By on September 13, 2018

public domain

I blame Chris Tonn for a minor annoyance that befell me the other day. Maybe it was his fault, maybe it was fate. Maybe I jinxed myself.

For reasons immediately lost to the ether, the two of us found ourselves embroiled in a discussion on spare tires. Unlucky when it comes to flats, Chris bemoaned his puncture-filled past as I gloated that, despite years of driving in remote locales, my last flat tire was probably a half-decade ago. Someone or something was listening. Sure enough, just two days later, a rusty nail sliced through my front passenger-side Continental.

He won’t pick up the tab, the jerk. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here.

Anyway, the embarrassingly narrow factory hoop is back where it should be, all nice and patched, but not until after I swapped it for the full-size spare I keep stashed in the trunk at all times, right next to a GM jack carried over from four sedans ago. This is where having a set of mounted snow tires comes in handy. You know, besides that whole winter thing.

Because factory full-size spares in passenger cars are seen as often as Bigfoot, I don’t leave home without a makeshift one. My last two cars never even emerged from the factory with a space-saver spare, the cheap bastards (or is that me?). Fun fact: the Chevy Cruze only offers a space-saver on LT and higher trims, though the previous-gen Eco (my last car) dropped it for weight-saving reasons. Not having that peace of mind allowed me to sail past the pumps! GM didn’t leave me empty-handed, though — in this car and the last, the factory fixed me up with a product I’d only use if forced: the inflator kit. Never trusted them, and don’t plan on ever using one. It’s no guarantee of a fixed flat, and there could be complications even if it works. (Or so I’ve heard.)

Also, I want the option of driving however far I want, at whatever speed I choose, without having to worry about keeping it below 50 mph until I get the full-sizer patched. And that’s why a good measure of my car’s trunk space is permanently sacrificed by the presence of a worn 205/60 R16 Blizzak. I want there to be a complete solution on hand should I drive over your kid’s toy soldiers.

What I’d like to know today is: how many of you upgraded your flat tire preparations after finding them lacking? Or, like many, is it the last thing on your mind?

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84 Comments on “QOTD: Feeling Deflated?...”


  • avatar
    RSF

    I’m working on the exact same thing now. I bought my son a 12 Mustang and all it has is the inflator kit. It’s going in the trash as soon as I locate a good spare, jack, and tools. I’d like it to fit in the truck well correctly also.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I usually modify my trucks which typically includes a mild lift and bigger tires. And part of that always includes a full size spare on a matching wheel. Because nothing sucks more than having a flat with a 37″ tire and your OE spare is a 265/70/17. Plus when you need to replace worn tires, you only have to buy three new and move the remaining tire with the most tread to being the spare. See, I’m saving money already!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      What you do is not good

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If you buy a 5th matching wheel then you should just do a 5 tire rotation like used to be common back in the day when cars came with 5 matching wheels and tires.

      The problem with leaving it in the spare position is that it will age quicker from the lack of use (regular flexing keeps the polymers equally distributed) and thus provide less traction, and the exact model may be discontinued in the mean time so you can’t get an exact match.

      • 0 avatar
        chops

        dude…I design tires for a living…and I have to tell you, the tire engineer next to me got a good laugh at the tire flexing polymer distribution theory.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          This!

          I’ve seen some spares last a good long time under a truck and in the trunk. I absolutely love it when somebody wants to toss a tire that has been in service for the past 5 years on the spare which has been in the trunk or under the vehicle for the past 10 years. They usually say “I don’t trust a tire that old” yet they will put a raggedy three year old tire festooned with plugs and shitty flat repairs on with the inside edge nearly bald that’s run over who knows how many curbs and broken glass and pot holes and sharp objects in the road and bounced off an incalculable number of speed bumps not to mention a sidewall that looks like a cross between a dry lake bed and aligator skin.

          I usually reccomend gettng five tires but the canned repsonses usually is “thats a waste of money on a tire i’ll never use”.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I only care about a full size spare on bigger road trips. Anything within a 100 miles from my house, whatever. I’ve had maybe 2 legit flats since 1999 that needed a full size spare. The other couple times, I was able to just pump up my tire enough to roll home safely.

    I had a Fiat 500 Abarth that I road tripped to Detroit from Boston, in the middle of winter, without a full size spare. COME AT ME BRO!

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      You beautiful bastard. I’m getting a 124 next month for all-year duty because life dangerous is the only life.

      Come to think of it the 124 ‘trunk’ is about exactly the right size for a spare. But then no cross-country skiis. Hmm.

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Steph isn’t joking.

    I’ve employed space saver spares too many times to count over 23+ years behind the wheel.

    Some of that was related to a stint in traveling sales, where 50k miles/year greatly increased my odds of picking up something in the tread.

    My 2012 Civic company car had at least eight flats in the span of 18 months – including, somehow, an industrial rivet at least 15 inches long and half an inch in diameter.

