Would you drive without a spare tire?

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prairieman
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Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by prairieman » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:16 pm

I recently purchased a Prius Prime and am currently waiting for delivery. I have come to realize, much to my surprise, that it comes without a spare and, in fact, has no room for one. I probably would not have purchased the car had I known this.
But now that I’m committed, I started thinking more closely about the economics of the spare tire.
In particular:
I have been driving around with a spare in my trunk for 45 years and never once used it!
Every car problem I’ve had has involved calling AAA. If I already have AAA road service, then they’ll come help me with a tire problem (if I have one), too.
As a retired person, time is no longer equivalent to money. I am rarely on a tight schedule and could easily wait for AAA rather than fix the tire myself.
OK, I realize I might be rationalizing, because I like the car I’m waiting for ..... but, maybe not. In a world filled with cell phones, tire pressure sensors, and better tires, in general, maybe the cost of carrying a spare tire has become greater than the potential benefit.

Gill
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Gill » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:23 pm

Does the car have run-flat tires?
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Tamarind
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Tamarind » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:24 pm

For daily use I wouldn't think twice about going without a spare. Like you I have a smartphone and AAA subscription.

If you do long trips in more remote areas or places without cell service, perhaps pick up a lightweight spare to pack for those occasions?

MathWizard
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by MathWizard » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:28 pm

I've used spare tires many time, but less so as time goes on.
Road hazards are about the only thing that is going to stop us now.
(I changed one on my wife's car 2 years ago when a construction crew left a bolt in the road,
which did a number of a rear tire.)

I'm not sure I'd want to change a tire on an interstate anymore. Cars go by
doing at least 70 (sometimes 80). (The vast bulk of my out of town driving is on the interstate.)
The only issue is whether AAA is going to bring a tire with them, or charge you for a tow back
into town of you don't have a spare.

Quaestner
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Quaestner » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:30 pm

Prime owner here. Your Prime does come with an inflator kit - goo that seals some flats, so you do have that option. I don't like the idea of riding without a spare either - especially on long trips, so I bought a used Prius spare tire from a junk yard. It fits. Since I rarely have people in the back seat, I stash it there. That said, I'll look into getting "run flat" tires when the original tires need replacing. You've detailed many reasons to not worry about the spare, so enjoy your Prime!

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willthrill81
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:31 pm

I've been driving for more than 20 years, and I've only needed a spare once. The tread separated from the rest of the tire, so it wasn't repairable.

We now always drive with an air compressor, a tire repair kit (that I know how to use), and a can of Slime (better than Fix-a-Flat) emergency tire repair and inflator. We also have a compact spare tire, but I would try to use the above methods first.
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Normchad
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Normchad » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:33 pm

I am currently driving a car without a spare tire, and I’m not comfortable about the situation.

I like having a full size spare and a Jack. Truthfully, I’ve never once used it out on the road, but dang nab it, I want it.

Still contemplating what to do here. The car doesn’t really have a nice place to keep a spare either.....

I’ve got AAA which is something. But the few times in my life when I’ve used them the experience has been less than stellar.

I like knowing that I could change my tire in 10-15 minutes in a long trip and just keep going on my way.

rich126
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by rich126 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:34 pm

I bought a Hyundai Elantra back in 2012 and some time afterwards had a flat. I hadn't realized they have no spare tires (regular size or the small size one). So I called AAA or whatever service and had it towed. Fortunately there was space for a spare and I did purchase one.

In most cases getting a flat isn't a big deal but if you are on a road trip and not close to anything, or if the weather is bad and it will take forever to get someone to tow you, I think a spare tire is very useful. Maybe they are better now but many years ago I had to wait many hours for AAA to come and tow my car and that was common back then.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:42 pm

I drove a Lotus Elise for 4 years which has no room for a spare. It will fit 2 electric guitars in the "trunk" (behind the engine). Also, the Lotus had different size (both width and diameter) tires, so a spare would have been of no use anyways.

On other "normal" cars, I or my immediate family have had flats on the road at least a dozen times. I do tend to check tires often. Found a screw in one of the car my son drives.
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ljb1234
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by ljb1234 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:48 pm

I just switched the tires on my car from run flats to non-run flats. I never liked the stiff ride.
Of course, there is no spare tire, so I bought a can of Fix-a-Flat and a 12v air compressor and put them in the trunk area. I have not had a flat in years, but I figure this guarantees I'll get one.
If you have a spare, could you get the lug nuts off and change the tire? Maybe, but maybe not.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:50 pm

My wife's Ford Fusion Energi (plug-in hybrid) has no spare tire. Just a fix it kit.

The previous car Ford C-Max Energi had no spare tire.

