ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2012) — The national travel/leisure group AAA Inc. is cautioning car shoppers to check whether the new car they're considering buying is equipped with a spare tire — because more and more often they're not.
To meet increasingly stringent government fuel-efficiency standards, some vehicle manufactures are looking to save weight by leaving out the spare tire and equipping new vehicles with an emergency sealant and inflator kit or run-flat tires, AAA said.
“Unfortunately many vehicle owners may be unaware that their vehicle has no spare tire until they experience a flat tire,” said John Nielsen, national director of auto buying and consumer information. “Consumers should review their owner's manual and emergency maintenance supplies they have in the vehicle and be informed about alternatives to a spare to prevent panic or a delay when encountering a flat tire.”
AAA said a spare tire, related tools and a jack can weigh more than 40 pounds, and eliminating the spare and accessories doesn't add cost to the vehicle.
Car companies that have taken this route have cited research that shows a declining number of consumers choose to use their spare tire even when they have one, instead opting to use roadside assistance services, like those offered by AAA. In addition, they say, using a tire sealant/inflator kit often is safer and faster than changing a flat tire.
To illustrate its point, AAA published a list of more than 75 car models available in the U.S. that don't offer a spare tire.
The majority of those listed are vehicles with run-flat tires or high-performance/specialty cars. Among the more mainstream cars, though, that don't offer spares or offer them as options only are: Audi Q5, Q7 and S4; Cadillac CTS, SRX and STS; Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, Equinox and Volt; Ford Explorer, Focus and Mustang; Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid; and Volvo C30, C70, S60, XC60 and XC70.
AAA recommends vehicle owners:
- Inspect the car and consult the owner's manual. If the vehicle has a spare, be sure it is properly inflated and stowed. If there is no spare, ensure there is an alternate solution, such as run-flat tires or an emergency sealant and inflator kit.
- If the car is equipped with a sealant/inflator kit, AAA recommends replacing it every five years or after its use. Sealants can become less effective with age.
AAA claims more than 53 million members.