Hey, Where’s the Spare?

Have you ever had one of those mornings that can only mean a great afternoon is on the way?

You know the type of morning: You get out of bed a little late, which makes you leave for work a few minutes late, but as you’re backing out of the driveway, you notice a flat tire, so you transfer your stuff into your spouse’s car and take that one, only to spill an entire cup of coffee on your lap, because the cupholders in that car aren’t deep enough. (Maybe there’s something to that new Washington law disallowing coffee while driving.)

Just when you think you’ve made it through and have clear sailing to work, the road ahead is closed due to construction, and you have to take a time-consuming detour.

Later, when it’s finally time to change the flat, you discover that there’s no spare and no jack.

My car, like many other new cars on the market today, has eschewed the traditional spare-tire-and-jack setup for tire repair kits to save space and reduce weight. There’s a major problem with this, though.

Tire repair kits consist of an electric inflator and a sticky sealant that plugs holes. The hitch is that it works only for damage to the tire’s tread, and once used, the tire is often scrap. That means you’ll need to buy at least one new tire (probably four if your car is equipped with all-wheel drive).

Plus you’re on the hook for another bottle of sealant. This all means that the days of putting on your spare and having your tire repaired at little or nor cost may become a distant memory. A flat tire should cost nothing but time, but now it could mean a tow and a new set of tires.

Maybe most people reach for their phones instead of the jack when they encounter a flat, but I guess I’m old fashioned. I’d rather have a spare, preferably a full-size one, even at the cost of some space or fuel economy.

Having one would have made for a much happier morning.

Do you want your car to have a spare tire and a jack, or is a repair kit good enough for you?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Shopping for a new vehicle?
Bring along CarGurus’ mobile app to help check prices, find good deals, and research cars on your smartphone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.