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what's in your trunk?

My friend David Louie, a veteran reporter with KGO TV in San Francisco, called the other day and asked if I could contribute to an evening news feature he was working on. A viewer had contacted David and shared that she was shocked to discover that her shiny new car did not have a spare in the trunk. I wasn’t surprised. We have a MINI Cooper Coupe, factory equipped with run-flat tires and no spare. The run-flat scheme reinforces the tire’s sidewall to allow driving without inflation at speeds under 50 MPH until you find repair. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they ride like the round rocks on the Flintstone car and I plan to replace them with normal, more comfortable tires. And when I do, I’ll install a spare, jack and wrench in the trunk well.


Flat tires are not as frequent an occurrence as they once were, but with the often-miserable condition of our public roads, they do happen. I’ve had four experiences in the last five years with flat tires on nearly new vehicles. A Lexus LX and Lincoln Navigator had space saver spares with jacks and wrenches aboard. I changed both and was on my way. The other two, a Jaguar F-Type and a Chevy Volt both had little to offer but a weak compressor and a can of goop. Both cars were towed.


Until recently, automakers equipped nearly all their cars with a modest space saver tire to enable owners to get safely to the tire store or dealership on their own schedule. So what happened to that concept? A combination of weight savings and packaging space, especially in hybrid and electric vehicles. And it also saves the automaker a few buckaroos, an annoying thought considering the price of a new car. So here’s another question for the car sales person; does this car have a spare tire in the trunk? If not, is one available?

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