Remember when cars had a full size spare tire? Then they went to the small temporary spare tire called the donut. Now, in order to save weight, many manufacturers are doing away with the spare tire altogether on certain models. Certainly less weight increases gas mileage. It is also easier and less expensive to shed weight from a car, than to introduce technology to save fuel. This year about 14 percent of new model cars in the United States have no spare tire.
The tire repair kit which replaces the spare tire, weighs in at about 20 pounds less than a spare tire and a jack assembly and do not take up much room either. But what should you do if you happen to get a flat? The car manufacturers are supplying a quick-fix kit instead.
If you get a major blow out that is larger than a quarter of an inch, or if the puncture is on the side of the tire instead of the bottom, the repair kit won’t do the job and you will need to be towed. The manufacturers figure that in most cases the repair kit will do the job as it should take care of flats 85 percent of the time.
The manufacturers also feel that TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) will alert you in most cases that you have a leak which you can fix before you have a flat. So if the low tire light sends a signal, don’t ignore it. If you buy a new car, you might want to look for the spare tire.
Manufacturers have been mandated by the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards and are scrambling to get better gas mileage (an average of 54.5 miles per gallon) by 2025 and are doing all they can to make it happen. Not every manufacturer is using this method to help their cause but it is something you need to be aware of. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere and start looking for a spare that you aren’t going to find.