HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s something you don’t think much about until you run into a problem on the road. More automakers are selling you cars that don’t have spare tires.
A new AAA study shows almost one-third of 2017 model vehicles don’t come with a spare tire. This can lead to safety issues and cost you if you break down.
“A lot of times, you find vehicles that are not equipped at all with a spare tire,” said Jaydee Cooper, a tow truck driver with AAA Central Penn.
Cooper says many of his customer don’t even realize they’re missing a spare until it’s too late.
“It’s about probably two out of three times,” Cooper said. “There’s a lot that don’t have a spare tire. They either have a can of fix-a-flat, or the tire isn’t repairable to where we can put a plug in it.”
“If you’re going to buy a new car, you want to make sure that your car does have a spare tire. If not, see if one is available to get in your car,” said Doni Lee Spiegel, public relations manager with AAA Central Penn.
“Once you don’t have that spare tire, you’re pretty much looking at the limitations of a tow. I’ve found people that drove on the rims of those tires, and that’s a huge mistake too because a rim of a tire is not cheap,” Cooper said as he replaced a tire.
AAA says many automakers are ditching the spare tire because of EPA fuel efficiency standards.
“Automakers are trying to make the vehicles more light, which in turn makes them more fuel efficient. Instead of having a spare tire, higher-end cars will have a run-flat tire,” Spiegel said.
Some vehicles sold without a spare tire have tire inflator kits. AAA says they won’t work if you have sidewall damage or a blowout, and they cost about 10 times as much as a tire. The kits only have a lifespan of four to eight years, according to AAA.
“It’s incredibly important that you have a spare,” Cooper said. “Just if you think of it from the aspect of it’s going to take you a good 20 to 30 minute for the tow truck to hook you up and move you versus a spare tire is about five to 10 minutes for a change.”
450,000 of AAA’s customers who had a flat in 2016 did not have a spare tire. They say to check the trunk if you’re getting a new car for the spare tire. It could also be under the vehicle if you have a van or SUV.