LA Times: Automakers sell more cars without spare tires

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JMacDonald
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LA Times: Automakers sell more cars without spare tires

Post by JMacDonald » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:35 pm

Hi,
I would not drive a car without a spare tire, would you?
Replacing the extra wheel with a run-flat tire or flat repair kit reduces weight, increases gas mileage and lowers costs. Those alternatives have drawbacks for drivers. Yet better technology has made flats less likely to occur, and motorists are relying more on roadside assistance services when they do.
http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/l ... 6760.story
Best Wishes, | Joe

Sidney
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Post by Sidney » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:44 pm

No. But I will say that I haven't had to change a tire in over 35 years.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

wilked
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Post by wilked » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:49 pm

My motorcycle doesn't have a spare tire :?

I think it is an interesting concept... I would have to think about it, I guess

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:53 pm

In college, my colleague's daughter had a flat, called AAA, got it changed. She told her dad sheepishly that she didn't want to wait for a hazardous waste day and had just snuck the old tire into the dumpster, and they'd taken it. "Oh, well," said her dad. "But we'd better get you a new spare." They selected one at a tire store and he opens the trunk and rummages for the wheel.

No wheel.

He asks her, about it, and points to the other wheels. "Oh, I threw that away, too. Isn't that part of the tire?"
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Post by Sam I Am » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:50 pm

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Driver
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Post by Driver » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:11 am

My sportscar didn't come with one. Space was limited since the engine was in the back. Although it did come with a can of tire sealant and 24x7 roadside assistance. I just bought an 80's sportscar and and it did come with one, but I've since taken it out. It does make a difference in the steering feel since they aren't exactly light (spare is located in the front, engine is behind the seats). I do have AAA with 100 miles towing and do carry a full size spare with me if I'm going to be driving the car out of town. One of the first things I'd do on any car is to replace the spare with a full size rim if possible. Spares are only to be used in an emergency. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone speeding with a spare tire on. Also, spare tires are often overlooked when doing normal maintenance. They can dry rot and do need to be inspected on older cars.

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Post by Manbaerpig » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:48 am

my 335i came w/runflats. supposedly they'll do 60 completely flat, with as many flats as you'll care to have

I replaced them with potenza RE-01's (non runflats) and have a can of tire sealant in the trunk and a AAA card

foolish possibly, but my commute is 7 miles and I have AAA

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TomatoTomahto
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Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:15 am

Manbaerpig wrote:my 335i came w/runflats. supposedly they'll do 60 completely flat, with as many flats as you'll care to have

I replaced them with potenza RE-01's (non runflats) and have a can of tire sealant in the trunk and a AAA card

foolish possibly, but my commute is 7 miles and I have AAA
My wife's Audi TT came with run-flats, no spare. She got talked into tire insurance, which goes against our no-extended-warranty style, but as it turns out, on New Jersey's potholes, we have replaced 5 (yup FIVE) tires on the company's dime in three years. Never again run-flats! Other than that, in my 40+ years of driving, I've had one flat (caused by a misjudgment of where that darned curb was :-), my fault).

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TrustNoOne
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Post by TrustNoOne » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:22 am

I guess we will soon be looking back on the good old days when cars had those wimpy little half tires in the trunk....

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Ted Valentine
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Post by Ted Valentine » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:08 am

The last time I got a flat I took off my flat, got out the spare, put it on, lowered the jack only to find the spare was flat after sitting in the car for 10 years.

So I called roadside assistance and they towed me to a tire shop. The tow was covered under my insurance.

I think that spares are pretty much useless in this day with cell phones and 24 hour wrecker service almost anywhere.
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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:39 am

Ted Valentine wrote:The last time I got a flat I took off my flat, got out the spare, put it on, lowered the jack only to find the spare was flat after sitting in the car for 10 years.
Well, I feel all smug and virtuous then, because the other day I went down to the gas station to pump up my tires. After I'd done that I thought, oh, maybe I should check the spare. and heaved a big sigh and tossed everything out of the trunk and into the back seat and dug past the carpet and the fiberboard cover and unloosened the wingnut and pulled out the spacesaver spare, now six years old.

