Automakers are now opting for tire repair kits and run-flat tires instead of spare tires, saying this move will increase fuel efficiency, reduce weight, lower costs, and conveniently leave consumers with more room in their trunks. According to a Los Angeles Times review of data and specifications, about 13% of the more than one million vehicles sold in the U.S. did not offer an extra tire as standard equipment. And that’s just in the last month.
“All manufacturers are looking at this,” said Alan Batey, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet sales and service. “This is one opportunity to get weight out of vehicles and make them more fuel efficient… It will take some time for people to understand this technology.”
Here are some of the new models that will not come with a spare tire:
- Chevrolet Cruze (tire sealant and inflator kit standard, optional compact spare tire and spare wheel available on all but Cruze Eco)
- Chevrolet Malibu (tire sealant and inflator kit standard, optional compact spare tire and spare wheel available on all models)
- 2011 Hyundai Elantra (as reported in the Los Angeles Times)
- 2012 Buick Regal GS (and upcoming e-Assist hybrid versions of Regal and LaCrosse); note the 2011 Buick CXL and CXL Turbo come with standard 16-inch and 17-inch compact spare tire, respectively
- 2012 Kia Optima (some versions, according to the Los Angeles Times)
- BMW (run-flat tires standard on nearly every model, according to Edmunds)
AAA expects 1.2 million people will call for help this summer. Many will be flats, but the agency says that many of those could be avoided if people took care of their tires properly. Flat tire roadside assistance increased 2% last year after declining for many years. Local AAA officials said they did not know the reason for the increase. Why wait until a flat tire or a blowout to realize you don’t have a spare tire? Something you can do right now to prevent yourself from being one of those 1.2 million people is to give your tires a tune up with nitrogen tire inflation.
Having nitrogen in tires maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, serving as better protection against those blowouts and flat tires. Putting nitrogen in tires also turns them into hybrid tires, extending the life of the tire and additionally increasing the fuel efficiency of your vehicle (along with the absence of a spare). If you are considering this option, a great nitrogen tire dealer is Nitrofleet99.
If you are one of those people who likes having the spare tire, they aren’t completely going away, yet, Some automakers are offering the option of a spare for an additional charge. If you have a spare, or are opting for the spare, make sure it retains its proper tire pressure like the rest of your tires with nitrogen tire inflation.