Over the years, spare tires have saved many a motorist from having to pick up the phone and call for an expensive tow truck. In fact, flats are so common that nearly every automaker provides a spare tire in the trunk of the car when a buyer purchases their vehicle - or at least, they used to.
The Washington Post reports that many automakers are now opting to skip the spare tire in the back. The move isn't a cost-cutting one per se, but instead one designed to lead to a lighter vehicle. With every major manufacturer now prioritizing fuel economy, heavy add-ons like spare tires simply have to go.
Instead, the automakers are supplying drivers with a tire sealant and automatic air pump. The idea is to pump up the tire, then seal it with the solution. It works well in most cases, reports the news source, but has trouble with bigger punctures and holes on the sides of tires. In those cases, you'll likely have to call for a lift.
Consumer Reports tire analyst Gene Peterson told the news source that drivers need to be aware of the trend, which is now true for more than 14 percent of new cars. Those who feel more comfortable with a spare should take care to buy tires ahead of their trip.
"The last thing you want to do is find out the hard way that you don’t have a spare tire if you’re stranded on the side of the road," Peterson told the news source.