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Spare tires getting the boot as carmakers look to improve gas mileage

Posted December 22, 2016

Ready to buy a new car? You may notice that spare tires are beginning to get the boot.

Instead, new vehicles are increasingly coming with sealant kits or run-flat tires.

Run-flat tires promise to keep going, some as far as 50 miles, but the lack of a true spare often leaves some drivers feeling a bit uneasy.

"It was a big concern of mine, and it still is to this day," car owner Gloria Strunin said of the lack of a spare tire in her new car.

Run-flat tires have thicker sidewalls than traditional tires. Most manufacturers say they will support a vehicle at speeds upt o 50 miles per hour for a distance of at least 50 miles are most flats.

But Consumer Reports has a warning about those claims.

“They’re not going to work for everything. So, if you do have a ripped sidewall, if you do have a large hole in the tire, obviously, you may not be able to drive on it," Consumer Reports' Gene Petersen said.

Run-flat tires are also more expensive than their regular counterparts, sometimes as much as $300 each.

There are also fewer models available, and the tires may have to be special ordered.

Carmakers are ditching spare tires to lighten vehicles and make them more fuel efficient.

"In the case of run-flat tires, though, it may also be because they don’t have room in the car for a spare tire," Petersen said.

Some car dealers will allow buyers to pay extra for a traditional spare. Some dealers will even sell a kit, but Consumer Reports says to make sure it's designed for your trunk and fits securely.

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  • Matt Clinton Dec 24, 6:25 p.m.
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    When you're stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, be sure to thank your friendly neighborhood climate change hoaxer.