One third of cars sold in the U.S. no longer include a spare tire. Instead, they provide a limited puncture/sealant kit and a 12 volt air compressor. “Sealants” are convenient but extremely expensive to replace. Third party puncture kits are good for fixing a nail or screw puncture and the tire can be sequently repaired properly in a tire shop.
AAA notes that these kits only work for selected situations, and won’t work for big punctures, side wall problems, blow outs, or failed air valves. For that the manufacturers expect you to call for roadside assistance.
Which is great for AAA and insurance companies to sell you roadside assistance solutions.
Where you have cell phone service.
If you do not have cell phone service, you are stuck in the middle of no where until someone happens to come by and help you out. I’ve had 2 tire blow outs and one valve stem failure – but I had actual spare tires. I’ve driven in off road locations where it is even recommended that you carry two spare tires.
In some cases – but not all – it is possible to purchase a spare mounted tire from third parties; however, many vehicles no longer have a place in the vehicle to carry the spare so you end up storing it in the “trunk”. Buying a separate spare after spending $40,000 to $100,000 on an EV is lousy.
Auto makers are removing spare tires to reduce vehicle weight, plus to increase future revenues. Tires repaired with a DIY puncture kit or sealant can only be replaced – they cannot be serviced at a tire center. A new tire usually costs hundreds of dollars whereas tire shop puncture repair costs tens of dollars.
Some replacement tires, like Tesla, can cost $800, and come mounted on a new rim. You have to return a rim to Tesla within 3 days or you pay for the new rim. That’s probably okay if your car is at home but for travelers who get their wheel fixed – well, they’ve had to ship via overnight FedEx back to Tesla after they got home. This no-spare thing sounds like airlines charging you for seat assignments, baggage and just breathing.
AAA says that 1 in 5 drivers has no idea how to repair a spare tire.
If you’ve bought a car without a spare – and this seems to include all EVs – you’ll want to pick up a mounted spare tire, a vehicle jack, and lug nut wrench. And figure out how to secure them in your vehicle.