Chances are that most Americans grew up riding in and later driving the family car that came equipped with a spare tire. But as we reported earlier, the spare tire may be soon disappearing from the family sedan, courtesy, in large part, to the increasingly stringent government fuel economy standards.
As the AAA points out, not all drivers today even know the status of their car’s spare tire, even if they have a full-size spare, a compact spare, or only an emergency sealant or inflator kit.
This can prove inconvenient and dangerous if you have a flat tire when you’re far from available help. There are, however, some things you can do to prepare yourself in the event you do have a flat tire.
- Review your owner’s manual. Learn what kind of spare or alternatives to a spare that your vehicle comes with.
- If your vehicle does have a spare tire, make sure that it is properly inflated and stowed in the vehicle. Never remove the spare tire just to make room for items you store or transport in the trunk.
- What if there is no spare? Look for other alternatives that came with your car, such as the above-mentioned compact spare, emergency sealant or inflator kit, or if your car has so-called run-flat tires.
- Don’t just look to see that you have emergency sealant and forget about it. The AAA recommends that you inspect it and replace it immediately after use or every five years if you haven’t used it. That’s because the effectiveness of the sealant decreases with age.
- Keep your roadside assistance number handy.
Vehicles without spare tires
The list of vehicles minus the standard spare tire is growing, to say the least. Among the family cars without them are:
- 2009-2011 Audi Q5: spare tire stored without air, inflator is provided; 2007-2011 Q7: spare tire optional, inflator and sealant kit provided when not equipped with a spare
- 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2011 Volt: inflator and sealant kit
- 2010-2011 Equinox: spare tire optional, inflator and sealant kit provided when not equipped with a spare
- 2007-2011 BMW X5, 2009-2011 X6: spare tire optional, run-flats installed when not equipped with a spare
- 2008-2011 Cadillac CTS, 2010-2011 SRX: spare tire optional, inflator and sealant kit provided when not equipped with a spare
- Chrysler SRT8 models with 20-inch wheels
- 2011 Ford Explorer, 2008-2011 Focus: spare tire optional, inflator and sealant kit provided when not equipped with a spare
- 2010-2011 GMC Terrain: inflator and sealant kit
- 2005-2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: run-flats
- 2011-2012 Hyundai Accent and Elantra, 2011 Sonata Hybrid and 2012 Veloster: inflator and sealant kit
- 2004-2011 Toyota Sienna XLE: run-flats
- 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid: inflator and sealant kit
Click here for the AAA’s full list of vehicles without a spare tire.