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Spare Tires in New Cars: What You Need To Know

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited November 2015 in General
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Spare Tires in New Cars: What You Need To Know

Decades ago, nearly every car came with a full-size spare tire for those misadventures on the road. But now, automakers have shifted toward temporary spares, run-flat tires or no spare at all.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • clarkma5clarkma5 Posts: 0
    I love the full-size spare on my GTI, I've had a couple times where I've used it for several days while waiting for the correct replacement tire to be sourced and it's nice not to feel limited by a temporary donut. I can't imagine calling roadside assistance for a flat, I can change a tire in about 5 minutes. One time I had my car loaded with people and things and I had to unload the entirely full trunk to unbury all the stuff and then put it all back when I was done and it still only took ten minutes! Also, another benefit of full-size spares: the flat tire and wheel fit where the spare tire used to fit! What do you do if you have a flat with no spare tire? Where does the flat go?
  • Our 2012 Mustang did not come with a spare or jack. It was just as the article stated, when didn't find out till after we got the car home.
    I spoke with Ford and the dealer and got conflicting answers about an option for a spare. Also it states in the owners manual to replace the valve stem and TPMS on the tire after using the mobility kit. To me this mobility kit is like adding salt to the wound. Give me a full size spare and jack and I'll deal with the fuel economy with my right foot.
  • Totally agree...I have 2011 Mustang and after owning it for 18 months and logging 18k miles, I had a blow out in the side wall. I had a similiar experience with Ford and the Dealership. In fact, when I called Ford Roadside Assistance they sent out a guy to put my spare on. When he came into my work area and told me my spare was missing, you can only guess my surprise. I went out to the trunk, we started looking around and sure enough, no spare. There was an area which looked like it could hold a spare but nothing. I immediately called the dealership service....THATS when I found out my 2011 Ford muscle car had no spare or donut. The service 'advisor' also told me that there wasn't even an option for one. GRRRRRR. I was deceived and to date, no apology from Ford or the dealership and ZERO/NONE ownership of this boondoggle of a decision by ford.
  • This is one of the bone-headed decisions by some car manufacturers just to be able to meet the stringent CAFE standards set by the US government. They wanted the car to be lighter, thus increasing its fuel mileage, but no matter how they try to sugarcoat it by saying it was done for the owner's safety, its inherent downsides still outweigh its supposed positive benefits.

    Since that tire inflator kit specifically states a gooey substance that will seal the puncture, the owner will then have to face the reality of replacing or repairing the tire, the TPMS, and another to clean the mess that goo left on the wheel.

    Or if the owner relied on roadside assistance, 9 times out of 10 those repair guys are expecting that they'll just swap the flat tire with the spare one and they're done. But if you give them the tire inflator kit, I highly doubt that they'll use that for you for fear of being complained about or worse, sued.

    Bring back those spare tires please!
  • Not having a spare is a dangerous thing when you are on I95 on a bridge and suffer a blowout. It is even worse when it is at night and the dealership is closed. And worse still is that you have to negotiate with the tow truck driver to take you to a hotel.

    I will never be stuck without a spare intentionally again. This blowout cost me 121 dollars for the hotel room and another 121 to repair the tire at the dealership plus cab fare to the dealer. Not a good nor safe deal when purchasing a new car!
  • i would so much rather have a full size spare with an identical wheel. sure it might "hurt" fuel economy but only a few hundred dollars over the lifetime of the vehicle and it sucks buying 5 new tires but for the peace of mind it brings it is so worth it knowing that a flat tire is just an inconvenience and not a major catastrophe. plus you can incorperate the spare into the rotation and get maybe 20% longer wear if you buy tires that last a long time you may never have to purchase more then one set of tires as long as you own the car! dougnuts are easyer to change but not that much easyer and then you have to go to a service station SOON if you drive more then a few miles you are replacing 2 tires not just one. honestly i don't see an argument for anything but a full size spare
  • What I, and I think a lot of other people would appreciate is being able to see a *LIST* of what type [if any] of spare comes with given vehicles.

