ORLANDO, Fla. — The vehicle industry's growing practice of eliminating the spare tire is creating "unnecessary hassle and expense" for drivers, according to car owners club AAA Inc., which said it responded to 450,000 emergency calls last year from drivers stranded without a spare tire.
AAA notes that its research shows 28 percent of 2017 model-year vehicles are not equipped with a spare tire as standard equipment.
"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 Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair.
"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."
AAA estimates nearly 20 percent of U.S. drivers do not know how to change a flat tire, based on its own research.
In addition, Mr. Nielsen said the combination of low-profile tires and no spare make newer vehicles especially vulnerable to roadside tire trouble.
AAA notes that vehicle makers are eliminating the spare tire in an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel economy.