Automakers have been under increased pressure not to eliminate spare tires from new vehicles. According to new research from AAA, nearly one-third (28 percent) of 2017 model year vehicles do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment, creating an unnecessary hassle and expense for motorists. Last year alone, AAA came to the rescue of more than 450,000 members faced with a flat tire whose vehicle did not have a spare tire.
As a replacement for a spare tire, some automakers are including tire-inflator kits that can temporarily repair small punctures in flat tires. A tire inflator kit can only be used when a puncture occurs on the center tire tread and the object remains in the tire. These kits cannot be used if the object is no longer lodged in the tire, or if a blowout, pothole or curb related damage occurs.
“This is a major issue for the motorist who is now stranded, because they can no longer rely on their tire inflator kit, requiring their vehicle to be towed” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “If the motorist had a spare tire they would be able to get back on the road, saving them time and money.”
While new vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems that alert motorists to low tire pressure, AAA’s roadside assistance data shows that tire-related problems continue to be one of the top reasons why members call for assistance. Even if drivers do have a spare tire, they are often reaching for their cell phones to call for roadside assistance rather than changing the tire themselves. According to a previous AAA survey, nearly 20 percent (39 million) of U.S. drivers do not know how to change a flat tire.
To keep from being stranded in the event of a flat tire, AAA offers these precautionary tips: