CALGARY- A number of drivers have found out the hard way that their new vehicles didn’t come equipped with a spare tire.
It turns out many vehicles are now sold with a kit to inflate a tire and seal the leak, instead of the traditional separate tire. However, some drivers haven’t been made aware of the change.
Peter Isiah is one of them. He’s owned a 2014 Kia Forte for seven months, and didn’t realize there was no spare until his body shop mentioned it to him.
“I’ve talked to a number of people, and they had no idea that cars were coming out without a spare tire,” he says. “I really think that the public needs to know about this important issue when you go to buy a vehicle.”
Kia says spare tires are optional and replaced by an inflator kit, but Isiah says he was never told about or given the option.
The Automobile Protection Association (APA) warns drivers to ask dealers about their options, before buying a new or used vehicle.
“People buy vehicles not knowing there isn’t a spare, and usually the cost of a spare wheel and tire is so high that it’s not worth buying at the dealer,” explains George Iny from the APA.
Manufacturers say the switch saves space and weight, and is more convenient than changing a tire. However, tire experts say using the sealant kit can actually cost more to clean up, than the actual repair.
“It is a toxic corrosive material inside so it must be cleaned out completely,” says Erich Wolf from Kal Tire. “We’re essentially disinfecting the inside of the tire because of that chemical, so all of that goes in and then we can do the repair and put it back on.”
He adds that the repair kit only works on a flat tire, not one that’s been blown out.
Motor vehicle safety regulations do not require the presence of spare tires or emergency repair kits in vehicles. Click here for a list of cars with optional or no spare tires.