What is a dock and how to drive it

How long you can drive on a “dokatka”

In order to reduce costs for the sake of profit many automakers have stopped putting in trunks of their cars full-featured “spare parts”. Their place is taken by the so called half-wheels – “dokatkas”, allowing to get to the nearest tire fitting shop. But what if there is not a soul for the nearest 100 kilometers? How long you can ride on a crutch-wheel, AvtoVzgliad found out.

“Dokatka” instead of a full-fledged spare tire is not uncommon today. This way the car makers reduce their costs and increase profits. On the other hand, a “dokatka” is less weight and smaller size. And to reach tire fitting shop with such wheel-crutch is more than enough. But there are situations when it is necessary to drive more than one hundred kilometers to a repair shop.

And here, many motorists ask a question: how much you can ride on a “dokatku”, so it would be safe?


To begin with, let’s understand what a “dokatku” is. And this is actually a spare wheel, but the size of the stamped disc and the tire itself, put on it, different from the working wheels installed on the car. You can find a “dokatku” in the models of European automakers. They may have a repair kit instead of any spare wheel. The same can’t be said about Asian brands. They complete their cars with full-fledged “spare disk”, that is much more preferable at our latitudes and with our quality of a road way.

However, no matter what spare wheel is, it is always summer. If your car has a punctured one wheel, and it needs repair, then any wheel in the trunk (unless, of course, you change it for the winter) is a “spare. Believe me, it is not difficult for you to see the difference in car’s behavior with three winter wheels and one summer one, whatever the level of your driving skills is. Actually, therefore it is recommended to install “dokatku” on rear axle. And this rule is categorical in winter, even despite the fact, that you will have to make troubles, throwing wheels from front to rear.

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And now let’s speak about how long you may drive with a “dokatku”. Let’s firstly have a closer look at it. Skinny underwheel has a smaller traction area in the tire’s contact patch with the road; other, not at all effective tread; “dokatku” is not as strong as a regular tire, and rather quickly wear out (again, the economy).

All these shortcomings, of course, affect the controllability, and the consumption, and reduced braking efficiency, and negatively affect the suspension of the car, and most importantly, the safety of both the driver and other road users. And that’s why on a wheel-crutch is always written the speed at which it is allowed to use. As a rule it is 50-80 km / h. Which is quite enough to get to the nearest service station.

As for distances, if you follow the rules of safe use of the “dokatka” it is possible to drive more than a dozen, and even if the situation requires it, a hundred kilometers. However, you should always keep an eye on the condition of the wheel, avoid exceeding the speed limit, indicated on it, not to drive recklessly and remember that this skinny wheel in your trunk is only for temporary use.

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However, the most optimal variant is to replace “dokatku” by the full-fledged spare wheel. In this case the driver will have much less headache. The main thing, when changing rubber, do not forget to include the “spare” in rotation, so that it did not turn out that four wheels on your car are worn and worn, and what is in the trunk – in perfect condition.

What is a spare tire – why do you need a spare tire for your car

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

The set of any modern car includes many different items that can come in handy when the situation requires the driver to take emergency measures. Thus, in the trunk of the car must be a tow rope (on its selection is told here ) and a set of tools (what it should include, described in a separate review ).

One more important element which can help in emergency situation is a spare wheel. With its help the driver will avoid additional expenses for vehicle evacuation with a specially equipped tow truck.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

Let’s consider the difference between a classic wheel and a dock, as well as how the spare is used in the case of certain types of cars.

What is a wheel cage?

A spare wheel is the same as a spare tire, but in this case the manufacturer has taken care of saving space in the trunk of the car. It is a small wheel, which is made of steel. Its size is chosen depending on the size and diameter of the wheels used.

Sometimes the jacking wheel uses lightweight materials, and it looks like a full-size disc type mounted on an axle. But more often than not, this disc is smaller, saving space in the trunk when the wheel is not in use.

Why do you need one?