The sidewall said it was supposed to be inflated to 60 psi, and it had 40 psi in it. It felt hard, and I do believe it probably would have been sorta OK if I'd had to use it. I inflated it to 60 and put it back.

And tightened the wingnut. And put down the fiberboard cover. And jiggled the carpet back into place. And tossed everything out of the back seat and into the trunk again.

Good valve in that spacesaver spare.
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Post by mmmodem » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:44 am

Ted Valentine wrote:I think that spares are pretty much useless in this day with cell phones and 24 hour wrecker service almost anywhere.
What if you're in the middle of nowhere without cell phone coverage? I just changed a flat tire last month. You can pry the spare tire from my cold dead hands...

Anyway:
1. Run flat tires cost more to replace
2. Run flats are uncomfortable, from car review magazines.
3. Tire change place told me they charge more for changing a tire "repaired" with those aerosol cans because they need to clean up the goop left behind in the wheel.

So, actually, no spare tire will increase costs.

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Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:49 am

mmmodem wrote:
Ted Valentine wrote:
So, actually, no spare tire will increase costs.
Yes, but they will increase YOUR costs, not the car dealer/manufacturer. So, consider it a done deal. :)

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Scott S
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Post by Scott S » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:23 pm

This sounds like a really bad idea. People would buy cars without seatbelts and airbags and one of the headlights if they could, just to save $$. :razz:

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Ted Valentine
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Post by Ted Valentine » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:12 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Ted Valentine wrote:The last time I got a flat I took off my flat, got out the spare, put it on, lowered the jack only to find the spare was flat after sitting in the car for 10 years.
Well, I feel all smug and virtuous then, because the other day I went down to the gas station to pump up my tires. After I'd done that I thought, oh, maybe I should check the spare. and heaved a big sigh and tossed everything out of the trunk and into the back seat and dug past the carpet and the fiberboard cover and unloosened the wingnut and pulled out the spacesaver spare, now six years old.

The sidewall said it was supposed to be inflated to 60 psi, and it had 40 psi in it. It felt hard, and I do believe it probably would have been sorta OK if I'd had to use it. I inflated it to 60 and put it back.

And tightened the wingnut. And put down the fiberboard cover. And jiggled the carpet back into place. And tossed everything out of the back seat and into the trunk again.

Good valve in that spacesaver spare.
:thumbsup

I'm impressed. Prior to my experience, inflating the spare would never have occurred to me. Not to mention I'd be too lazy to move everything out of the way and get the spare out of the hold.

How exactly did you keep the air pump running at the gas station while you did this? Or did you put another $1 into the machine just for the spare?
Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.

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OnFire
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Post by OnFire » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:26 pm

I have a BMW 335i with run flats. I just droppped off the FIFTH tire/wheel that needed to be repaired. Unlike Claude, I DID talk my wife out of the wheel/tire damage contract, much to my chagrin. The Chicago area is ludicrous with the potholes. I think the chances of me getting a car with run flats in the future is less than 10%. If the dealer offers a contract for wheel/tire damage at a reasonable cost, maybe.

Almost $2000 later (wheels are ~$300 each, tires about ~$200 each) I highly doubt I will ever own a car with run flats. I've been through five tires and three wheels.

The guys at the wheel repair place hate my guts. They tore the run flats installing them. BMW charges $65 EACH for installation and balancing.

On second thought, never again.
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TomatoTomahto
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Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:19 pm

OnFire wrote:The Chicago area is ludicrous with the potholes.


SOMEWHAT OFF-TOPIC, apologies: We were in Chile two years ago. The roads did not have a single pot-hole. Which is the third world country?

Chicago. New Jersey. I guess we're not paying enough in taxes to expect a road you can drive your car on. :)

gtaylor
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Forget tires, how about the jack?

Post by gtaylor » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:17 pm

Nevermind tires, the jacks seem to be going downhill as well.