Knock on wood. Never had a flat on either car. Not really much of a place to put one either.

I said, if you get a flat, stop. Call me or we'll call a tire repair place.
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averagedude
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by averagedude » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:55 pm

Having a flat tire is similar to other things in life such as speeding tickets, car accidents, ect.. You may go 25+ years and have none, or you may have 2 or 3 in a matter of months.

surfstar
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by surfstar » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:56 pm

We also have a Prime. We do drive without a spare.

quantAndHold
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:56 pm

I got stranded by a flat once 20 years ago. The only time in my life that happened.

I’ve been stranded several times since then by other fairly common things going wrong with the car.

I don’t carry spare parts for those things either.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.

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JMacDonald
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by JMacDonald » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:58 pm

I recently bought a Honda Insight that came with no spare tire. However, there is a space for the spare, and I bought one for the Insight. I have had the bad luck to have two tire in the past that could not be repaired so without a spare I would had to be towed. I would not have bought the Insight without a spare tire.
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rkhusky
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by rkhusky » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:58 pm

We paid extra to get a spare and the mounting kit for our minivan.

Unladen_Swallow
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Unladen_Swallow » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:59 pm

Does your car have run flat tires?

My car doesn't have a spare, and it has run flats. And I have AAA. I am comfortable with driving around.

*Personal feelings, not a recommendation.
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skepticalobserver
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by skepticalobserver » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:06 pm

No.

Nail punctures and curb blowouts happen. Get AAA and a spare, otherwise you’ll be towed to who knows where.

bugleheadd
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by bugleheadd » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:10 pm

in a span of 5 years, all 4 of my tires have had leaks due to running over nails. some of them 2 or 3 x. luckily most were near or at home by the time the tire deflated. i have in my trunk a full size, donut, two air compressors, scissor jack, compact trolley jack, two tire irons, torque wrench and various wrench sizes and adaptors.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:11 pm

What an interesting question.

My SUV is 15 years old and has a full size spare. That spare is the original tire. Is it even safe to use after all this time?
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Watty
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:17 pm

prairieman wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:16 pm
I recently purchased a Prius Prime.....
One thing to look into is how common the tire size is for your car.

I had a Honda Fit with an odd small tire size. I got a puncture in the sidewall that was not repairable when I was on vacation going through rural North Carolina where there were plenty of small town tire stores. I had to try a number of them to find the tire size that I needed. I finally got lucky and found a tire store that had just one of that tire size. The guy at the tire store was real surprised that the had one since they would not normally carry that size.

I had a mini spare so I was OK until I could get to the tire store. The only good size city was about 50 miles away so that would have been pushing the rage that you are suppose to drive the mini spare if I needed to go to the good size city.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by fru-gal » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:19 pm

Awhile back I was driving to an appointment in another state and got a flat tire. The tire was really wrecked, although I forget how and why. I called AAA and explained the situation and the guy said he would put the spare on, but I couldn't drive it as far as I needed to go for the appointment. Why not I said. Turns out he thought it was one of those wimpy substitute tires, but it was a real one.

Mr.BB
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Mr.BB » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:20 pm

LOL... As I read this I am sitting in a tire repair shop because I got a flat tire; so the answer is no.
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by fru-gal » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:20 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:11 pm
What an interesting question.

My SUV is 15 years old and has a full size spare. That spare is the original tire. Is it even safe to use after all this time?
When I get new tires, the tire people and I commune with them and the spare tire and decide if one of the replaced tires would make a better spare.

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FIREchief
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:25 pm

I would never buy a car without a spare, preferably a full size spare. Two questions about this:

a) if I call AAA do they bring a compatible spare tire if my car doesn't have one?
b) if not "a", and they have to tow my car in; what happens to my two passengers? Can we all cram into the tow truck or do they have to wait by the side of the road until "someone" picks them up?
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fourwheelcycle
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:33 pm

It's a real quandary. My wife and I each drive (our first) cars without spare tires. We bought them with our eyes open - we like the cars a lot but I worry constantly about getting a flat tire on one of our long driving vacations. We have had very few flat tires over our entire adult driving lifetimes. Most of them have been nail flats which did not damage the tires and which I can fix myself, on the road, with a plug kit and an inflator, which we carry in each car.

However, over the years we have had two sidewall flats that ruined our tires. If a flat like that happened on our way to a rented Florida condo, or on a trip out west in the middle of nowhere, we would have to be towed (for which we are covered) and we would probably have to sit in a motel for two days or more waiting for a very specific replacement tire to arrive (for which we may or may not be covered, quite aside from being late on our overall trip schedule).

Bottom line, my strategy is to try to enjoy our cars and hope we get no flats or only minor nail flats. Our first annual trip to Florida with a no-spare car is coming up this March.