    Hard to make sales quotas when I’m spending my days waiting for a tire to be plugged.

    • 0 avatar
      cammark

      I like to focus on fixing the root cause- getting a puncture in the first place.

      Silly as it may seem I may have found a decent solution:
      https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_778_778

      It’s at least good brainstorming fuel.

      Something smaller/cheaper may be better suited for the Civic. Maybe mounted right in front of each tire. But I bet 90% of what punctures tires are magnetic.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        First problem, the magnetic field falls off with the cube of the distance. Those cleanup sweeps need to be mounted about 2″ off the ground. That means that they’ll scrape every bump and dip, and at anything over walking speed those scrapes will destroy it in short order. A sweep that worked at 6″ height would require a magnet about thirty times stronger. A sweep that worked at 8″ height would require a magnet about sixty times stronger.

        Second problem, at highway speeds your magnet is travelling at 80-100 feet per second which is to say that the nails and screws that you want to pick up are only under the magnet for a few milliseconds. Field strength to grab and accelerate your debris in that brief window would require a much stronger magnet yet.

        I don’t have the inclination to go and learn the math well enough to give an exact figure but the short answer is that the nail proof magnetic bumper is somewhere between a massive rare earth magnet and a small MRI machine.

        • 0 avatar
          pwrwrench

          A friend of mine did flight maintenance at major airports around SoCal. Before 9/11 he gave me tours of their facilities. Interesting to see those huge turbine engines sitting on a cart waiting to be installed or sent for overhaul.
          All the service vehicles, bag tugs, trucks, etc had bar magnets hanging below the front bumper. This was not primarily to stop flats on the trucks and tugs, but to prevent FOD ( Foreign Object Damage) to the airplanes. In particular the engines.
          Agree with Dan, need a very powerful magnet to be of any use on a car at even 35 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Chris,

      try driving in established track in the lane you traveling. I feel, you picking these because you drive to the side of your lane where all the trash collects.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    The first mod I did to my 2016 Golf R was put together the spare tire kit the rest of the world gets but North America does not. Had to order some parts from Europe though (foam hold and scalloped rear trim piece). You’d think VWoA would at least make it possible to get everything from the US if someone wanted one.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    When I Purchased my Mazda6 3 years ago, the first item I added was a compact hydraulic trolley jack. It fits nicely in the plastic storage bin on the right side of the trunk. And, I have used it 3 times to change a tire or repair a tire on site. The scissor jack with the car is a non starter for me.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I haven’t had a flat in a very long time. I just had one last night at 2215 hours after dropping off a family member at the airport in Miami. Coming back home close to West Palm Beach, tpms light is on but car feels ok. I drive another 25 miles and stop to assess. From 37 psi, I get 18…no bueno. I drive slowly to Jupiter, found a Wawa, installed the doughnut ( after bringing it up to 60 psi from 30 where it was). Took about 15-20 min.
    The agonizing part was driving another 120 miles at 55 mph. Doughnuts are fine I guess. Fix a flat can? No way.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    My SS sedan has a full sized matching spare. Leaving the house in a car without a full sized spare feels like leaving the house without pants on. Just doesn’t feel right or even practical. If consumers buy cars without full size spares then manufacturers will think it’s not a big deal to consumers. So everyone of you that bought a car without one can only thank yourself if you find yourself in a situation where it’s needed.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I agree with you 100%, however their is a hitch to this. All of my cars have a spare accept…..the Corvette. It would feel kinda stupid to have a full size in the back or even a donut as their is really no place to put it.

      I purchased a tire kit from Griots; pump + that crap you can inject to fix a flat + it has plugs you can use if you find the hole is so blatant that the goop won’t solve it.

      I feel better at **least** having this than nothing. The idea of having to call a tow truck for a flat tire just irks me.

      I am not a fan of run flats as they are expensive and noisy….

      Anyway, my 2cents. Seriously jealous of your SS…

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        My Miata also has no room for a spare. Some guys take up their whole trunk with a RX-7 spare. I added a plug kit and side cuts to the factory compressor and fix a flat kit. Will have to use roadside service for anything bigger.

      • 0 avatar
        pwrwrench

        The “sealer” that’s in those cans is problematic. One problem is that it prevents the standard tire cement from sticking, so a normal repair is difficult. Another is that the stuff is usually corrosive and if left in the wheel/tire for very long will rust/corrode the wheel. Which can ruin the wheel and or make it very tough to remove the tire without damage to the wheel.
        Third is that the propellant for those cans is 99% flammable. Back in the 1970s when I started working on cars many more people smoked cigs. Unlucky types were smoking when they removed the valve core from a wheel/tire that had the sealer injected into it. The escaping gas would turn into a flamethrower burning anyone within range.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Is the corvette offered with a spare? I kinda understand the reasoning for it not having one, even though I would still feel on edge about it. But I agree I couldn’t imagine calling a tow truck for a flat but it seems like it’s a reality now days. Particularly on any rentals I may have.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          My 95′ had a donut. The C6 does not have a spare. I imagine the C7 is the same.

