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  • Last modified 24 days ago (Nov. 23, 2017)

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New cars are going even leaner on spares

Staff writer

Asking questions has always been a key part of making a smart purchase. A recent trend in car equipment highlights that importance.

A recent American Automobile Association study shows that automakers have been eliminating spare tires from new vehicles in an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel economy. AAA reports that 28 percent of 2017 vehicles do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment, creating hassle and expense for drivers.

Terry Hagan, owner of Hillsboro Ford, confirms that is the trend, citing one popular model as an example.

“With the Ford Mustang you can go either way,” Hagan said. “The 2018 Mustang comes with a tire inflator and sealant kit that takes the place of a jack and spare tire to help reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.”

An inflator and sealant kit allows for more trunk storage space, Hagan said. It will seal small, non-sidewall flats. It includes a portable compact air compressor and one can of tire sealant.

Hagan said the fix is intended to get the car down the road to the nearest tire shop, not to fix the tire for driving another year.

“Everything now is about getting the car down the road to the next available place to get service,” Hagan said.

All U.S. manufacturers and numerous foreign ones have base models that come without spares.

AAA was called out for more than 450,000 members with a flat tire and no spare in the last year. They urge Kansas drivers to check their trunk for a spare before trouble strikes.

“Having a flat tire can be a nuisance for drivers,” said Jennifer Haugh, AAA Kansas spokeswoman, “but not having a spare could put them in an even more aggravating situation.

“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.”

The number of service calls is reflective of a trend for drivers to turn to roadside assistance rather than change a flat themselves.

Last modified Nov. 23, 2017

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