The economy is not performing the way it should and this is the reason people are wary of spending their hard earned money. With taxes at an all-time high, people want vehicles that are fuel efficient to save money. So what are the automobile manufacturers doing to make cars more fuel efficient? They are removing the spare tire to reduce the overall weight of the car. Yes this has a profound effect on fuel economy.
The Modern Day Flat Tire Solution
Modern-day cars come with run flat tires. These tires can get you off the road if the tire is punctured. Or, they allow you to reach a garage to get the tire replaced so that you can safely reach your destination. Unfortunately, it can be cost prohibitive to get a replacement tire and at times, it can be difficult to find the right replacement for your make and model.
Some car owners invest in emergency flat tire inflation kit. This kit consists of aerosol sealant to seal the puncture and an air compressor. This offers a temporary way to fix a flat until you can reach help. Also, it is right just for small punctures in the tread and not for cuts or punctures to the sidewall. Furthermore, some experts reckon these inflator kits can adversely affect the tire pressure monitoring system in a vehicle.
So, what should you do? Well, don’t worry. There is a way to ensure a flat tire doesn’t cost you more than you can afford.
A Spare or an Inflation Kit?
Many car dealerships sell cars without spare tires. Some may offer an inflation kit. However, did you know that even if your car comes without a spare tire, you can still buy one directly from the dealership?
So, if you are wondering whether you should invest in a spare or inflation kit, experts will tell you to go with a spare. Remember, once you use the inflation kit to temporarily fix the tread puncture in the tire, you would have to revisit your dealership to replenish the sealant that you used. This can be an unnecessary expense and inconvenience that you can easily avoid with a spare tire.
With a spare tire, you can immediately replace the punctured tire and be on your way. If you don’t know how to replace a tire, it is time to learn or you would have to depend on emergency roadside assistance. On the other hand, if your heart is fixed on an inflation kit, look for one that clearly states it does not affect the tire pressure monitoring system. Or, you should invest in a kit that has water soluble sealant, so that when you take the car to the repair shop, the technicians can easily clean it. This will reduce the cost of fixing the punctured tire. Make sure you keep checking the expiry date of the inflation kit, so that you never get stranded with an out-of-date sealant.
What to do in Case of a Spare?
If you have a spare tire in your car, you need to maintain it even if you don’t use it. This will keep the tire in good condition. Here are the things you should focus on when you maintain a spare tire.
- Even if you haven’t had the opportunity to use the spare, make sure you get the tire pressure checked monthly. All tires, whether they are used or not, lose pressure over a period of time and monthly check ensures your spare is not flat or low in pressure.
- Inspect the spare tire carefully on a monthly basis. This is especially true for SUVs, pickups, and minivans that store the tire under the vehicle. Make sure the nuts, bolts, and brackets are secure, but at the same time are loose enough to unfasten when the need arises. If not, use oil to grease them and unfasten them. If the tire is stored in the trunk, the nuts and bolts holding it down can get corroded. So, remove the tire periodically to clean the nuts and bolts to avoid rust formation.
- Always keep a functional jack in the car. Make sure you know how to assemble the different parts and use the jack.
- If you have owned the car for 10 years and have not replaced the spare, it is time to do so. Consult your owner’s manual to find out when the spare and tires be replaced. You can also check the sidewall of the tire to discern the identification code that will allow you to find the age of the tire.
- Learn to change the tire. Practice this at home, so that you know how to replace the punctured tire with the spare. If you have never replaced a tire, check your owner’s manual. It will have the instructions. Alternatively, use online videos to assist you or ask a friendly neighbor for help or an actual friend.
There is no doubt a spare tire is more preferable over an inflator kit. But you should be well-versed in maintaining the spare and knowing how to fix it if you are stranded with a flat.