          Based on what I see on T.V for commercials regarding Auto insurance, calling someone to solve your flat tire problem is common place apparently. I can’t get behind the idea of taking a 15 minute inconvenience and turning it into a 2 hour wait for someone to show up.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Exactly, I don’t even know who I would call for that. Changing a tire is so simple why make it a minor hardship.

          • 0 avatar
            indi500fan

            Every time I see that Liberty Mutual commercial with the whining teenage boy I feel badly for where our society has gone, because it’s totally accurate.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Ha-ha – I never bought a car without a spare. Moreover, my highlander came with 5 full alloy wheels/tires. I have not had a catastrophic puncture in 27 years. But I had plenty of nails seeping air out. These I fix with walmart repair kit that works just fine. Out of 10+ repairs, I had one failure, which I re-patched and it worked.
    So, in my theory, total blow out is rare. The nail/screw can be fixed with a patch. Spare is good to have just in case. For long trips I take repair kit with me. What helps is that I don’t buy cars with low profile tires. I buy base cars that come with meaty tires.
    In this context my answer is – no. I have never upgraded my spare wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      +1 to the Highlander and the full size spare tire. It saved my bacon twice in the 4 plus years I’ve owned it. Lots of crap getting carelessly left on roadways around here.

      Shame on Jeep for not giving a full size spare in the Grand Cherokee unless you get the towing package. I can’t imagine the GC on a space saver. Probably looks like a three legged dog.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I was pleasantly surprised when I found my mom’s ’09 RX350 likewise had a full size tire on a 5th factory alloy for a spare. The (minor) downside seems to be that alloys are more prone to leaks around the bead over time, her’s keeps letting out air and needs to be re-mounted.

        Fullsize steelie on the 4Runner of course, it’s laughable to hear that the Grand Cherokee has regressed to a space saver. Says a lot about what the manufacturer sees that vehicle’s primary use as.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    If it is a nail hole, a plug kit with an inflator does not bother me.

    The truck has a full size spare but the car and CUV have donuts. The Cobra has a donut but the full size won’t fit in the trunk anyway. I carry a plug kit in that also so the passenger doesn’t have to carry the flat in their lap.

    That said, the truck has had two plugs put in and I have yet to pull the spare off the truck to replace a flat. The CUV had a flat and we made it to a tire place a couple miles down the road and had it fixed rather than unload everything that was packed for vacation on the side of the road. The car has a plug also. It was a slow leak so I could get home to do it. The Cobra has not had a flat. It did have a tread separation a short distance from home. That was fun. Too bad we can’t post pictures here.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Upon learning that my 13 Optima didn’t come with any spare tire, I demanded/requested the dealer throw one in for free to close the deal.

    They absolutely refused, and the sales manager even asked “when’s the last time you had a flat?”, to which I replied “last month”. (Oddly, they shaved the last $1000 off the car’s price very readily.)

    Despite the availability of roadside service, I don’t want to be sitting there waiting for a tow or a tire change when I can fix it myself and get back on the road in 20 minutes. I refuse to rely on fix-a-flat, which I’ve never even tried, and which won’t work for some situations.

    Ultimately, I relented and paid the $235 extra they wanted for a special-order donut tire, which I ended up using for the first time this year.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I once was dealing on a used Neon (it was 2001) that clearly would need new tires. Dealer refused to put new tires on it even though the ones it was wearing were at the wear bars. I walked away.

      I want to give big props to car reviewers who actually bother to check the trunk for a spare. It is an important thing to know IMHO before buying a car.

      I wonder how many people on that KIA lot even look for a spare?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I have been told that it is illegal for dealers to sell cars with obviously worn tires in some states. I learned this after buying an early 1980s Civic from a dealer with tires in poor condition.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Equally annoying to me is dealers putting cheapo Chinese Sentury/LingLong/etc tires on their used cars and advertising “NEW tires!!” Even Carmax and local mainline dealers put some questionable junk on (Fuzion and low end Firestones), which inevitably are much noisier and worse-riding than how the car comes from the factory, or with a set of decent name brand rubber.

          • 0 avatar
            greenbrierdriver

            This. The mazda 5 we bought had 4 new tires of the ling-long variety. The dealer replaced the fronts with another set. That fixed the incessant pull to the right, but introduced a shake at 60. Re-balanced twice, moved side to side, still there. Wouldnt replace with real tires. I finally went and bought a set of goodyears and no shakes, shimmies or pulls in the last 40k miles. The tire guys at the local swap meet sell the chinese brands by the pickup load to the kids with their jacked up trucks because theyre cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I’m with you I’d rather have worn out tires than new off brand crap. The car I recently purchased had new iMOVE tires and they are going to be replaced sooner rather than later.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            iMove is Ironman which is a sub-brand of Hercules Tires which is under the Cooper Tire umbrella. I’d give them a chance first.