No experienced driver ever thinks about the need for a spare tire. It is not nice when the tire is punctured, and further movement is impossible because there is nothing to replace the ruined wheel. Some motorists keep in their toolkit a special repair kit in case of a puncture (they are called tire laces). But not always this kit can save.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

For example, with its help, only a puncture is eliminated, but a cut or deformation of the disc on the road can not be repaired in any way. For this reason, the emergency kit must necessarily include a spare. Replacing a wheel does not take much time, of course, if the car is equipped with a jack.

When a wheel breaks down, it is replaced by a spare, which will allow you to get to the nearest tire fitting shop. In some situations, the tire can be completely ruined (the motorist did not notice the puncture, and drove some distance, because of which the rubber is simply cut by the disc), and a pre-prepared spare will allow you to freely drive to the store.

History of origin

When the first cars appeared, there was a need for such an element as a spare tire. By the way, this idea was popular also in cycling, when the cyclist participated in competitions with two spare tires on his side.

The reason why automakers equipped their products with a spare was because of poor roads. More often than not, vehicles traveled on unpaved or rutted pavement. It was not uncommon for such pavement to contain various sharp objects, such as nails or metal particles.

A pioneer in the use of spare tires on vehicles was the American company Thomas B. Jeffrey. Despite the fact that it lasted only fourteen years (1902-16ygs.), various vehicles, and especially models Rambler, enjoyed great popularity.

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What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

Operation of those vehicles was made easy by the fact that a punctured tire could be replaced in a matter of minutes. The work was so simple that even a novice could cope with the task. If the motorist knew how to repair a tire, he could do it in a quiet home environment, instead of sitting on the curb.

This idea was adopted by other automakers as well. For this reason, a car with one, or in some cases even two, spare tires was commonplace. Initially, the spare was fixed on the sides of the engine compartment.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

Subsequently, for convenience in access to the underhood space, as well as for reasons in improving aerodynamics, this element was moved to the outside of the body from the side of the trunk. When World War II took place, spare tires could not be used in the United States because the country was experiencing a shortage of rubber.

The difference from a regular tire

Today, every car or truck is equipped with one or more spare wheels for emergencies. The set may include the standard size wheels (especially important for trucks, because a puncture or blowout often occurs during the transportation of goods) or an analogue, but having a reduced size in width.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

A normal spare and a dockette has a standard disc diameter for a particular vehicle. The difference between the two items is as follows:

  1. The standard wheel has a weight identical to the other wheels that are mounted on the car. A wheel cushion will be lighter. Some motorists consciously do not take the spare to the road to save a little on fuel – no one needs an extra 20-30 kg on the road.
  2. In addition to weight wheels have smaller dimensions in comparison with their regular counterparts.
  3. Standard wheel and tire are made of better quality materials, so the cost of equalization is much less.
  4. The tyre is used only in emergencies, while the standard wheel can be used for a long time. In addition, during the use of a lightweight spare, the driver must control the permissible speed of the vehicle.
  5. The lightweight spare is fitted with a lower quality rubber compared to the classic wheel.

How to choose a spare

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

Before you purchase this product, you should consider a few subtleties:

  1. Usually, the dokatka is created for a specific model of car;
  2. Since the spare will be used only as an emergency element, the first thing to consider is not the quality of the product, but its dimensions. If the motorist plans to purchase a modification that will have a long service life, it is better to stop at the regular wheel.
  3. If non-standard discs are installed on the car, for example, under low-profile rubber, the radius of the dockab can differ from the used element by not more than one inch. For example, if an R14 disc is installed on the axle, you can buy a spare with a radius of 15 or 13 inches.
  4. As for rubber – it is better to buy all-season than summer/winter. Otherwise it will be an additional expense. Of course, the tread in such a tire will be different from the pattern on the other wheels, so the spare should be used only for short distances and with respect to safety requirements.
  5. In addition to the reduced spare, the driver must take care to always have a suitable pump in the car. Since the width of the rubber in this product is almost half the width of the standard, the wheel should be heavily inflated. Basically, the pressure in the tire should be at four atmospheres.
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Where to place the spare tire?

