PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Imagine your tire blows out on the highway.
Instead of waiting for roadside assistance, you decide to change the tire yourself. You open the trunk and surprise, no spare!
In today’s Angie’s List report, the options you have as spare tires disappear.
“For most, having a flat tire can be their worst nightmare, especially if they are caught on the road when it happens. Being prepared and knowing exactly what you’ve got when shopping for a car is going to be important,” says Angie Hicks, of Angie’s List. “Don’t be afraid to ask the dealer, what comes with the car? How does it work?”
In an effort to increase fuel economy, decrease vehicle weight and give you more trunk space, manufactures are saying so long to the spare tire.
Many new models are now equipped with inflator and sealant kits or run flat tires, which are designed to go at slower speeds for 50 miles or more after a tire has been punctured.
“Standard low tires cannot withstand zero pressure. It has to have pressure to keep the tire inflated,” says Auto Service co-owner Chris Cooper. “A run flat tire does not need any pressure for a short duration of time until you can get to a shop that can repair or replace it.”
Landon Toll used to drive a car with run flat tires.
He never suffered a flat, but he did have to replace his run flat tires, which cost about a third more than traditional tires.
“I had the car for about three years and drove with 32,000 miles about, and in that time, I replaced the rear tires twice and the front tires once,” Toll said. “In total, the three years I had the car, I spent a little over $2,300 just in tires alone.”
In addition to being more expensive, experts say run flats also result in a harder ride.
“A run flat tire will run much stiffer,” said Cooper. “You don’t get much of a cushion in there. Standard low tire will run nice and quiet and a run flat tire will run a little bit stiff. It just depends on what kind of ride you are looking for.”
“The ride was definitely stiffer with the run flat tires. Every bump that you would hit, you would feel a little bit more,” adds Toll. “There were times that I would be kind of scouting ahead, looking for potholes, trying to slalom around and try to avoid them.”
Experts tell Angie’s List some run flat tires can be repaired if punctured – while others cannot. It depends on the manufacturer.