            (FYI I’ve loved my Hercules Terra Tracs on my Highlander and my old F150. “Dakotas” from PepBoys, now THOSE were crap.)

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Hercules is owned by ATD (American Tire Distributors) and I have given them a chance and do not find their wet traction acceptable. However they aren’t as bad as the almost new Bridgestones that came on the last car I bought my wife. The traction control was not able to keep them under control during moderate acceleration in the wet and the ABS came on dozens of times in the 3 days they were on the car.

            I should add that the car only had 38k and the factory Michelins should have still had a substantial amount of tread and life left as that same model tire, that were OE installed gave us over 80k of use on our Fusion and probably would have went to 100k except for the fact that I replace tires a 4/32″.

            So while iMOVE may not be the worst tires out there I don’t like them. I’ll make you a great deal on them if you like.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @ScoutDude – I just wouldn’t lump them in with Sentury/LingLong/etc.

            Good tires at a decent price are getting much harder to find. Given that a high percentage of the population only cares that tires are “round and black” that is the crux of the problem.

            My biggest pet peeve is “low rolling resistance tires” which I have found to be crap in anything other than perfect sunny warm weather.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “I’m with you I’d rather have worn out tires than new off brand crap. The car I recently purchased had new iMOVE tires and they are going to be replaced sooner rather than later.”

            Keep in mind how difficult coming up with $800 cash up front for a set of good tires is for the average used car buyer. For that matter, how difficult coming up with $400 cash up front for Ding Dongs is. Getting that rolled into their car note for the next 60 months is a real selling point.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            General tires have become mine and my brother’s go-to for good performance at a palatable price. We’ve now racked up experience with everything from Grabber HTS SUV all seasons (my 4Runner and sister in law’s Rogue), Grabber AT2 all terrains (4Runner), multiple sets of Altimax Arctic winter tires (4Runner, Forester, Mysitque, Rogue, others), Altimax RT-43 all seasons (’12 Civic, ’12 Camry, basically all of my bro’s customers’ cars), and I will now be sampling Gmax AS-05s that my brother recommended to the PO of the ’01 A4 Quattro I’m picking up next week. I find that Generals aren’t the quietest or smoothest compared to some of the top tier brands (but still very reasonable IMO), where they win big is wet traction and acceptable light snow performance on the all seasons. That and I haven’t seen or experienced a manufacturing defect or tire that won’t balance with their stuff. for 60% of the price of the top tier Michelins and such, I think General makes some very solid products. They also seem to punch above their weight in various tire comparison reviews.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I would rather they sell it with the worn out tires. I can get my own tires installed that I’ll actually appreciate.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ (just) Dan, it is true that for many buyers it might be hard to come up with the money for new tires right after the scraped up the money for a down payment.

            @ PrincipalDan, I didn’t say they were total crap, just not acceptable to me.

            Not all LRR tires are terible, the OE Michelin MXM tires on the wife’s Fusion Hybrid weren’t bad in wet grip, better than many A/S tires I’ve driven on ditto for the Energy Saver A/S that are on my Daughter’s car. The Bridgestone Ecopias on the other had were total crap with any moisture on the road, in fact far worse than these iMOVE. Which is why they were gone in just a few days.

          • 0 avatar
            pwrwrench

            I got caught out some years back when Costco decided to get very picky about who they would sell tires to (only OEM spec). So in frustration I went through 2 local tire stores. The first one finally admitted that they sold me out of round tires. I gave those back to them. The second one sold me Kumho. Beeg Meestake. The tires never could be balanced. Three shops tried. Best I could get was a old bubble balancer that I had sold to a friend. Borrowed it back and got a smoother ride, but still some vibration. Also steering was imprecise and vague at the same time. Ride and noise were terrible after about 5K miles.
            Was happy when those piles of hell wore out and were replaced. All vibration gone and steering, ride back to normal.
            I think most tires have lower quality than 20 years ago. Even major brands like Pirelli and Michelin, except for their top line stuff. I’m not one to spend $300 each for tires for a 35 year old vehicle. Plus I’d have to buy new wheels.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    I pick up a nail or get a puncture about every 2 years.
    In a car I don’t care how big the spare is, as long as it has one.
    On a pickup or SUV I’m getting 4WD so then I do care that it’s full-size, but it doesn’t have to have a matching wheel or tire.

