Had a flat recently? If not, you may be in for a surprise. Over the past few years, several automakers have removed spare tires from the
trunk, although some are still offering a spare as an option -- for 300 or 400 bucks.
Trouble is, since spare tires have been standard equipment for so long, many new car buyers don’t even realize they don’t have one until it's too late. And the jury is out as to whether replacement systems are any better.
For instance, to save weight and
space, Acura has replaced the traditional
spare tire, jack, and lug wrench with a tire repair kit.
consists of a sealant that can temporarily plug a typical flat tire
hole using a battery-operated pump.
As the pressure increases inside the tire, the sealant is drawn toward
the leak until it forms a plug, after which the pump will continue to
fully re-inflate the tire until you can get to a garage for a more permanent repair.
At least that's the theory.
One of the worst things about these kits, says Jim Motavalli, who writes on cars for the Mother Nature Network, is that
they can really mess up a tire. The kit may get you out of the
emergency, but many tires are more likely junk after the fact, he maintains.