, “It works for now” attitude as a young poor guy and potentially forgetting about it–especially if its on the passenger side and/or during winter.