You might have bought an imported JDM vehicle recently only to find out that it doesn’t have a spare tire at all. To your surprise, most new cars these days come without a spare wheel and it’s not just the JDMs.
According to a study, about 35% of new vehicles in the world now come from the factory without a spare tire. Although there is no complete source for finding out exactly which cars come without spare tires, but the number is constantly growing. An increasing number of new cars are sold without a full-size spare tire. A surprising number don’t even come with “run-flats” or a temporary “donut” spare tire.
A spare wheel has long been considered among the essentials when it comes to automobiles but why are new cars coming without them? There are a number of reasons:
- To improve fuel efficiency– Removing the spare can reduce a vehicle’s weight by approx 23 kg, once you include the jack and wrench. It can also improve aerodynamics by reducing air drag from spare tire compartments that poke below the undercarriages of vehicles. These two factors can improve mileage to a great extent.
- More space in smaller vehicles– A spare can take up significant room in compact cars and small sedans. There can be a trade-off between comfort and space in small cars.
- Lack of storage space, especially in hybrids, diesels and electric vehicles– Batteries and emissions equipment for such vehicles now take up space where the spare used to go.
- Reduced manufacturing costs– Off course, a car manufacturer can save lots of money by foregoing the spare in new cars.
Now there are some alternatives to the spare wheels such as Run-flat tires, which are designed to allow driving for a limited distance after losing air from a typical puncture. However on the downside driving on a run-flat for certain distances will ruin the tire & will likely have to be replaced. Plus, if you’re somewhere remote and get a flat tire, you may not be within range of the next tire repair shop.
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Some cars come with Inflator kit which is a less-than-ideal substitute to the spare tire. Such products offer a very temporary fix for minor tread punctures so you can get to a nearby tire store or service station for repairs.
Do keep in mind that if you wish to buy an aftermarket tire, jack and lug wrench, there may not be a space to safely carry them in your vehicle if you bought a spare-less automobile. However you should get a spare tire if you travel with small kids, especially if you’re taking occasional road trips. Getting stranded with a flat tire and no spare can mean several hours of waiting for a tow, even in an urban area.
Flat tires can be a slight inconvenience or simply a major hassle; no matter you drive within the city or go on longer trips. Keeping a spare tire is the most cost-effective insurance that you won’t get stuck by the side of the road.
What is your opinion regarding spare-less automobiles of today, let us know with your comments.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com