Hey, Dad! Where is the Spare Tire?

Hey, Dad! Where is the Spare Tire?
  • Opening Intro -

    Here is a thought that will send a chill down your spine, especially as your college-aged daughter makes the long drive back to college:

    ... that spare tire you thought was in the trunk does not exist.

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Instead, to save weight, the manufacturer has outfitted her car with run flat tires and an emergency kit with tire sealant. As if you didn’t have enough to worry about!

As a responsible parent, you may have long ago determined that her car does not have a spare tire. What you might not have shown her is how to inflate a flat tire should she encounter this problem.

The good news here is that run-flat tires are durable and can usually be driven several miles without a fresh boost of air. Instead of being stranded on the interstate as semi-trailers scream past, your daughter or son can continue down the road and pull into the nearest service station for assistance.

The number of models that no longer have a spare tire is on the increase. Keeping a spare tire out of your trunk can save manufacturers from 20 to 40 pounds notes AAA Carolinas. That move can help car manufacturers comply with more rigorous EPA fuel standards, but it could also put your adult child at risk.

The advantage for consumers is that the absent spare allows for more trunk room. The disadvantages, besides a potential personal safety matter, can mean that the sealant has to be replaced when used. Also, the tire pressure monitor must be reset and calibrated, and if the tire is beyond repair it, too, will have to be replaced. AAA says that a run-flat tire costs about one-third more than the typical radial tire.

Visual inspection will reveal if your car has a spare tire or not. Your owner’s manual will also offer up that information. If you have a recent make of certain Audi, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo models, your car may not have a spare. Other brands that are eschewing spare tires include BMW, Dodge, GMC, Honda, Mazda, MINI, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Perhaps the best solution for a car without a spare tire is to simply buy a spare and keep it in the trunk with tire changing equipment such as a jack. You may also want to obtain or renew your motor club membership and have your son or daughter key that emergency number into a cell phone. Your manufacturer may also provide roadside assistance as part of your warranty plan, what is typically offered for 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

See AlsoBeware of Flood-Damaged Cars!

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Categories: Campus Cars