How to Fix a Flat Tire Without a Spare

If you haven’t bought a new car in a few years, you may be in for a surprise the next time you need to change your tire. For about the past four years, most car manufacturers have been leaving an old standard off of new cars: the spare tire.

So what happens when you get a flat? We’re here to help, below we’ll explain how to fix a flat without a spare.

Saying Goodbye to ‘The Donuts’

Donut tires had been a mainstay for many years, providing a backup emergency tire to keep you from being stranded by the side of the road. The first car without a spare was made in 2003, and by last year, an estimated one-third of all new cars didn’t come with a spare tire. Some manufacturers now offer a spare tire as an optional purchase instead of making it a standard feature.

Do new cars come with spare tires? Why the change? For some cars such as sports cars and certain minivans, new configurations made it impossible to include a spare tire in the design. But the bigger answer lies in the push for automakers to sell more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Changing times may also play a role in our new approach to changing tires; today, most people have a cellphone and can call for help, or they may have a program such as OnStar that lets them reach out when they need assistance. The reality is, people don’t have a flat that often, and when they do, most people aren’t going to change their own tire anymore.

Ask About Spares When Buying a New Car

Drivers need to add “Does it come with a spare?” to the list of questions they ask when buying a new car. If it doesn’t, they need to find out what kind of options the car company offers instead and make sure they have a plan of action. If the salesman tells you the car has a spare, ask him to show you where it’s stored and what tools are included. You might want to ask if you can buy a spare tire kit for your car if it doesn’t come with one.

If you don’t have a spare tire and it’s not an option as an add-on, you will want to have a plan in case of a flat tire.

Be prepared

Whether it’s for lack of room or you just aren’t comfortable changing a tire yourself, not everyone drives with a spare. However, that doesn’t mean you should be stranded if you get a flat. Here are some simple ways you can be prepared:

  • A tire repair kit can be just what you need to make it to a service stop. Kits often include sealant that can be used to cover small punctures on the tread, as well an air compressor to then inflate your tires. While this is only a temporary fix, it is a cheap option that can save you from being stranded if the culprit is a hole in the tread.
  • A more costly option is to purchase run-flat tires. In the case of a puncture, run-flat tires are able to travel a limited distance at a reduced speed (usually under 50 mph). It can also provide more stability in the case of a tire blowout. You do have to check the air pressure regularly since it can be hard to tell if they are running low on air.
  •  In case you are not able to seal or re-inflate a tire on your own, a reliable roadside assistance program can be a lifesaver. As long as you have your cell phone, you have access to help. Nationwide’s 24-Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance has you covered any time of day and makes it easy to get back on the road.

We hope this post helped you learn how to properly prepare for a flat tire! If you’re looking for help transporting your vehicle, flat tire or not, call us at Auto Transport 123!

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