By Robin Culverwell
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Changing a flat tire could soon be a thing of the past, as car makers are starting to phase out spare tires in an effort to increase gas mileage.
It never happens at a convenient time, but the days of having to change a flat when you’re all dressed up with somewhere to go could be numbered.
“They’re trying to reduce the weight of newer cars, so that they can get better miles per gallon. And what they’re doing in essence is eliminating the spare tire and some of the equipment that goes along with it, like the jack,” says Sue Madden with AAA Mid-Atlantic.
She says that spare and related tools can add 40 pounds to the weight of a car and that cuts fuel efficiency.
Madden says drivers need to be prepared. “What they need to do, is find out from their owner’s manual if their car has a spare tire, where it is, and if not, have a plan B. Have the sealant with you at all times if you have a flat tire.”
The life of sealant isn’t forever; it’ll last about five years. Another option is the “runflat” tire which inflates itself and the car’s computer lets you know when a tire’s been punctured and needs service.
Madden expects calls to AAA to rise as drivers find themselves with no spare and not knowing how to use the inflator and sealant.