Discussion:
Spare tires doing away, but flat tires aren't
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h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2015-11-20 18:40:28 UTC
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A newspaper article discusses that motorists still get flat tires
as much as ever. However, automakers no longer bother including
a spare tire with a new car. Motorists with a flat might need
to be towed.

http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/news/local/spares-going-away-but-flat-tires-aren-t/article_fa7c52ee-8972-11e5-9a3d-bf4382b21b74.html
Kenny McCormack
2015-11-21 02:42:41 UTC
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Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
A newspaper article discusses that motorists still get flat tires
as much as ever. However, automakers no longer bother including
a spare tire with a new car. Motorists with a flat might need
to be towed.
http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/news/local/spares-going-away-but-flat-tires-aren-t/article_fa7c52ee-8972-11e5-9a3d-bf4382b21b74.html
I read the article and, while interesting, something about it doesn't smell
right. The gist of the article is that the reason they are doing this is
to reduce (infinitesimally) the car's weight so that they can increase
(infinitesimally) their official gas mileage figures. This, in turn, is so
that they can continue to legally sell what (so the article claims) people
really want, which is gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs.

The article states that eliminating the spare tire reduces the weight of
the car by about 30-50 pounds (which is about 1% of the weight of the car)
and that this increases gas mileage by about 1%. So, a car that gets 30
mpg with a spare tire might get 30.3 mpg without it. BFD. It's really
hard to imagine that that delta is going to make or break the
manufacturer's status with the EPA.

It is far more likely, IMHO, that what's really driving this is cost - the
manufacturers just want to save some money by not including the spare.
Note that for this motivation, it does make sense; when it comes to money,
every little bit counts.

This, and the fact that I'll bet nobody knows how to change a tire anymore
- they probably just have their car towed anyway. I'd bet this is the real
motivation.

OTOH, the article did state that the weight reduction would save you, the
car owner, about 90 (IIRC) gallons of gas a year. Multiply this by
millions of people and now you're talking about hundreds of millions of
gallons of gas (per year) - which seems like a big deal, except when you
realize that the US burns hundreds of millions of gallons of gas *every*
*day*, so again, it is really just a drop in the bucket.
--
Mike Huckabee has yet to consciously uncouple from Josh Duggar.
John David Galt
2015-11-21 22:17:08 UTC
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Post by Kenny McCormack
I read the article and, while interesting, something about it doesn't smell
right. The gist of the article is that the reason they are doing this is
to reduce (infinitesimally) the car's weight so that they can increase
(infinitesimally) their official gas mileage figures. This, in turn, is so
that they can continue to legally sell what (so the article claims) people
really want, which is gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs.
That sounds truthful to me. The majority of Americans have seen through
eco-nuttism by now.
Post by Kenny McCormack
The article states that eliminating the spare tire reduces the weight of
the car by about 30-50 pounds (which is about 1% of the weight of the car)
and that this increases gas mileage by about 1%. So, a car that gets 30
mpg with a spare tire might get 30.3 mpg without it. BFD. It's really
hard to imagine that that delta is going to make or break the
manufacturer's status with the EPA.
Multiply it by thousands of vehicles and it will likely save more in EPA
fines than the cost of the spare, though that counts too. Of course
everyone but the very short-sighted will buy spares anyway.
Post by Kenny McCormack
This, and the fact that I'll bet nobody knows how to change a tire anymore
- they probably just have their car towed anyway. I'd bet this is the real
motivation.
Non sequitur. Most tow truck operators are willing and able to change
the tire for you, at much less cost than a tow. But they won't have a
spare with them because there are so many different models, so if you
don't have your own they will have to tow you.
Post by Kenny McCormack
OTOH, the article did state that the weight reduction would save you, the
car owner, about 90 (IIRC) gallons of gas a year. Multiply this by
millions of people and now you're talking about hundreds of millions of
gallons of gas (per year) - which seems like a big deal, except when you
realize that the US burns hundreds of millions of gallons of gas *every*
*day*, so again, it is really just a drop in the bucket.
That's around $3-400 per year in gas. If it really saves that much, and
you get flats once every 2-3 years or less, maybe it does save money not
to have a spare. (Of course, that depends how much it costs you to
unexpectedly lose the use of your car for a day or two.)
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2015-11-24 15:07:05 UTC
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Post by Kenny McCormack
This, and the fact that I'll bet nobody knows how to change a tire anymore
- they probably just have their car towed anyway. I'd bet this is the real
motivation.
I don't know why someone would prefer the time and expense of
towing when the car could be fixed quickly on the spot. Changing
a tire is not hard by someone who has the proper tools (a good jack
and lug wrench). I carry a power air compresser--this was cheap
but very convenient.

