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What’s in Your Trunk?

Are Automakers Sacrificing the Spare Tire for Fuel Economy?Auto mechanic in his workshop changing tires or rims

Being stranded on the side of a busy highway can be dangerous and scary for any driver; now image you open your trunk to access your spare tire only to learn there isn’t one. The American Automobile Association (AAA) rescued a record 32 million drivers in 2015, including many vehicles that lacked a spare tire.

A AAA Report revealed that thirty-six percent of 2015 model-year vehicles were sold without a spare tire. Automakers began eliminating spare tires to make vehicles lighter to meet fuel efficiency standards and to provide consumers with more space. Many consumers are unaware and have a false sense of security thinking they have a spare tire.

The industry has been replacing spare tires with run flat tires, tire inflation kits, or tire repair kits, which are no substitute for a spare tire. These substitutes have their limitations including limited driving ability, product expiration dates, and limited usage, as it may not work based on your specific tire issue.

What to do?
When you buy a new vehicle, ask your dealer if it comes with a spare tire. If there is no spare, ask about adding one as an option. Purchasing a spare tire kit, including a jack and tire iron, can cost consumers between $150-$600 depending on the car maker. In addition, research other safety options and tools available to you, like inflators, and learn how to use them prior to any emergency.

As with all tires, regular tire maintenance, including visual tire inspection, checking tire pressure, checking for tread wear and rotating the tires, goes a long way to improve your safety.