The spare tire is placed in a specially designed for this niche in the trunk of the car or under the bottom. It depends on the design of the vehicle itself. In some cases, the spare tire is placed vertically in the back of the car. This applies to some models of buses and vans.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

If the car has a special recess for the spare, it is practical to use this option. In this case, the wheel will not be damaged if sharp objects are carried in the trunk. The exception is a vehicle equipped with HBO (the system is considered in detail in another article ). Most often, the gas tank is in the form of a tablet and is installed in place of the spare.

In these cars is practical to use it dokatku. This element will occupy less volume of a trunk than a full analogue.

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Here are some tips from the experts:

  1. Diameter and razoltatska dokatku should correspond to a set of wheels, which are used in the vehicle;
  2. If it is possible to choose a higher-quality rubber, it is better to stop on this option, because the cheap product has a small working life;
  3. On the disc of each repair wheel are marked restrictions, which the driver is obliged to observe;
  4. If the car has a set of titanium or similar discs with thick spokes, extended bolts are used to mount them. Standard wheel bolts should be purchased for the spare, and keep them near the repair wheel itself so they don’t get lost;
  5. Periodically, you should check to see if the tire pressure is correct, especially with the onset of cold weather.
  6. Ideally, it is better to purchase a product designed for the specific vehicle.

Can I use the spare on a permanent basis?

This is the question asked by those who are confronted with the concept of a spare tire for the first time. On this point, the tire fitting specialists have a unified opinion: the lightweight spare can not be used as a full-fledged wheel.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

The peculiarity of the temporary element is a simpler design of the tire, as well as the disk itself. On such a wheel you can drive only short distances, as well as with the restriction of speed. When installing a spare wheel, the control of the vehicle is impaired.

Lap wheel or spare tire: what is better, pros and cons

Before you switch from the classic spare to a lightweight spare wheel, it is worth weighing the pros and cons of this analogue. Here are the arguments in favor of using a spare wheel:

  • The very first thing that owners of vehicles equipped with gas equipment pay attention to is the small size of the spare wheel. It is narrower than a standard wheel. The free space the motorist can use to store other items he rarely uses.
  • A variant with a small radius deviation is allowed.
  • Some wheels are half the weight of conventional spare tires.
  • For the manufacture of such repair elements, lower quality materials are used, as well as a simpler design. This affects the cost of the product.
  • A dolly is easier and cheaper to repair.
  • Due to the lightweight design, the repair wheel is easier to install on the axle.

Despite the aforementioned advantages, the dolly has some decent minuses:

  1. The level of safety while riding on such a wheel is reduced. This is due to the width of the rubber. A thin tire is not able to provide proper traction with the road surface, due to which the car to some extent loses control. In case of an emergency stop the braking distance is noticeably longer. In wet weather, there is a risk of aquaplaning (to combat this effect in normal conditions, read here ).
  2. If the car will drive on a dock on a bad road, because of low-quality materials the product can break or deform.
  3. The repair wheel has a short life due to the fact that the rubber on it is of poor quality, so it wears out quickly.
  4. The differential and other elements of suspensions and transmissions experience additional stress when riding on the repair wheel, which can cause them to break on a long trip.
  5. Many modern vehicles are equipped with electronic stability systems, such as ESP or ABS. If they are not deactivated, they can malfunction due to the difference in wheel revolutions on one axle. The reason is that the difference in rotation will be regarded by the electronics as slippage, so it will block one of them. If there is no possibility to deactivate the device, experienced motorists recommend driving at low speed and without sharp turns of the steering wheel.
  6. You can travel only short distances on the dockatka – only a few tens of kilometers. To continue a long trip on it is impossible. It will adversely affect other important systems of the car.
  7. In the case of some cars, it is not recommended to install a dolly in place of the failed wheel. For example, this applies to front-wheel drive models. If you have a punctured front wheel, you must first jack up the rear axle and put the emergency wheel there. The dismounted suitable wheel is installed instead of the failed one. In addition to the fact that it will take extra time, because of the discrepancy of the tread pattern of the drive wheels (some motorists use different tires on the front and rear axles) the car will have reduced handling.
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Many motorists are convinced that the biggest advantage of a standard wheel over a dolly is that it can be used as an identical alternative to a failed wheel. In reality, this is not always the case.