My car is old and came with a real spare tire, not a donut. But it
has probably rotted out by now and would be worthless if I actually
needed it.

I think, generally speaking, tires are made well. I've suffered from
a number of nails, but the tire doesn't go totally flat for a while;
and usually I notice it being soft in advance and can get it fixed.
Further, with a nail, I could pump it up and make it on my own to
a gas station. (I even did that with a hand pump, doable, for not
recommended; a power pump makes it easy).

I should note that gas station plugs vary in quality. I was using
a nearby service station until I realized the plugs didn't last.
My actual car mechanic had a plug that was permanent.

Unfortunately, certainly tire failures, like the sidewall from hitting
a bad pothole or curb, can't get pumped up or fixed and a spare is
needed for such mishaps.

As an aside, if you are disabled on the road for any reason, a big
safety feature are those orange triangles. They are cheap to buy.
Put them out well in advance of your car and other cars will give
you a wide berth, which is very important for your safety.
Arif Khokar
2015-11-25 03:06:49 UTC
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Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Kenny McCormack
This, and the fact that I'll bet nobody knows how to change a tire anymore
- they probably just have their car towed anyway. I'd bet this is the real
motivation.
I don't know why someone would prefer the time and expense of
towing when the car could be fixed quickly on the spot. Changing
a tire is not hard by someone who has the proper tools (a good jack
and lug wrench).
It depends on the location of the breakdown. I certainly don't want to
attempt to change a tire at night on the side of an interstate and take
the chance of getting hit by passing traffic (especially if the flat
tire is on the drivers side of the vehicle).

I normally change out the wheels every 6 months (switching from summer
performance tires to snow tires and vice versa) using a cross-wrench and
floor jack (along with a jack stand as a backup) and I torque the lug
bolts with a torque wrench.

I know from experience that it's far more difficult to change the tire
with the car jack and short lug wrench the car comes with.

Also, if you have AAA membership, the tow (depending on the distance)
won't cost any additional money.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
I carry a power air compresser--this was cheap
but very convenient.
I have one in each vehicle I have as well (that can be plugged into the
cigarette adaptor). I had to replace the one I bought a decade ago
recently because I found that it would no longer form a proper seal
around the valve when I tried to adjust the tire pressure.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My car is old and came with a real spare tire, not a donut. But it
has probably rotted out by now and would be worthless if I actually
needed it.
You could just buy a 5th tire the next time you replace the tires on the
vehicle. I'm glad that my Audi has a full size spare as well (though
I've never really needed to use it other than when I rotated the tires
myself).
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
As an aside, if you are disabled on the road for any reason, a big
safety feature are those orange triangles. They are cheap to buy.
Put them out well in advance of your car and other cars will give
you a wide berth, which is very important for your safety.
I think that European car makes come with them by default (my Audi came
with up). The Honda Odyssey I have did not come with one (and just as a
donut spare).
Larry Sheldon
2015-11-25 04:12:01 UTC
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Post by Arif Khokar
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My car is old and came with a real spare tire, not a donut. But it
has probably rotted out by now and would be worthless if I actually
needed it.
You could just buy a 5th tire the next time you replace the tires on the
vehicle. I'm glad that my Audi has a full size spare as well (though
I've never really needed to use it other than when I rotated the tires
myself).
I have not had to do it in some years (don't drive much anymore) but
when I "rotated (odd term)" tires I included the spare. And when I
replace only 4, I pick the best of the five to be the "spare".
Post by Arif Khokar
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
As an aside, if you are disabled on the road for any reason, a big
safety feature are those orange triangles. They are cheap to buy.
Put them out well in advance of your car and other cars will give
you a wide berth, which is very important for your safety.
Be sure you study the use of them and use them correctly. The one
nearest the vehicle should be on the road-side wide of the vehicle. An
odd quirk of psychology will cause a driver to drive into the back of
the vehicle if the nearest one is "inside" the vehicle's shadow.

The old "flares" (red reflectors) work the same way as do fusees (aka
"flares").
--
sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Juvenal)
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