  • avatar
    church

    All tire fix solutions are compromise with own set of pros & cons.
    – Runflat tires are heavy/expensive/non comfortable with common “performance” mod on eg. bmw-s being installing normal tires.
    – Full size spare is heaviest and robs from boot space. No limits from using it, popular default choice for AUDM cars with long distances to drive to nearest habitable place or from nearest roadside assistance service. One needs to get that biggest among alternatives weight and boot volume penalty all the time despite relatively rare frequency of flat tires.
    – Space saver limits speed/traction and can be used only on non drive axle or axle with open diff. Different outer tire diameter may be issue also on AWD, potentially damaging transfer case. But weight is reasonable (not that much off from tire repair kit+compressor), and usually one can have full boot volume with these. My own choice that i had used in past and “upgraded” from tire repair kit in latest car. I know from own experience that i can rely on it, can serve even for few days of light driving, and i can repair in most cases punctured tire for cheap, not having to buy replacement and repaired tire having same level of wear as rest.
    – Tire repair kit is lightest, but helps only on some tire puncture types, and tire is as good as discardable, as most probably tire repair shops wouldn’t want to deal with tire that gunk was used on. Possibly one may need two new tires for replacement to get same wear tires on axle.

    Of course worth reminding that full size spare and spacesaver is unusable, if due past puncture being long time ago one may forget to check from time to time air pressure in it, and when it’s time to replace temporary punctured tire and only then find out that replacement is not properly inflated .. is unpleasant feel :)

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “Space saver limits speed/traction and can be used only on non drive axle”

      Most don’t understand/don’t know this; including people at GEICO

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Wife ran the front tire of her Terrain into a curb making a “yield” turn about a year ago. Popped the tire off the bead (but thank god didn’t damage the rim) – her Dad came out (I was stuck in meetings 2 hours away) and just put the spare on the front it is a FWD model so that was the only drive axle.

        Tire was toast so I had to buy a new one. I asked the tire place to rotate the tires and put the new one on the rear so that there wouldn’t be a diameter difference between the two front tires on a FWD vehicle.

        I got the knowing look of “Oh a layman actually knows his stuff.”

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          PrincipalDan,

          next time you want to shock your mechanic, just tell them, “Please make sure you properly torque lug nuts using torque wrench. Thanks”

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The tightest lug nuts I’ve ever encountered were the ones from the factory on that Terrain. Wife picked up a nail and I had to go after a tire that had never been off the vehicle. I had to find a 4 foot length of pipe to slip over the wrench to even budge them.

            I assume the assembly robot has gotten out of spec for torquing those nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            pwrwrench

            unfortunately this is nothing new. Back in the 1970s I went to work at a new car dealer. When I pulled out a torque wrench to tighten wheel lugs all the other mechanics laughed.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Believe it or not, a piece of 2×4 with some duct tape works as well

          • 0 avatar
            pwrwrench

            Later when I was running my own shop we constantly ran into overtightened lugs. In every instance the car had been to a quicky service or tire store. I later got a tip from a friend who was also a mechanic. He told me that at the Ford dealer he worked at if any lugs were found overtightened, stripped or cross threaded the customer was informed and given an estimate for 16-32 new bolts, studs, nuts, and maybe hubs. If they did not okay that work the car was given back to them as is.
            We started doing the same. It’s similar to the policy on ten year old cars; All cooling system hoses get replaced or take the car elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Now *that* is a thorough post, church.

      While I prefer a full-size spare, I’ve found a space-saver to be adequate for limping to a mechanic (or, if you’re handy, to a better place to repair your puncture).

      Thumbs down to goo kits and to run-flat tires.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Most of the time, I will upgrade the spare. My Taurus has 17″ wheels with low profile tires, but the spare is a 15″ steelie from a Taurus I owned long ago. Given how tall the tire is on it, I’m sure it’ll be fine in temporary service if its ever needed.

    I also carry a cheap floor jack(it is cheap, but its also new as of last year, so trustworthy), and I keep a piece of wood to set it on, assuming I may be forced to change a tire on a grassy, soft shoulder at some point.

    The Sonoma I just bought is missing its spare. Since I’m not driving it now, its obviously fine, but before I put it on the road, it will have one. There is one new tire on the truck, the rest are due to be replaced. I plan on buying a steel wheel, having the one new tire swapped to it as the spare, and put a new set of all terrains on the truck.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Most of the time, I will upgrade the spare. My Taurus has 17″ wheels with low profile tires, but the spare is a 15″ steelie from a Taurus I owned long ago. Given how tall the tire is on it, I’m sure it’ll be fine in temporary service if its ever needed.

    I also carry a cheap floor jack(it is cheap, but its also new as of last year, so trustworthy), and I keep a piece of wood to set it on, assuming I may be forced to change a tire on a grassy, soft shoulder at some point.

    The Sonoma I just bought is missing its spare. Since I’m not driving it now, its obviously fine, but before I put it on the road, it will have one. There is one new tire on the truck, the rest are due to be replaced. I plan on buying a steel wheel, having the one new tire swapped to it as the spare, and put a new set of all terrains on the truck.

