Posts Tagged ‘Vehicles Sold Without Spare Tire’

AAA calls on automakers to put consumers first, save the spare tire

Erin SteppORLANDO, Fla. (November 11, 2015) – Automakers’ decision to eliminate the spare tire may leave more than 30 million drivers vulnerable at the roadside, according to new research from AAA. Tire inflator kits, a high-cost alternative for consumers, have replaced the spare tire in millions of vehicles over the last 10 model years and, due to their limited functionality, cannot provide even a temporary fix for many common tire-related problems. AAA calls on automakers to put consumer interests first and halt the elimination of the spare tire.

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“Flat tires are not a disappearing problem, but spare tires are,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA responds to more than four million calls for flat tire assistance annually and, despite advances in vehicle technology, we have not seen a decline in tire-related calls over the last five years.”

Along with run-flat tires, tire inflator kits have replaced spare tires on 29 million vehicles in the last 10 model years, steadily increasing from five percent of 2006 model year vehicles to more than one-in-three 2015 model year vehicles (36 percent) sold. While each four-pound kit eliminates approximately 30 pounds of weight, resulting in minimal savings in fuel consumption, the replacement cost is high. With some kits costing up to $300 per use, a tire inflator kit can cost consumers up to 10 times more than a simple tire repair and has a shelf life of only four to eight years.

“Automakers are facing increasingly-stringent fuel economy standards and the spare tire has become a casualty in an effort to reduce weight and boost miles-per-gallon,” continued Nielsen. “Advances in automotive engineering allow for weight to be reduced in ways that don’t leave motorists stranded at the roadside.”

AAA tested the most common tire inflator kits in today’s vehicles and found that the units worked well in some scenarios, but they are not a substitute for a spare tire. For an inflator kit to work effectively, a tire must be punctured in the tread surface and the object must remain in the tire. Used correctly, the kit then coats the inner wall of the tire with a sealant and a compressor re-inflates the tire. If the puncture-causing object is no longer in the tire, a sidewall is damaged or a blowout occurs, a tire inflator kit cannot remedy the situation and the vehicle will require a tow.

Knowing how to change a tire is also a skill that is now less prevalent among younger age groups. More than one-in-five millennial drivers (ages 18-34) do not know how to change a tire, compared to the nearly 90 percent of drivers aged 35-54 that know this important skill. Gender differences also exist: while nearly all men (97 percent) claim to know how to change a tire, only 68 percent of women boast the same ability.

“Consumers may mistakenly believe that inflator kits are a one-size-fits-all alternative to installing a spare tire,” continued Nielsen. “The reality is these kits can accommodate specific types of tire damage, but having the option to install a spare tire can save stranded drivers time and money.”

If faced with roadside trouble, including a flat tire, AAA is available to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  AAA members can request assistance by calling (800) AAA-HELP, visiting AAA.com/RoadsideAssistance or via the AAA Mobile App.  To become a member, visit AAA.com/join.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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AAA prepares drivers for what to do when new vehicles don’t include a spare tire.

ORLANDO, Fla., (January 25, 2012) – Buying a car can be a stressful experience. One thing buyers could depend upon was that the new vehicle they were about to purchase included a spare tire. That may not always be the case. To meet new government fuel efficiency standards some vehicle manufactures are omitting heavy spare tires and equipping new vehicles with an emergency sealant and inflator kit or tires that if damaged can run reasonable distances without air.

In 2010, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency established new corporate average fuel economy standards for vehicle model years 2012 to 2016. The new standards are set at a combined 29.7 mpg for the 2012 model year, increasing to 34.1 mpg by 2016.

Achieving these standards will require many changes to the vehicles we drive.  One area of focus is to reduce the weight of vehicles without compromising occupant safety.  A spare tire, related tools and a jack can weigh more than 40 pounds. That may seem like a small amount but every little bit helps and unlike other weight saving changes, it doesn’t add cost to the vehicle.  

“Unfortunately many vehicle owners may be unaware that their vehicle has no spare tire until they experience a flat tire.” says John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Buying, and Consumer Information. “Consumers should review their owner’s manual and emergency maintenance supplies they have in the vehicle and be informed about alternatives to a spare to prevent panic or a delay when encountering a flat tire.”

AAA recommends the following to ensure you are informed and prepared:

  • Inspect the car and consult your owner’s manual. If the vehicle has a spare, be sure it is properly inflated and stowed. If you cannot locate a spare tire, ensure your vehicle has an alternate solution. Options include the run-flat tires that allow the car to be driven to a safe location or an emergency sealant and inflator kit.  
  • If you carry a sealant, AAA recommends that you check the date and replace it every five years or after its use. Sealant can become less effective with age.

AAA members needing assistance with a flat tire can request roadside rescue at (800) AAA-HELP or by downloading the smartphone app, AAA Roadside. AAA members can also eliminate the stress of buying a new car by using the AAA Auto Buying Tools App. Build the car you want, including color and trim level, and the AAA app will give you information on available options, available incentives, crash safety ratings, AAA reviews, images and more.  

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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