If you're presently driving a car without an appropriate or quality spare tire, you're asking for a headache if, or when, you experience a blow out or simply get a flat. Make no mistake, when it comes to automotive and driving safety, spare tires are necessities that can keep your car roadworthy in a pinch.
The Wide Variety of Spare Tires
If you've recently purchased a new or used car from a dealership, it's likely that a spare tire has been included with the purchase and is hidden somewhere within the vehicle. The rare occasion that a vehicle wouldn't include some sort of spare tire would be within a custom automobile or a premier performance vehicle in which no space-saving spare tire would function in the event of a flat tire breakdown, such as in a high performance European sports car.
For most cars, however, spare tires are found beneath the trunk space, or on many SUVs, they may be stored underneath or on the backside of a vehicle. The reason for storing these spare tires in different places is based on simple design and spare tire performance needs. If you're having trouble locating your spare tire, consult your owner's manual or contact your local dealership.
An SUV would not be able to function on a small, space-saving spare tire, or half-sized wheel, so they generally come equipped with a full-size spare tire and wheel. This is beneficial for flat tires on SUVs or trucks because it enables full vehicle function during transportation of the damaged tire.
Sedans, coupes, compacts, small SUVs such as Subarus, and smaller sports cars often possess space-saver spare tires within the trunk. In order to locate a spare tire that's stored in this manner, lift the floor liner (carpeted or upholstered part) in the trunk. You'll see an access panel that covers a well holding the spare tire and all implements necessary to change the tire. Space-saver spare tires come with speed and performance limitations, so be sure to refer to the sidewall of the tire, or read any associated documentation that is found in the spare storage well.
Maintaining Spare Tires
Inspecting your spare tire every time you get your tires rotated is a good idea. This service is recommended every 5,000 - 6,000 miles in order to maximize the life of your tires through even wear. If you perform this process yourself, you can simply pull out the spare to ensure that it is properly inflated and without flaws, and then put it away. If you have your vehicle serviced by a tire technician, kindly ask that they take a look at the spare to ensure that it's in working order in the event that it is ever needed.
Purchasing Spare Tires
Depending on your driving habits, or vehicle needs, you may choose to have more than one spare tire, or you may choose to upgrade from a space-saving spare tire to a full-sized spare tire. Those who enjoy road tripping will sometimes opt for a matching, full-sized spare in the event of a blowout or a flat tire while on the trip. This will allow full vehicle function on highways and surface streets throughout various cities.
If your auto comes with a space-saver spare tire, and you find that it is in need of repair, you may find it more worthwhile to replace it with another spare tire option. Spare tires are really only meant for temporary usage, and can quickly become worn or damaged when driven beyond their performance capacities. A qualified tire technician can guide the process of replacement, or will be able to mount a replacement model that you've ordered online.