AAA: Nearly one third of new vehicles have no spare tire

Mechanic changing a car wheel.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – In an effort to maximize fuel efficiency, some car makers are eliminating spare tires from new vehicles.

New research from AAA shows that 28% of 2017 model vehicles lacked a spare tire as a standard feature.

This creates more hassle for drivers in the event of a flat. In 2016, AAA was called for more than 450,000 drivers who were stranded without a spare tire.

To avoid unexpected headaches, AAA encourages drivers to make certain that they have a functioning spare.

“Having a flat tire can be a nuisance for drivers, but not having a spare could put them in an even more aggravating situation,” said John Paul, AAA Northeast Senior Manager of Traffic Safety. “This can turn the relatively routine process of changing a tire at the roadside into an inconvenient and costly situation that requires a tow to a repair facility.”

Many new vehicles come equipped with automatic tire pressure monitoring systems in an effort to alert drivers of potential issues ahead of time. However, AAA says the top cause for roadside assistance calls are tire-related.

Some automakers provide emergency tire-inflation kits as as substitute for spare tires. The kits are meant to provide a temporary fix, but are oftentimes unsuccessful. In addition, most kits are expensive and only last between four and eight years.

“With low-profile tires and the elimination of a spare tire, many newer vehicles are especially vulnerable to roadside tire trouble,” Mr. Paul said. “AAA urges drivers to make it a priority to check their vehicle’s equipment and know what to do if faced with a flat tire.”

To help prevent unexpected tire emergencies, AAA suggests drivers do the following:

  • Make sure your vehicle has a spare tire
  • Routinely inspect all five tires
  • Know how to use a tire-inflation kit if your car is equipped with one
  • Make sure tire-inflation kits have not expired