DeAnn Owens
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Spare Tire Maintenance Tips

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car spare tire wheel small size replace jack
Photo: robmba via cc/Flickr

Tucked away in the truck, the spare tire (if your car still has one) is usually forgotten or overlooked until you need it. But by then, it might be too late. Your car’s spare tire needs regular maintenance checks to help make sure it is useable when your car has suffered a flat or blowout. In order to make sure all your tires — including your spare — are properly maintained, integrate the following tips into your car care routine.

Tire Care 101: When to invest in a new set

Under pressure

Your spare tire will lose pressure just like your regular tires, especially when the weather fluctuates. My car’s tire pressure indicator light lit up; I checked the pressure of each one of my car’s tires, and even when each tire was at the recommended psi, the dashboard light was still on. When I took the car in for an oil change, the mechanic informed me that the tire pressure light was reading the low pressure on the spare tire. To avoid the embarrassment I felt, always include your spare tire in your review of your car’s tires. Check for proper air pressure, any signs of damage, or deterioration.

“It’s a good idea to check the tire pressure in your spare on a regular basis — and always before heading out on a road trip. It’s not useful to replace a flat tire with a spare when your spare’s tire pressure is also low,” according to Nationwide.

Total recall

When you think of recalls, you probably think of things like brake pads or ignition problems. But some recalls can impact your spare tire as well. In order to be aware of everything that’s going on with your car, make sure you ask about recalls whenever you take your car in for maintenance. If a recall or other issue affects your spare tire, act promptly to get the problem fixed.

Not all cars have spare tires

If your car lacks a spare tire and instead is equipped with run-flat tires, it’s important to your safety that you understand the longevity of such tires.

According to Consumer Reports writer Gene Petersen, run-flat tires and sealant kits are less effective than a spare tire in the long run.

“Be sure to know your options and limitations before heading out on the road, especially when traveling through areas where help may be far away and cell service may be limited,” advises Petersen.

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