Almost one-third of new vehicles sold in North America don’t come standard with a spare tire, a number likely to rise as tire technology improves and automakers try to ditch weight to improve fuel economy.
Some 28 percent of model-year 2017 vehicles don’t come with a spare, the Detroit Free Press quotes a new AAA survey, though that number’s actually down from 2015, when 36 percent of new cars didn’t have one.
It’s way up, though, from 2006, when a new car without a spare tire was pretty uncommon: just five percent came without a spare then.
But this year’s figure is likely to mark the start of the disappearance of the spare tire, as automakers instead turn to alternatives like driver-alert-linked tire pressure monitoring systems and ever-improving run-flat tires, both features that are more frequently being made standard.
Car manufacturers are also more often turning to tire inflator kits designed to plug small leaks. Of course, these kits won’t help in the event of a blowout—when a catastrophic event like that occurs, a spare is the driver’s only real fix.
But even if the vehicle is equipped with a spare, there’s a growing chance its driver won’t be able to change it: an older AAA survey put the number of younger drivers who simply didn’t know how to change a tire at roughly one-in-five.
The survey also unsurprisingly found that, taking into account all of the above, the most common fix when tire damage strands a car and its driver these days is to call for a tow truck.
(Detroit Free Press via USA Today)