When shopping for a new car, you need to know whether your preferred model or brand comes with the standard equipment and accessories before committing your finances.
You might have noticed with the newer models that most of them no longer have a spare tire in the trunk. But why is this becoming so common? Here’s what I discovered.
Do New Cars Come With Spare Tires?
Approximately one-third of new cars today don’t come with spare tires as part of the standard equipment. Instead, most car manufacturers include a compressor and sealant kit to help drivers temporarily fix a flat tire; however, this depends on the car type. Automakers stopped having spare tires to reduce the car weight, increase fuel efficiency, and reduce manufacturing costs.
To learn more about whether new cars come with spare tires, which car types don’t have them and why is that, and why manufacturers stopped having them, read on!
What Percentage Of Cars Don’t Come With a Spare Tire?
Compared to previous decades, every car came with a full spare tire. However, today this has changed, with most vehicle manufacturers opting for a tire inflator kit to reduce the car’s weight and boost fuel economy.
According to a study from AAA, nearly one-third of new car models don’t come with a spare tire.
Instead, these new cars without a spare get a device with a power plug and gauge that car manufacturers have added as a tire repair kit.
Since a good chunk of new cars do not have spare tires, you should first confirm whether the car you want to buy comes with spare tires to avoid the element of surprise when you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
Some customers assumed that they were ripped off by the manufacturer, which is usually not the case.
Additionally, because of not checking their car trunks earlier, more than 450,000 AAA members called the service provider for rescue in 2016, thanks to a flat tire.
At the time of purchase, the sales rep should have the information about whether the car model you want to buy comes with a spare tire or not (and options for adding it).
Why Do New Cars Not Have Spare Tires?
While spare tires are an essential part of the driving experience, why don’t car manufacturers see the need to have one in the trunk?
Here are some factors.
To Improve Fuel Efficiency
If your car has a spare tire, wheel, jack, and tools, it will be heavier than usual, which is not ideal for fuel consumption.
For instance, if you have a 50-pound spare tire plus the jack and tools, you can reduce your car’s fuel economy by 1%.
Therefore, manufacturers reduce the vehicle’s weight by removing the 30 to 50 pounds, which includes the wrench and jack.
This strategy helps in improving aerodynamics by reducing the air drag from the spare tire compartments.
Once these two factors have been taken care of, the miles per gallon performance of the car will improve, which also allows the manufacturer to meet EPA standards. Additionally, it’s also an appealing feature for energy-conscious drivers.
Lack Of Storage Space
When buying a car, it’s advisable not to use generalized numbers when comparing the cargo space, whether it’s a sedan, hatchback, SUV, or minivan. It’s better to bring a tape measure to confirm the depth, width, and height for yourself.
One thing to keep in mind, especially when shopping for hybrids, diesel, and electric vehicles, the emission equipment and batteries now take up the space where the spare tire used to be.
While some electric vehicles come with expanded storage space and trunks, this may not be enough to add a spare tire, especially if you want to boost fuel efficiency.
Trade-Off For Smaller Vehicles
If you are considering buying a smaller vehicle, your manufacturer might not make a provision for enough space for a spare tire.
Based on the make, a spare tire can take up lots of room, especially in small sedans or sports cars; therefore, you have to trade-off between extra trunk space and comfort.
Therefore, if your target is a small car, there’s a high chance that you’ll have to get a spare tire as an extra expense.
Lower Manufacturing Costs
Tires are pretty expensive, even for ordinary drivers. A Consumer Reports survey indicates that the median price for a sedan or minivan tires is $137, $162 for an SUV, and $187 for a truck.
Although carmakers might get them at a lower price in bulk, the tires are still expensive and contribute to high overall costs.
Because of this, carmakers opt to include repair kits or run-flat tires in the car trunk and save on costs that involve adding a spare tire.
When Did Cars Stop Having Spare Tires?
Historically, the first spares were invented in 1904 by Walter and Tom Davies; however, the production was banned by the U.S. government during World War II in 1941.
When production resumed, companies became innovative, and in 1980, Volkswagen invented the space-saver tire, which is characteristically smaller, narrower, and has a shallow tread than regular tires. This compact tire saved on production costs and allowed for more trunk room.
By 2017, most new cars had space-saver tires, which according to AA, are designed for temporary use until you can get a place to repair your tires.
Compared with today’s model, automakers now include run-flat tires and donut tires, while cars such as Teslas don’t come with a spare tire.
