Why Some Car Manufacturers Are Starting To Ditch Spare Tires

Why on earth would a brand spanking new vehicle come without a spare tire? What will you do if you encounter a flat fire in your new ride? Flat tires happen to the best of us, even if you’re just driving your brand new car out of the lot and happen to have some really, really bad luck. Well, apparently nearly one-third of new 2017 and 2018 production vehicles did not include a spare tire. Why is this the case, and again, what are you going to do if one of your tires goes flat on the road?

Spare Tire Or No Spare Tire, HOUSE Automotive Can Service Your Porsche

That’s our topic of focus in today’s blog post from our friendly independent Porsche mechanic team here in Pasadena. Naturally, we’re quite accustomed to encountering spare tires in our customers’ Porsches, but our independent Porsche specialists were curious about investigating this new automobile trend in a little more detail, so here we are. For those living in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area in need of independent Porsche service that you can rely on, get in touch with the Porsche experts today by visiting this page!

Now, let’s check out what’s going on with this whole spare tire (or lack thereof) debacle).

Some Numbers

According to a new study from AAA, nearly one-third of new 2017 model year vehicles don’t come equipped with a spare tire. Even though the number of cars without spares has decreased in the last few years – it was about 36 percent back in 2015, believe it or not – many drivers still don’t seem to realize that this is a problem. Well, until they get a flat, of course. The case in point here is that AAA claimed to receive more than 450,000 calls from members in 2016 who had flats and were (unpleasantly) surprised to discover that they didn’t have any spares. Strange, right? Call us automotive traditionalists with our old-school spare tires, but we think so.

Why Manufacturers Aren’t Including Spare Tires

Automotive manufacturers aren’t going to risk alienating and stranding their customers without a few good reasons for doing so…right? However, a driver down on their luck who gets caught off guard might not agree with them, and that’s completely understandable, no matter how good the car company thinks the decision is. Here are a few primary reasons as to why car companies are ‘sparing’ the spare:

  • The car has run-flat tires instead (tires designed to be safely driven on after being punctured so that you can find an auto shop, but you can’t drive on them indefinitely)
  • It saves the manufacturer money (there’s no surprise)
  • The car weighs less without a spare tire
  • Because the car weighs less, manufacturers can claim that it gets a slightly higher fuel economy rating
  • Special design considerations (aerodynamics, trunk space, fuel tank placement, etc.)

Run-Flat Tires And Fuel Efficiency

If you’ve purchased…dare we say it, a BMW in recent years (gross, we know), the chances are that it doesn’t have a spare tire. That’s because they’re typically equipped with special run-flat tires like we mentioned above. They feature a stiff sidewall or internal reinforcement system. These special tires are designed to drive up to 50 miles (that’s slightly over 80 kilometers for basically everyone else in the world) after being punctured, so long as the top speed is below that of 50mph or 80kph. This is so that drivers can find a safe location to get the tire replaced, but this presents a couple (or more) problems:

  • Run-flat tires are expensive and more difficult to find than regular tires
  • The closest repair shop might be a lot more than 50 miles away, especially if you’re on a road trip

So if your run-flat, spare tire-less car gets a flat in the middle of nowhere, we’re really not sure what to tell you on that one. Some manufacturers include a “tire inflator kit” to easily patch up a flat without any mechanical knowhow, but they don’t work every time and the puncture can be no larger than 4mm for the kit to work. Alas, we digress….

Keep Your Porsche Serviced With The Best In The West

As far as our independent Porsche mechanic team in Pasadena is concerned, most Porsches come equipped with a spare tire, so you won’t need to worry about this issue. At least it’s something interesting to think about. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our independent Porsche specialists today!

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