For a complete replacement, the wheel must be identical to the one that went bad. In this case, the driver will have to splurge. The point is that for full use of a spare tire, you should buy a set of tires for all 5 wheels so that the tread would match after replacement.

It is not worth buying directional rubber, because you will have to carry two wheels for each side of the car. The same applies to the winter/summer set. Only if all these conditions are met, the spare can be used as a full-fledged wheel.

Features of driving and driving on an emergency wheel

Regardless of whether the original dokatku or a similar emergency wheel is used, the installation of this element will immediately affect the drivability of the car for the worse. For this reason, this option is not recommended for inexperienced motorists.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

We have already talked about the disadvantages of the dolly. Here’s how the driver should drive the vehicle if it has a jackknife:

  1. The distance in the stream should be increased. The reason for this is the increased braking distance if you hit the brakes sharply.
  2. On an unstable road surface, speed should be reduced to a minimum, as the narrow tire already has a small contact patch, which decreases with moisture, snow or sand.
  3. When cornering, speed should also be reduced in advance and the steering wheel should be turned as gently as possible. If the rem wheel is on the steering axle, at high speed there will be understeer or skid (what it is, read another review ). In the case of rear-wheel drive, the car will suffer from oversteer or skidding.
  4. Each rem wheel specifies the maximum speed limit at which you can drive. Usually it is 60-80 kilometers per hour, but you should not speed up more than 50 km/h for safety.
  5. Sharp maneuvers on a car with a dokatku strictly forbidden.
  6. After installing the wheel on the axis should recheck the pressure in it, even if this procedure was performed recently.
  7. Usually the tread remains serviceable for two thousand kilometers. For this reason, in order not to spend money on a new remwheel, it is better to shorten the distance on such an item as much as possible.
  8. At one time on a dokatku you can overcome no more than one hundred kilometers, if there is no desire to subsequently repair the car.
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How to put a dokatku on the car, depending on the type of drive

The main rule of using a repair wheel is not to install it on the drive axle. It is easiest to follow this principle if the car has front-wheel drive. If the leading wheel fails, you should use the rear wheel as an alternative, and install a dokatku instead. Although you may see a slightly different situation on the road (a lazy motorist installs a spare wheel on the front-wheel drive car at the front) – you should not disregard this rule, because the car should keep controllability.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

As for rear-wheel drive cars, you should sacrifice steerability in favor of maintaining traction of the drive wheels, and install the beltwheel on the front axle. Otherwise, such vehicle is more likely to skid on a turn. Also a mismatch in the speed difference of the driving wheels will have a negative impact on the differential (additionally on how this mechanism works, you can read here).

Is it possible to ride on the docked wheel

The technical part of this question is already known, and the answer is no, you can not use the wheel on a permanent basis. The same answer is given by the rules of vehicle operation. Traffic rules prohibit the operation of vehicles with different size wheels and tread pattern on the same axle. There are no exceptions in this matter.

What is a spare tire - why do you need a spare tire for your car

The only thing that will help a driver to avoid a fine for driving on a dock is one exception. To paraphrase that rule, when a vehicle breaks down, the driver must take steps to repair the problem. Otherwise, the repair wheel is installed, the hazard warning light is on, and the vehicle is sent to the nearest tire shop.

At the same time it is necessary to stick to the extreme right side. If you need to make a U-turn on the highway, then it is allowed to rearrange in advance to the leftmost row before the break of the marking. Considering this side of the issue, the standard wheel has a clear advantage (if the tread pattern is identical to the replaced wheel).

We suggest watching a short video about how a car with a spare wheel on the rear axle will behave:

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