    You list numbers and percentages of cars that no longer have spares, but you don't tell us *which ones* they are.
  • shorebreezeshorebreeze Posts: 1
    edited December 2014
    I bought a new car last summer and was seriously tempted by the Chevy Cruze diesel; it's a great car and equipped exactly as I would like. However, I ended up with a Sonic LT Turbo, and aside from getting the pickup of the diesel in a gasoline car and having something that's easier to park in the city, the big thing was the lack of spare tire on the Cruze diesel. And it cannot be fitted with one, because the diesel emissions fluid tank, which also robs the trunk of some height, sits where the spare tire should be.

    The spare tire is important because, if you can't repair the tire with the inflation kit (or would rather not total it with fluid when a simple repair would suffice), you're stuck without roadside assistance. And if you're out of cell phone range, you're stuck, period, without someone stopping to help out. If they'd convert Onstar to satellite phone service, maybe I'd consider it.

    Hopefully GM will go the Mazda route, lower the compression ratio, which reduces NOx emissions by enough to make it realistic to remove the remaining NOx by re-burning the exhaust, lose the need for emissions fluid altogether and restore the spare tire to its rightful place.

    A Mazda 6 diesel engine in a Cruze with a spare tire and no emissions fluid? Now that's a car I'd buy in an instant.
  • cgtcgt Posts: 1
    The mobility kit is useless. I had a sidewall blowout and after 5 hours and $170 I got my tire replaced. And this was with free roadside assistance. After my experience, I bought a spare and a jack to replace the kit. I know that some cars cannot hold a spare, but for those that can I recommend getting a spare. Even the driver of the roadside assistance told me that if I had a spare he could have just changed the tire for me. So people who cannot change their flat on their own need to be aware of this option.
  • rick461rick461 Posts: 1
    I wrote to Edmunds a couple of years ago strongly suggesting that they include in all new car reviews whether or not the car came with a spare, either standard or as an option. They said they'd look into it. So far there has been no change in their policy.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    I bought a full size spare tire and wheel for my 2015 Hyundai Elantra which did not come with a spare. Peace of mind is more important then savings in fuel.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Was it an "official" Hyundai accessory? If so, I assume it fits in back with some type of bolt-down system?
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    No. I will have to buy something from the Hyundai dealer. It is a full size tire and wheel bought from Tirerack.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited December 2015
    That's kind of a bummer but at least you have an option from Hyundai to secure it. I really like having a spare, even a compact one, but I don't like heavy stuff like that just lying around loose in the back. There's usually enough small flying projectiles in my car as it is.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited December 2015
    stever said:

    That's kind of a bummer but at least you have an option from Hyundai to secure it. I really having a spare, even a compact one, but I don't like heavy stuff like that just lying around loose in the back. There's usually enough small flying projectiles in my car as it is.

    Luckily they provided a huge wheel well which can fit a full size tire with wheel.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=T4pKsO7jx3A

    Thanks to Hyundai. so no shifting of tire in the trunk,
  • Here is my problem. We just bought a 2016 Dodge Caravan. On the 3rd day of having it we had a flat tire out of town. We had not yet read the manual on the vehicle. And we did not know it didn't come with a spare tire. I looked for the spare and found a empty spot on the vehicle where it should be. We called the roadside assistance that comes with the vehicle. They said they don't fix tires and we would have to have it towed. But they only tow to dealerships and they were not open on the weekend. Otherwise we are stuck with the towing bill. After looking at the manual we found out it had a sealant kit. Luckily the tire sealed and we made it home. So on Monday I took it to the dealer to get the tire fixed and a new can of sealant. And I asked for a price to get a spare tire put on. Well the tire we were told had a hole in the sidewall. But I saw the sealant coming out of the tread near the side of the tire. So they told us we had to replace the tire which we bought from them $310.00 and they told us it would take 3 days to get it in. They also told us the sealant they would have to order in and costs $60.00. On top of that they quoted us to get a spare tire put on would be $1200.00 installed. Because you have to buy a kit to have it put on and that is the price with insallation. After complaining to the Chrysler customer assistance they did nothing. What I told them was every vehicle should come with a spare tire it is a safety issue. The reason the spare tire is there is to get you out of a bad situation. And I told them they should at least include the hardware to put the spare tire on the vehicle. I mean come on $1200.00 to get a spare tire! What it wrong with these people.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited December 2015