  • avatar
    bobmaxed

    Ford C-Max hybrid. Absolutely no out of the way,secure place to put any spare. The car came with a fix-a-flat kit. I’ve never even looked at it. Original tires are at the end of their life. No flats. This summer I’m using some snow tires that no longer have any winter tread left. No flats.
    My car,a Fiesta ST has an almost but not quite full size spare. Has only been used when I had a bent rim. At least 12 years since there’s been a flat in this family.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Having spent decades in the vehicle repair business I shudder whenever I hear someone mention “plugging” a tire. I’m a little surprised that the stuff to do that is still sold.
    The problem is this; All tires have tubes. “Tubeless” tires have the tube bonded to the inside of the tire. If there is a puncture and it gets plugged from the outside, there is a good possibility that air will leak in between the layers of rubber, belts, and cords. This can lead to a catastrophic failure of the tire.
    In the late 1970s there were a number of crashes that were traced to plugged tires that fell apart. There were also expensive lawsuits. All the technical magazines, at the time, advised anyone working on tires not to plug them. The only acceptable repair is to remove the tire from the wheel, examine it for internal damage and if okay patch the inside “tube”. There are patches available with a 1/4″ diameter rubber spike on them to fill larger holes. After 1/4″ the consensus is to replace the tire.
    Sure a plug will likely have the tire holding air, fine in an emergency for a short time (to get to a tire shop). It’s not a permanent repair.
    BTW I’m shopping for a new vehicle. One of the first things I do at the dealer lot is to look for a spare and jack. This pisses off the sales people no end.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    I carry a DynaPlug. It seems like a good solution, but thankfully I haven’t had to use it yet!

  • avatar
    dawooj

    I don’t understand how manufacturers can justify removing a full size spare/donut for weight, while at the same time, increasing the size of the rims (which increase weight).

    The larger rims and tires are generally more expensive to replace. Run-flats ride harsher due to stiff sidewalls and are even more expensive. Why not go back to smaller sizes, which would improve ride comfort, unsprung weight, reduce costs, and return spare tires?

    Most car wheel/tires are 40+lbs for 17″ and above nowadays. 50+lbs for SUVs. That is pretty heavy for the avg woman to handle. Maybe I just answered my own question, but still, I wouldn’t buy a car without a spare tire.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      “Why not go back to smaller sizes, which would improve ride comfort, unsprung weight, reduce costs, and return spare tires?”

      Compare margins on 15″, 16″, 17″, 18″ and 19″ tires and you will find your answer.

      • 0 avatar
        church

        Not just that. It’s also for reasons:
        – to look more competitive or on par with competitors, as once bigger rims were extra cost option or on more expensive cars, but now everybody does it. Customers may look on lesser sizes as on cheapness of some sort vs competitor offerings, even if it had been for performance/cost/comfort reasons;
        – bigger wheels with tires of lesser profile due less tire sidewall flex provide better/sharper handling feel. That’s what one can feel during test drive, higher costs of low profile tires, easier to damage them or such wheels, less compliant ride on bad pothole ridden roads .. those cons can be felt only later on, after purchase has already been made.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          All marketing and flash. Most consumers are simply too uneducated to consider the added expense and downsides of large wheels with low-profile tires. Certainly brake clearance is an issue on SOME cars, but for the vast majority of mainstream cars we could easily be getting by with 14, 15, 16″ rims. I find there is a noticeable improvement in ride on “basic” trims of things like Camries and Optimas with the base 16″ wheel package.

        • 0 avatar
          dawooj

          I understand the sharper handling aspect of low profile tires, but that won’t be realized for the average person doing their pedestrian test drive w/ the salesman. And what about electronic steering? Main reason was for fuel efficiency, at the cost of steering feel (At least the first iterations).

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Why not go back to smaller sizes? In may cases because the brakes wouldn’t fit in the wheel otherwise.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I have 3 vehicles:

    One has run flats. One doe NOT have run flats and has no spare, and even if I did want to put one in, I don’t think I could fit one. The other has a full sized spare.

    Last time I had flat was about a year ago, luckily the one with a full sized spare.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Bad pothole tore a hole right in the middle of the tread on my wife’s Camry last spring, went flat instantly as she was driving on the on-ramp. I had coincidentally just bought a cordless impact from Harbor Freight the evening prior, so I was down there in short order with my hydraulic jack and impact, threw the space saver on there in record time and she wasn’t even late to work. A can of goo and a compressor would have been useless. This same car has had a few slow leaks from nails and such picked up from the road, Discount Tire does free repairs.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I’ve had enough flat tires from construction trash to want a special tax on screws and nails. Send in the receipt from your flat tire repair and be reimbursed out of the proceeds from the tax.

