In an attempt to meet new regulatory standards for fuel efficiency, U.S. automakers have been quietly eliminating an important piece of safety equipment in new model cars: the spare tire. Unfortunately, most drivers won’t know it until they need it.
Most car manufacturers now offer spare tires as an option, with prices ranging from $100 for basic models to more than $350 for pricier cars. GM said that the requirement to add low tire pressure warning sensors in all models manufactured after 2006 has significantly reduced the risk of drivers being stranded by a flat tire, as has the prevalence of outfitting new cars with “run flat” tires.
Whether your car has a spare tire or not, following these safety tips for maintaining tires gives you a better chance of never needing it:
- Check and adjust tire pressures monthly
- Inspect tires monthly for signs of abnormal wear
- Rotate tires every 6,000 miles or according to owner’s manual
- Make sure tires are properly balanced
- Make sure steering and suspension is in proper alignment
- Never overload tires
- Avoid overheating tires
- Replace tires as needed
- Select the right tires for your vehicle and driving environment
- Install tires in complete sets or matched side-to-side pairs
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