When Did You Last Check Your Spare Tire?
Does Your Car Even have a Spare Tire?
Not long ago, a spare tire used to be something that every vehicle owner simply assumed was part of their vehicle. How times have changed! Based on statistics gathered by AAA or the American Automobile Association, more than one third of new cars no longer come with one. Numerically speaking, that’s over 30 million cars without spare tires!
If you have been a vehicle owner for quite some time, this information probably comes as a shock to you and you are likely scratching your head wondering what the rationale behind this drastic move is. It’s quite simple, really. Fuel economy. According to car makers, they have started doing away with spare tires to make vehicles lighter, and in turn, be able to meet fuel efficiency standards better.
Why spare tires are supposedly not as essential as they used to be
Justifying their move, car manufacturers say that there are 2 main reasons why spare tires are no longer a necessity. First, the number of drivers who know how to use their car tools to change a flat tire is neither impressive nor promising anyway. Simply put, most drivers would rather call for roadside assistance than deal with a flat tire themselves, so having a spare tire might not really be useful at all.
Second, tire technology has supposedly gotten to the point of being too advanced that flat tires have become increasingly rare. A generalization that completely contradicts AAA’s findings as according to John Nielsen, managing director of AAA’s Automotive Engineering and Repair department, “AAA responds to more than four million calls for flat tire assistance annually and, despite advances in vehicle technology, we have not seen a decline in tire-related calls over the last five years.”
Without a spare tire, what then?
There are presently 2 popular options being used in lieu of spare tires. Either a car is equipped with a tire inflator kit, or it comes with what are referred to as run-flat tires.
A tire inflator kit works by coating the inner tire wall with a sealant, then re-inflating the tire with a compressor. For an inflator kit to work, the ideal scenario is that the tire is punctured in the tread surface, and the object that made the puncture remains in the tire. Otherwise, a blowout occurs, or the sidewall gets damaged. In either case, the tire inflator kit will not work and towing assistance will be necessary. Aside from being effective in very specific circumstances only, an inflator kit has a shelf life of only 4 – 8 years, and upon using it, the cost for replacement is relatively high. In contrast, having a spare tire and knowing how to replace a flat will cost so much less.
The other option is run flats. Run-flat tires are exactly that: tires that still run even if already flat. Run-flat tires are designed to stay inflated for a specific distance even after being punctured, giving the driver enough leeway to be able to reach a gas station or any other service station where corresponding assistance can be sought.
A spare tire, a tire inflator kit, or run-flat tires?
Whatever your car is equipped with, your best bet is just being prepared for any eventuality so you won’t be inconvenienced as much when the unexpected happens. If you have a spare tire, make sure you check it regularly to ensure that it’s properly inflated and ready to save the day when you get a flat. And take the time to learn how to use your tools and change a flat by yourself. Alternatively, if what your car is equipped with is an inflator kit, make sure you know how to properly work one so it doesn’t go to waste and can effectively help remedy the situation it’s supposed to be for.
Big Sky Collision Center Wants No Crashes
With properly inflated tires, you not only get better fuel economy, but you prevent an accident. Don’t wait until the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) tells you that the pressure is low, check the pressure on occasion.
If you do get a flat tire, and it results in an accident, bring your dinged, dented, and damaged vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center, your auto body expert in Billings. Your dents will be removed along with your worries. Call us at 406-259-6328 to learn more.