    None of my cars has a full sized spare. Two have donuts that have gotten the job done when needed. (I’ve been lucky never to get a flat 100 miles the far side of nowhere.) The all wheel drive Sienna has run flats instead of a spare.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Spare tires should be banned on all new vehicles without commercial plates, licenses, and governors. The fuel used to cart a cracked and half-flat tire around for 200,000 miles would bring a recovery truck halfway across the USA. If we can design cars without a spare tire well, we can move equipment or structure back there and save some space and weight during the design phase.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      How about you just ban them from your cars. If you really think the weight of a spare tire results in hundreds of dollars in fuel expenses over the lifetime of a single car, I’d say Colin chapman’s “add lightness” quote has been applied right to your head.

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        200,000 miles at 25 miles/gallon is 8,000 gallons. 1/100 of the total vehicle fuel consumption is 80 gallons. Ditch 50# of spare tire, wheel, jack, etc., and save another 50# in structural weight by being able to design a smaller vehicle with the same cargo capacity and stiffness, and you’ll save 3% of vehicle mass, which should reduce fuel consumption by 1-2%. 80-120 gallons of fuel will run a 15 MPG truck 1200-1800 miles, halfway across the USA.

        I don’t carry one anymore since my last two flats ended with my breaking a lug wrench loosening a lug and with the wheel being so corrosion-bonded to the hub that I had to remove the hub from the other side and air-grind it to smithereens to save the wheel.

        • 0 avatar
          pwrwrench

          We once had a pickup in the shop. Don’t recall which, probby Chevy, but that’s not important. The mechanic was going to remove the wheels for some service. 3 came off normally. The fourth would not budge with the lugs removed. We eventually had everyone in the shop working on it. 2 guys pulling on one side of the wheel and 2 others pounding on the other side with big plastic hammers. Finally it came off with a big cracking noise. There was very little corrosion. Never did figure out why it was stuck so tight.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Let’s save more weight and remove the fancy and heavy multi-power seats from cars. Lightweight plastic milk crates are good enough for most anyone.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    When my brother and I drove throughout Mexico and the US in 1976 in my well-used ’65 Mustang convertible, we took two full-size spare tires with us. The back seat was taken out to make more interior room and the tires were chained and locked to the metal bulkhead separating the passenger compartment from the trunk (removing the spare from the trunk made for a lot more lockable storage space). It turned out the spares weren’t needed, but we were prepared.

  • avatar

    I’m fine with the compressor myself. I’d much rather have the truck space than all that unnecessary weight and bulk. I’ve had plenty of punctures but only one sidewall splice, and really I’m okay getting a ride and picking up the car with a trailer later on. I keep a patch kit with me and normally know when I’ve hit something or it’s a slow leak and I fill up. Lots of free air in my area from gas stations and so I rarely have needed anything that came with the car itself.

  • avatar
    copcarguy

    I bought a new Ram 1500 last year, optioned to obtain the max tow rating.

    I assumed that it would’ve come with a full size spare – wrong!

    The road wheels are 20’s, the spare is a temporary 17″. On top of that, it isn’t even the same height so if you engaged 4×4 with the smaller diameter spare on I believe it might cause some damage to the drivetrain.

    I did some investigative work and was going to get a matching 20″ wheel, but found out the spare tire winch bracket thing doesn’t fit through the hub of a 20″ wheel.

    I ended up discovering that a 20″ steelie was available for earlier year trucks so I just ordered one. I’ll then get a matching size tire and be all set.

    I also carry an inexpensive floor jack, some wood blocks, and tire plugs as well.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      No 4×4 on your Ram. It’s an on-demand AWD system that temporarily engages the front tires when the rears are slipping; even on the inappropriately-named 4LOCK setting.

      • 0 avatar
        copcarguy

        Nope, I bought an Express trim level on purpose with a “real” transfer case. I don’t have the 4AUTO button as I didn’t want some clutch pack thing deciding when I wanted power to the front axle.

        https://www.ramforumz.com/showthread.php?t=215799#/topics/215799

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Right on. I didn’t realize they were offering the proper transfer case on anything with 20″ wheels.

          Strange that they wouldn’t provide a full-sized spare with that setup. My buddy did the same as you for the spare on his 2014 Sport. He had an old parts truck sitting around with one.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    VW group have skimped on the spare too. Finding one for a Skoda is tough as all the ones from the scrap heap are lifted by taxi drivers (who drive the things in Europe).

    Last time I used a spacesaver was on a Hyundai Getz, we couldn’t find a tyre shop open on a Saturday afternoon and we were due to the airport on the Sunday, a hundred mile trip on a 50mph spacesaver was out of the question, we managed to squeeze our luggage into my old Accord coupe instead.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Full sized spare for the gashes and sidewall rips. Speed jack, plug kit and mini compressor to repair nail punctures, which is by far the most common type of flat I’ve experienced. In many cases the wheel doesn’t even need to come off the axle, though it’s safer to remove it first especially if you can’t get off the road. Often it can go right back on. I have about 550,000 miles on touring motorcycles and for a while I got a couple of flats every year. I have gotten pretty good at roadside tire repair since the spare tire option, either full size or donut, is exceedingly rare on motorcycles.

