Why the Spare Tire is Becoming Obsolete
If you’ve recently bought or started leasing a new car, chances are you might have noticed its lack of a spare tire. Are auto makers starting to stow these bad boys in a more obscure part of the vehicle?
Nope. It turns out that this is a new industry trend that car buyers should be aware of.
The New Reality
According to AAA, 28% of vehicles sold for the 2017 model year did not include spare tires. This is 36% less than the 2015 model year statistic.
Exactly why are many manufacturers ditching the spare tire? Leaving out the spare tire reduces the car’s overall weight. This, in turn, boosts fuel efficiency, which is a major priority for automakers as consumers continue to value eco-friendly rides.
Spare Tire Alternatives
Some companies equip their new vehicles with either a tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) or a tire inflator kit. The latter provides the driver with tools to temporarily fix the flat tire by plugging small leaks.
One downside of these kits, however, is that they have a shelf life of just 4-8 years. Chances are that your kit might expire before you experience a flat or busted tire.
Since the standard spare tire is gradually becoming extinct, it’s more important than ever that drivers constantly monitor their tire pressure and general tire “health.” With cooler weather in the fall and winter, keeping your tires inflated is especially important since sharp drops in temperature can deflate your tires to a dangerously low level. Under-inflated tires are one of the top two causes of tire failure, per the NHTSA .
Per the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), just 17% of drivers know how to accurately check tire pressure. If you fall into “the other 83%” category, you can still protect yourself from a flat tire.
One simple way to stay on top of your vehicle’s tire pressure is to buy a portable tire pressure gauge online or from your local auto parts store. Many are available for less than $15.
Even though spare tires are phasing out, along with other contemporary trends like combustion-engines, modern drivers have all the resources they need to help prevent a tire mishap in the first place. And, if all else fails, there’s always roadside assistance to call for help!
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Whitney Burch is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming on Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her fiance and their 1-year-old Labrador, motorcycling, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world (most likely in yellow), researching random things, scribbling on her blog, and escaping into a great movie, poem, or short story. See more articles by Whitney.