My little Subaru came with a jack that stripped itself to death after exactly 6.5 uses. This was a bit awkward to discover half way into the winter->summer wheel changeover, which of course would normally involve changing exactly four wheels.

I chalked it up to IKEA tool syndrome, the packaging of things with one-use "tools" that nobody ought to be forced to use. IMHO a car costs enough that included tools shouldn't be of the joke variety, but that must just be me...

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Post by Sam I Am » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:04 pm

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Re: LA Times: Automakers sell more cars without spare tires

Post by thomase » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:02 pm

I wouldn't drive a car without a spare. I've owned 5 cars so far and 4 have gotten flats where I used the spare. All flats were patchable, either for free depending on where I bought the tires, or for $20 or so. The problem with using fix-a-flat in a can stuff is tire shops won't patch your tires after that, they don't want to clean out the goop.

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Post by pkh01l » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:00 pm

My Corvette has run flats. I have had it for 10 years (only 20K miles) and have only once had one go "flat" on me. It worked fine an got me home safely but I had troulbing find a tire shop who could replace a run flat tire (though this was 7 years ago). Replacing that one run flat was $495!

In the past I also carried a can of fix-a-flat in the car. I find that a lot easier than digging out a spare tire and trying to change it by myself on the side of a road. The fix a flat is normally sufficient to get it to a tire shop which is what you would do if you put a spare on anyway, so I don't see what the big deal is about this.

In 27 years of driving I have never had a sidewall blow or a flat that couldn't be repaired enough to get me to a tire dealer.

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Mian
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Post by Mian » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:51 pm

2009 CTS didn't come with a spare but instead came with some contraption that would patch and allow me to inflate the flat (guess it didn't anticipate any road hazards that would blow out a sidewall.)

I bought a spare from a Caddy dealer on the internet for $250, about $100 less than at my local dealer.

A $50,000 car should come with a spare tire.

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Post by wintermute » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:31 pm

In my ~12 years of driving, I've never had to change a tire. I carry a 12v air compressor. It's enough (after waiting a while - it's slow), to get to a gas station to fill it up the rest of the way. I can usually get by for a day until it can be patched. That's happened a few times.

My car did come with a mini-spare, but I only take it on trips.

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Post by grabiner » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:02 pm

Ted Valentine wrote:The last time I got a flat I took off my flat, got out the spare, put it on, lowered the jack only to find the spare was flat after sitting in the car for 10 years.
Checking the spare should be standard car care advice, but it isn't.

And it also isn't standard maintenance advice; when I took my car in for service a few months ago, the mechanic rotated the tires and adjusted the pressure (actually a bit too high), but when I checked the spare before a trip, I found that the spare which should have been at 60 PSI was down to 40.
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RE: spare tire

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:06 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Ted Valentine wrote:I think that spares are pretty much useless in this day with cell phones and 24 hour wrecker service almost anywhere.
What if you're in the middle of nowhere without cell phone coverage? I just changed a flat tire last month. You can pry the spare tire from my cold dead hands...
I guess some people haven't been "out West" or parts of Texas where the nearest service is MILES away and cell phone signal is non-existant.
Years ago, driving from Denver to Houston, I had TWO flats (I fortunately carried two extra tires) around San Angelo/Big Springs... let me tell you, you don't want to break down there!
And you know I made sure that the new vehicle I'm picking up tomorrow has a full size spare!

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ElJay
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Post by ElJay » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:52 pm

If a spare tire were an option in a car, I would buy it. In most situations I could imagine, it would be a lot more convenient to put a spare on and drive away than to have to call AAA for a tow. My last flat happened on a Friday evening at rush hour. Having a spare gave me the option to change it in about 20 minutes and then drive to the tire place to get the hole plugged before they closed for the day.

I've decided I won't buy a car with runflats. I've heard nothing but bad things about them, anecdotes in this thread included. I hope that by the time I can afford a BMW, they will have gone back to conventional tires. ;)

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