  • avatar
    JMII

    C7 ‘Vette = no spare (terrible run flats that I am removing ASAP)
    Infinti Q60 = space saver (but no way the wife is changing it)
    Dodge Dakota = full size spare (which I’ve needed twice in 16 years)

    My previous 350Z had a space saver but after my brake upgrade that tiny thing wouldn’t fit anyway.

    I keep a tire inflation and plug kit in the truck and ‘Vette just in case. I use the truck for towing duties and my trailer also has a full size spare. I learned the hard way that its lugs are a different size, so now I carry a 4-way lug wrench as well.

    In general AAA is the answer since changing a tire is not easy task road side especially on the highway. If you can reach a safe place then you have a shot provided your last tire change guy didn’t go nuts with the air gun. Aside from the lug nut issue you still have to use that ridiculous scissor jack that is just an accident waiting to happen.

  • avatar
    binksman

    We bought a 2001 CLK320 this year. For the first time in my 40 years, I tried to casually buy a car. Lesson relearned…

    A month after purchasing the car I picked up a bolt in the rear tire. I babied the car to employee parking, checked the spare and sure enough it was flat. I threw it in the back of the work car and filled it up that evening at a gas station. At 2 am, I get back the the car. Keep in mind all employee parking for 1000 employees is on the side of a hill- nothing is level. I pulled out the recover gear from the Merc, and sure as I can tell it’s never been used. I figured out the factory jack and after about four inches of lift just enough to get the flat spot off the ground but not enough to put a new wheel on, the jack folds in half. Not only is the jack bent and unusable in either direction, but on this car, the jack attached by a horizontal peg that fits in a corresponding hole in the side of the car. That peg was pointed downwards and the pressure made removing the jack next to impossible.

    Still had the work car to pull supplies from, so I took the jack out of the Ford Escape. Tried and true scissor jack- with a lift block on top! I’ve never seen this on a jack. As a cheap means of lifting leaf sprung vehicles, yes, but never a jack. I found one of the few spots under the car when the jack will even fit. I was able to lift the car enough to get the Merc jack out and high enough to replace the wheel. But as the wheel came off, I noticed, the Ford jack also starting to fold in half only sideways. Quickly I pulled the spare from its chock block position and slid it under the bare rotor just in time for the car to jack to completely collapse.

    What should have been a 10 minute tire change turned into a 3 hour ordeal involving running home in a company car and getting proper tools from the garage. I grabbed a decent scissor lift from my old parts bin for the Merc on trips I carry my cordless impact gun with sockets for the lugs and the end of the scissor jack.. Even on the truck, the entire process takes less than five minutes and is safer that both the Mercedes and Ford options.

  • avatar
    binksman

    We bought a 2001 CLK320 this year. For the first time in my 40 years, I tried to casually buy a car. Lesson relearned…

    A month after purchasing the car I picked up a bolt in the rear tire. I babied the car to employee parking, checked the spare and sure enough it was flat. I threw it in the back of the work car and filled it up that evening at a gas station. At 2 am, I get back the the car. Keep in mind all employee parking for 1000 employees is on the side of a hill- nothing is level. I pulled out the recover gear from the Merc, and sure as I can tell it’s never been used. I figured out the factory jack and after about four inches of lift just enough to get the flat spot off the ground but not enough to put a new wheel on, the jack folds in half. Not only is the jack bent and unusable in either direction, but on this car, the jack attached by a horizontal peg that fits in a corresponding hole in the side of the car. That peg was pointed downwards and the pressure made removing the jack next to impossible.

    Still had the work car to pull supplies from, so I took the jack out of the Ford Escape. Tried and true scissor jack- with a lift block on top! I’ve never seen this on a jack. As a cheap means of lifting leaf sprung vehicles, yes, but never a jack. I found one of the few spots under the car when the jack will even fit. I was able to lift the car enough to get the Merc jack out and high enough to replace the wheel. But as the wheel came off, I noticed, the Ford jack also starting to fold in half only sideways. Quickly I pulled the spare from its chock block position and slid it under the bare rotor just in time for the car to jack to completely collapse.

    What should have been a 10 minute tire change turned into a 3 hour ordeal involving running home in a company car and getting proper tools from the garage. I grabbed a decent scissor lift from my old parts bin for the Merc and on trips I carry my cordless impact gun with sockets for the wheel bolts and the end of the scissor jack. The entire spare-changing process takes less than five minutes including packing and unpacking and is safer that both factory Mercedes or Ford options.


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