Flat tires can happen at any time, especially when you least expect it and in cases when you don’t have a spare tire. However, most newer car models today don’t come with a spare tire.
Therefore, you need to plan on what to do if you get a puncture on the road. So, what exactly can you do if you don’t have a spare tire? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
No Spare Tire, What To Do?
Approximately 30% of new cars don’t come with a spare tire, as carmakers are saving up on manufacturing costs and reducing the weight of their cars. If your car doesn’t have a spare or you accidentally forgot yours, you can call a roadside service, a tow truck, use emergency kits or call a friend to assist.
To learn more about what to do when you don’t have a spare tire and the different methods you can go for, keep reading for more facts and tips!
What Can I Do If I Don’t Have a Spare Tire?
Have you ever had a flat tire on the road without a spare tire? Here are some tips on what to do:
1. Call A Roadside Service Provider
When you buy a car or insurance, most providers offer complimentary road assistance packages and services.
Roadside assistance comes in handy, especially if you’re not good with tools or prefer your car to be fixed by professionals. You can call your insurance agent or contact providers such as AAA.
AAA Roadside Assistance is renowned for its towing services, so you can call them when you are stuck on the road with a flat tire, and they will send a technician to assess the damage and tow your car to a facility to get the tires changed.
Additionally, these services are usually available 24/7, offering you assistance regardless of the hour.
2. Call Your Local Tire Shop
If you have a trusted mechanic at your local tire shop who’s nearby, you can call them to come and assist.
Your mechanic understands your car better and may be the closest option. Therefore, if you can’t get road assistance to your location, contact your mechanic.
3. Call A Tow Truck
Apart from companies such as AAA, nationwide tow services can assist you when you have a flat tire.
Once you call these tow services, you need to specify the service you need. They can fill your flat with a compressor, install a new tire or tow your vehicle to a shop which might be costly. Either way, let the driver know the service that you require so that they’re prepared.
4. Use A Tire Repair Kit
If your car didn’t come with a spare tire, it most likely has a tire repair kit or sealant that temporarily helps you fix a puncture.
For cars with a sealant, it comes with piping to make it easier to inject into the tire. When adding the sealant, open the valve cap and detach it from the system.
Once the valve is out, attach the sealant to the system, pour in the sealant and reattach the valve.
A repair kit also has an air compressor that you can use to pump your tires up to the recommended PSI. When this is done, you can drive for a few extra miles to a tire shop to have the tires professionally checked.
When using a repair kit, keep in mind that the sealant is a temporary solution. You also shouldn’t drive fast or for long to avoid damaging the tire further.
5. Use Fix-A-Flat
There’s a debate on whether Fix-A-Flat should be used on flat tires and whether it negatively affects them.
Although it’s not the best option, it can be quite helpful in an emergency. However, it should be used only when the tire hasn’t gone entirely flat.
Fix-A-Flat is applied in the same way as tire sealants, meaning you need to inject it into the tires valve system until the rim lifts off the ground.
Once you’re done, this fluid will activate immediately, and you can remove the pipe’s nozzle from the valve. You should then drive for a few minutes to help the sealant spread evenly and find the nearest tire shop to repair or replace your tires.
If you know your car doesn’t have a spare tire, you can always carry this sealant for emergencies.
6. Use A Tire Plug Kit
If you don’t have a spare tire, plugging can be quite helpful. To do so, you need to identify the source of the air leak or puncture and put a plug into the hole.
This method helps seal the hole for a while until you can get to a tire shop to repair your tires.
Additionally, larger and more extensive plug kits come with tools such as pliers to remove the objects that have punctured your tires.
7. Call Your Friend
If you’re not in a position to call a tow truck or roadside assistance, you can also call a friend to come and help you.
This method could work if you’re close to them or if they’re better skilled at fixing flat tires. Additionally, your friend might have a spare or a run-flat tire that you can use for your car until you get to an auto shop.
8. Buy A Used Spare Tire
If you’re stuck on the road, you could also buy a used spare tire. You can get a used spare tire on eBay, Craigslist, or the local tire yards by doing a quick search online.
While this can be a quick solution, you need to be careful not to buy tires that are in poor condition. You need a tire that will get you to an auto shop; therefore, it shouldn’t endanger your car.
Since you’re buying online, you also need to confirm that the seller can deliver to you in a short while, especially if you are parked by the roadside.
What Are Other Options If You Don’t Have A Spare Tire?
As established above, most new cars are missing a spare tire. Therefore, it’s important to examine your options for a safe alternative, which are listed below:
1. Invest In Run-Flat Tires
Run-flat tires are designed to support your car for a limited time, even after your tire has punctured.
With these tires, you won’t have to stop by the roadside to get help, and you can still drive for about 100 miles until you get to an auto shop.
You can buy run-flats at the dealership when buying your car, or get the aftermarket at your local tire shop. They come in handy if you drive for long distances and for people who don’t know how to change their tires.
Although run-flat tires are more costly, they come with more peace of mind, especially if you don’t have a spare.
2. Take Precautions
If you know your car has no spare tire, you can keep an emergency repair kit and sealants in the car. You can also buy Fix-A-Flat and a tire plug kit to prepare for potential tire problems.
Additionally, you can also subscribe to roadside assistance providers such as AAA to make it easier to receive help when you have a flat.
As well, always watch out for warning signs such as the TPMS light, which will alert you if your tires are low on pressure.
3. Buy a Spare Tire
You can purchase a spare tire if your vehicle doesn’t have one. However, before buying, you need to check whether your car has space to carry the tire.
If your car didn’t originally come with a spare, you could source one from sites such as Amazon or order from tire manufacturers. When you have a tire, you’ll have better peace of mind if you get a flat tire when driving.
To find out more, you can also see our posts on how long do spare tires last, if new cars come with spare tires, spare tire vs donut, and if you can put air in a spare tire.
Most car models are not equipped with a flat tire, but there are different methods you can use if you get a flat and don’t have a spare on hand, such as calling roadside assistance, a tow truck, or a friend. You can also use the tire repair kits for a temporary fix.
When you use these repair kits, you should only drive for a few miles until you get to an auto shop to repair or replace your tires.