Out of sight, out of mind?
Spare tires used to be such an important part of a vehicle that they were often incorporated in the basic shape of many models from the so-called golden era of design. For years, the Lincoln Continental’s trunk bore the distinctive, rounded shape of a spare – even when the fifth tire was moved to a less prominent storage location.
While a few classic SUVs, like the Jeep Wrangler, still give their spares prominent placement, those back-up tires are now more likely to be tucked under the trunk’s load floor – that is, if you have a spare at all. In many vehicles, from the sporty Chevrolet Camaro to the mainstream Ford Fusion, spares have been left out entirely.
By various estimates, somewhere between a third and a half of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. this year will come sans spare. Instead, manufacturers are opting for alternatives like tire inflator kits or run-flat tires, the latter designed to keep running for as much as 50 miles even if they lose pressure.