Spare Me! Nearly One-Third of New Vehicles are Missing a Spare Tire

Automakers continue to eliminate spares to meet fuel economy standards

In an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, automakers continue to eliminate spare tires from new vehicles. According to new research from AAA, nearly one-third (28 percent) of 2017 model year vehicles do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment (See attached infographic.), creating an unnecessary hassle and expense for drivers. Last year alone, AAA came to the rescue of more than 450,000 members faced with a flat tire whose cars did not have a spare tire. To avoid a roadside surprise, AAA Kansas urges drivers to check their trunk for a spare tire before trouble strikes.

“Having a flat tire can be a nuisance for drivers, but not having a spare could put them in an even more aggravating situation,” said Jennifer Haugh, AAA Kansas spokesperson. “This can turn the relatively routine process of changing a tire at the roadside into an inconvenient and costly situation that requires a tow to a repair facility.”

A list of spare tire availability for 2017 model year vehicles is available at NewsRoom.AAA.com (http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/AAA_SpareTireList_2017-FINAL-3.pdf).

While new vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems that alert drivers to low tire pressure, AAA’s roadside assistance data shows that tire-related problems continue to be one of the top reasons why members call for assistance. Even if drivers do have a spare tire, they are often reaching for their cell phones to call for roadside assistance rather than changing the tire themselves. According to a previous AAA survey, nearly 20 percent (39 million) of U.S. drivers do not know how to change a flat tire. More