PS. Our cars do have run flat tires, but if you drive on a run flat tire, even with a simple nail flat, and even for a mile or less, you have ruined it and you will still have to buy a new tire - and wait in a motel for it to arrive if you are away from home.
Last edited by fourwheelcycle on Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:36 pm

My Tesla Model X has different sized summer tires front and back (ie, staggered). The winter tires are a third size.

Thus, a spare would be impractical.

I do have a compressor I carry in the frunk and a can of some kind of sealant. Tesla Mobile Rangers or AAA will get to me if I need them.
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Trader Joe » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:39 pm

prairieman wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:16 pm
I recently purchased a Prius Prime and am currently waiting for delivery. I have come to realize, much to my surprise, that it comes without a spare and, in fact, has no room for one. I probably would not have purchased the car had I known this.
But now that I’m committed, I started thinking more closely about the economics of the spare tire.
In particular:
I have been driving around with a spare in my trunk for 45 years and never once used it!
Every car problem I’ve had has involved calling AAA. If I already have AAA road service, then they’ll come help me with a tire problem (if I have one), too.
As a retired person, time is no longer equivalent to money. I am rarely on a tight schedule and could easily wait for AAA rather than fix the tire myself.
OK, I realize I might be rationalizing, because I like the car I’m waiting for ..... but, maybe not. In a world filled with cell phones, tire pressure sensors, and better tires, in general, maybe the cost of carrying a spare tire has become greater than the potential benefit.
No, I would never purchase (or drive) a car without a spare tire.

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mmmodem
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by mmmodem » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:47 pm

I had a Prius plug-in (Prius Prime from 2012). I also cautiously made the decision to accept driving with no spare tire. We did have 1 flat tire incident over our 150k miles ownership. I rescued my wife with the spare from my regular Prius. In essence, we "shared the spare."

Don't use the fix a flat unless you really have to. There will be an obnoxious upcharge to clean it out from inside the rims.

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RootSki
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by RootSki » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:47 pm

My 2019 XC60 has an inflator kit, no spare. So I check my tire pressures each time I get gas. No big deal, it’s a lot of weight to carry that I’ll probably never use.

Chuck
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Chuck » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:53 pm

I have been driving for 25 years, and I have never used a spare tire.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Johnny Thinwallet » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:11 pm

My wife got a flat just last fall which required changing out to a spare tire. She drove through a construction zone right before the flat so it was likely a road hazard in the construction zone.

Fortunately she was able to get into a gas station parking lot, which made everything significantly safer than being on the side of a road (or interstate). I left work to meet her and change the tire, then the spare got us home and eventually to a tire shop once we found a shop to get a matching tire for replacement.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:12 pm

In today’s world it is not a good thing to be stuck on the road even waiting for a tow or AAA.
Best have a spare because if you are on an interstate, or some such road with little or no shoulders.You,don’t want to pull over there. Very dangerous. So you might need to drive farther to get to a safer area. This may damage your flat tire and you will need a real spare.
Something to think about.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:13 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:11 pm
What an interesting question.

My SUV is 15 years old and has a full size spare. That spare is the original tire. Is it even safe to use after all this time?
As long as it hasn't dry rotted and holds air pressure well, it should be fine, especially since you'll likely get a new tire very soon after putting this one on.
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by ZMonet » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:21 pm

A number of sports cars don't have spares (Lexus SC430 comes to mine). They come with run-flats, but those run rough so most owners switched to regular tires. In this day and age of AAA, roadside assistance, and ubiquitous cell phones, I don't think it is that big a deal. I certainly wouldn't be carrying a spare in my backseat. You'll worry about it for a few drives, but after awhile it won't even register.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:22 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (car).
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prairieman
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by prairieman » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:27 pm

OMG! I never expected so many replies. Those that talk about experiences with flats do bother me, but I have had none. Well, I have had tires that lost pressure that I brought in for a repair. There is apparently some sort of goop and a pump that come with the car but, I read, the goop ruins the pressure sensor.
I think I’m going to go the route of buying an extra repair kit (with the players) and rubber plug. I watched it used once and thought I could do that if I was truly desperate. But again, I think I’m rationalizing because I really do like everything else about this car.
Oh well. Many choices in life are really just a gamble. in this case, I don’t care about the added expense or time involved if I get a flat. I do care about safety, but it’s almost unthinkable that I’d be caught without cell phone service in the places I drive 99% of the time. i‘ll think about purchasing a Prius spare from a junkyard, however, if or when we decide to cross an area that Verizon doesn’t cover.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by DIFAR31 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:33 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:13 pm
BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:11 pm
What an interesting question.

