Buddy, can you spare a spare? — tire, that is.
You may not know it, but the car you’re driving quite possibly doesn’t have a spare tire in the trunk, and it’s perfectly legal.
According to the American Automobile Association, about 30-million drivers are behind the wheel of vehicles not equipped with spare tires. There are no estimates readily available in Canada.
When it comes to new cars, the industry acknowledges that about 36 per cent of all vehicles are now leaving the assembly line without a spare tire of any kind.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has concerns for its members who may be left stranded without the means to get on the move, especially in winter time.
“Not having a spare tire makes the CAA a bit nervous because if we can’t get to them because you don’t know to use a spare tire repair kit you’re going to have to wait for a long time,” said Kristine D’Arbelles of the CAA national office in Ottawa.
New vehicles are typically fitted with run-flat tires designed to keep the car mobile even if there’s a puncture. A spare tire kit can re-inflate the tire for a short distance until proper repairs can be made.
Andre Feijoo, owner of A1 Auto Tech in Toronto, says drivers could be in for a tow truck bill and potentially a big wait without a spare.
“There are so many different run-flats and different sizes that very often you’re in a situation where the tire has to be ordered in. It’ll take two to three days, so you can be stuck literally for a couple days because there’s no spare,” said Feijoo.
Thomas Calloway, owner of Calloway European Automotive in Sarasota, Florida, says automakers are sometimes prevented from putting full spares or partial ones into vehicles.
“You can’t fit one, it would take up all your space,” said Calloway, referring to interior limitations on vehicles, typically sports models.
Auto repair experts say many drivers aren’t aware of whether their car has a spare until the run into trouble. They advise checking the vehicle, familiarizing yourself with the use of the spare tire kit. And, if you have a spare tire, making sure it’s properly inflated in case it’s needed.