    Here is my problem. We just bought a 2016 Dodge Caravan. On the 3rd day of having it we had a flat tire out of town. We had not yet read the manual on the vehicle. And we did not know it didn't come with a spare tire. I looked for the spare and found a empty spot on the vehicle where it should be. We called the roadside assistance that comes with the vehicle. They said they don't fix tires and we would have to have it towed. But they only tow to dealerships and they were not open on the weekend. Otherwise we are stuck with the towing bill. After looking at the manual we found out it had a sealant kit. Luckily the tire sealed and we made it home. So on Monday I took it to the dealer to get the tire fixed and a new can of sealant. And I asked for a price to get a spare tire put on. Well the tire we were told had a hole in the sidewall. But I saw the sealant coming out of the tread near the side of the tire. So they told us we had to replace the tire which we bought from them $310.00 and they told us it would take 3 days to get it in. They also told us the sealant they would have to order in and costs $60.00. On top of that they quoted us to get a spare tire put on would be $1200.00 installed. Because you have to buy a kit to have it put on and that is the price with insallation. After complaining to the Chrysler customer assistance they did nothing. What I told them was every vehicle should come with a spare tire it is a safety issue. The reason the spare tire is there is to get you out of a bad situation. And I told them they should at least include the hardware to put the spare tire on the vehicle. I mean come on $1200.00 to get a spare tire! What it wrong with these people.

    That is precisely the reason I bought a full size spare tire and wheel combination from Tirerack.com. You can choose the tire and wheel by feeding the car you own. They will mount the tire and send it to you by UPS along with lug nuts. DO NOT BUY SPARE FROM THE DEALER.

    Get the new tire for the original wheel from a tire services and choose your brand .OEM tires can be expensive.
    I got the full size tire and wheel combination ( Hyundai Elantra ) with mounting for $206 , from Tirerack.
    Your minivan tire and wheel combo should not cost more then $400.

    It is a total ripoff that you paid $310+$60 + $1200 = $1570 !!
    This is what the manufacturers want you to spend. If you had a spare. it would have cost you only the cost of a single tire.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited December 2015
    In my new 2015 Hyundai Elantra , I was pleasantly surprised they have given space in the wheel well for storing a full-size spare wheel and tire. Not many cars nowadays come with any spare tire kit or the space to put a full size spare and wheel combo.
    The full size spare wheel and tire combo costs almost the same as the spare tire kit, so why not put the full size spare ?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Probably would hurt their fleet CAFE numbers....
  • The biggest piece of mythical b.s. is leaving out the spare is for fuel economy. Yeah, I suppose in a lab dynamometer engineers will distinguish the .05 mpg differenced between no spare, a donut spare and a full size spare. My previous car, a stick shift Ford Probe had a full size spare and I never had a problem exceeding the combined city/highway EPA number.

    My current car, a stick shift Corolla has a donut spare and again I have no problem beating the EPA city/highway numbers. I don't know if the tests are done full of test dummies representing a full complement of passengers however that's not a typical use of a car. Weight is weight. Are the dummies overweight or like the average American driver? A donut spare weights about 30 lbs.

    The bottom line is the vanishing spare is adding to carmakers' bottom lines. It's all about the profits.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,051
    edited June 2017

    The bottom line is the vanishing spare is adding to carmakers' bottom lines. It's all about the profits.

    Where would they be without profits?
  • PissedoffPissedoff Posts: 1
    edited May 5
    I agree,
    It’s all about the profits!
    No spare what a joke!
    I found out the hard way also.
    Bought two tires so I could feel a little safer for a 3000 mile trip...
    BMW and Mercedes KMA! I will never Purchase another one.
  • SafeEasy19SafeEasy19 NYPosts: 1
    I bought a full sized spare tire from the Toyota dealer for my 2014. Avalon. It fits easily where the donut was, although not tethered. Regular carpet mat covers it. My best decision ever!!! I got a sidewall flat 300 miles from home on New Year’s Day. I just needed to wait an hour for service man to change the tire.
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