My SUV is 15 years old and has a full size spare. That spare is the original tire. Is it even safe to use after all this time?
As long as it hasn't dry rotted and holds air pressure well, it should be fine, especially since you'll likely get a new tire very soon after putting this one on.
I had a flat tire, probably from a small road hazard, on Christmas eve last year doing 70+ MPH on the interstate. Not fun. The nine year old car had an original equipment donut spare, never used, that is stored under the back of the vehicle, between the frame rails. When the road service guy got to the scene and the spare was lowered, he had serious concerns not about the tire but about the steel rim that had been subject to nine New England winters and was not looking good (rust and corrosion). Also, the valve stem cap on the spare could not be removed to check the tire pressure. The road service guy said, "well, it looks like it's inflated enough." All around, not confidence inspiring.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:37 pm

prairieman wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:27 pm
I think I’m going to go the route of buying an extra repair kit (with the players) and rubber plug. I watched it used once and thought I could do that if I was truly desperate.
Those repair kits are pretty easy to use IF you can find the leak. That's where a little spray bottle with water and soap (what the pros use) comes in handy.
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Northern Flicker » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:40 pm

If I already have AAA road service, then they’ll come help me with a tire problem (if I have one), too.
And if you don’t have a spare tire, replacing the flat tire with the spare will not be an option for the AAA-registered service person who is sent out. You likely would be looking at a tow to a tire store when it would otherwise have been possible to install a spare and you are on your way to your destination.

To answer the question of whether I have driven with no spare, the answer is yes— when I’ve had a flat tire, I’ve installed the spare and driven the car without a 2nd spare available to a tire store to install a new tire.
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Sconie » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:54 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:11 pm
What an interesting question.

My SUV is 15 years old and has a full size spare. That spare is the original tire. Is it even safe to use after all this time?
Could be----especially since it has been out of the sun-----just don't be getting on the highway and going 80 with it, at least I wouldn't.....
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by neilpilot » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:55 pm

My car came with OEM run flats. No spare, no jack, and no inflator. Problem is the OEM tires, which in theory are 65k mile rated, typically only deliver about 20k miles on this particular car.

So at 21k miles I decided to replace the run flats with non-run flat tires. I bought a donut spare on ebay, and now carry the spare and a jack. These items only just fit in the space where a spare would normally be stored.

When I shopped for the replacement tires, the tire shop I would normally use would not sell me the tires. It's a national chain with a policy to only sell run flat tires on cars that are delivered with OEM run flats. Even though in other countries this same model car is offered with the option purchasing OEM non-run flats and a jack kit.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Afty » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:58 pm

Like others in this thread, I have been driving for 20+ years and have never used a spare. My current car doesn’t have a spare and I’m fine with that.

quantAndHold
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:03 pm

I don’t carry any other spare parts around “just in case.” I don’t see that a tire is any different. In 40 years of driving, I’ve been stranded by the side of the road maybe 6 or 7 times. Only one of those times was for a tire, and that was my fault because I ignored a slow leak for several weeks.

This all just seems like a throwback to the days when tires were less durable than they are now.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by AlohaJoe » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:10 pm

Every person with a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle -- including the billions who do so in China, India, Indonesia, etc -- drives every day without a spare tire.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:21 pm

There are definitely places in the mountains of Va. where there is no cell phone service, those roads are isolated and get pretty cold. (In the summer they are sort of spooky too, you can feel the eyes of the critters watching you from the woods; I wouldn't want to be stuck without a spare.) I recall there were stretches of I76 in CO where there was no cell phone service, but perhaps that has changed.
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Church Lady » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:21 pm

Not if I could help it. The included spare informed my choice of car.

I get nails or screws in my tires fairly often. I'm not sure how because I surely do not drive in areas I would expect to find these things.

I call AAA and they mount the spare for me. If I didn't have a spare, I guess they would tow my car.

The trend for new cars seems to be to eliminate the spare tire. :x :x :x
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JoMoney
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by JoMoney » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:25 pm

My car didn't come with a spare tire, it came with a slightly fancier version of a can of fix-a-flat and an mini air compressor.
I thought that was the standard these days.
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Katietsu
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Katietsu » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:37 pm

I have had to call a tow truck or for service more than a dozen times. Only two have been for tires others.Someone pointed out that you do not carry around an extra battery or spare fuel pump when I questioned not having a spare. Seemed reasonable.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Would you drive without a spare tire?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:55 pm

I would. Over 20 years ago I vowed that I had changed my last tire after doing so on the side of a busy interstate.

If AAA can't bail me out, I can figure some other way to deal with a flat. I've been in worse predicaments with a vehicle in the past. It isn't that hard, but it can be inconvenient. At any rate, that flat 20 years ago was my most recent. *knock wood*

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