What Car Types Have No Spare Tires
When researching car types that don’t have spare tires, it’s challenging to generalize specific models.
However, most green vehicles such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric cars will often have no spare wheels because most of these automakers focus on reducing extra costs by eliminating unnecessary features.
Additionally, performance vehicles meant to be lightweight such as sports cars, also miss this accessory.
Do Tesla Cars Come With Spare Tires?
Electric vehicle maker Tesla is the most valuable carmaker globally. As an innovative brand, this car model lacks some of the features present in traditional vehicles including, spare tires.
Tesla cars don’t have a spare tire because of weight, practicality, free roadside assistance, and lack of use.
In place of a spare tire, these cars have a driver assist system known as TPMS that informs drivers when tire pressure is low.
On top of this, Tesla owners have Roadside Assistance available 24/7; therefore, if a driver has an active warranty, they can get assisted with just a phone call. According to most Tesla drivers, the staff are professional and have efficient repair speed and rapid response.
However, as a driver, if you still want to buy a spare kit for your Tesla, they are available but at an exorbitant price.
Do BMWs Come With Spare Tires?
Most BMWs in the market today come with run-flat tires, which have reinforced sidewalls to allow them to operate with little or no tire pressure.
In most cases, vehicles that have run-flat tires don’t have a spare or repair kit.
Luxury BMW cars are sportier; therefore, the company has made the run-flat tires standard on typically every model.
Do Mercedes-Benz Cars Come With Spare Tires?
While some Mercedes-Benz models have spare tires, others just have a tire fit mobility kit or run-flat tires.
However, some models come with a tire pressure monitoring system, with sensors for each wheel to let you know when there’s a malfunction in your tires.
With the run-flat tires, drivers can continue driving up to 50 miles and seek service from a Mercedes center.
If you have the tire fit mobility kit, you can seal the tire with a sealant until you get proper service.
Do Jeeps Come With Spare Tires?
In my research, most Jeep cars don’t come with a spare tire. For instance, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee doesn’t have one, the 2019 Jeep Renegade also doesn’t, with the exception of the Trail Hawk, as it has a full-size spare tire.
The models that come with a spare tire have standard equipment and a tire service kit to help change tires.
Do Hyundai Cars Come With Spare Tires?
New Hyundai car models don’t come with spare tires, but instead, the car manufacturer has included a tire mobility kit to help with flat tires.
Using the Hyundai Tire Mobility Kit, drivers can repair small punctures, which allows them to still drive for a short distance and purchase a new tire.
However, if you want a spare kit, you can ship one from certified dealers who sell tires designed for Hyundai car models.
Do Volvos Come With Spare Tires?
Some Volvo customers have pointed out that their cars don’t have a spare tire.
However, according to Volvo themselves, some cars such as the XC90 come with a temporary spare wheel which should be replaced with a normal wheel as soon as possible.
Additionally, the company also offers some regulations about driving with the temporary spare wheel. Drivers should maintain an 80 km/h (50 mph) speed, the car shouldn’t have more than one temporary wheel, and it should not be repaired.
Do Kia Cars Come With A Spare Tire?
Kia, like other carmakers, has eliminated the spare tire to save on trunk space and focus on fuel economy.
While the new models don’t come with a spare tire, the company includes a Kia Tire Mobility Kit (TMK), a package of tools designed to help you fix a flat tire should you run into any problems.
With this kit, you can temporarily repair your tire until you safely get to a repair center. Inside your kit, you’ll find a tire sealant, tire gauge, necessary cables, filling hoses, and a compressor.
While this kit provides a quick tire fix, it’s not meant to offer a permanent solution; therefore, you’ll still need to seek professional repair services at a Kia center.
Kia stopped supplying spare tires in 2008 and introduced the Kia Tire Mobility Kit. However, if you still prefer the traditional spare tire, the company has this option for car buyers to order.
In today’s auto manufacturing business, most companies are opting to remove the spare tire in their new car models.
While some top brands still factor in this tire, there is a growing shift, and more automakers are going for a space-saver tire, run-flat tires, donut tires, or repair kits.
Carmakers are increasingly removing this essential component to improve fuel efficiency, reduce car weight, and lower overall manufacturing costs.
Therefore, before purchasing a car, it’s advisable to confirm whether the model you want to buy comes with spare tires or has a repair kit only.