ORLANDO, Florida – Spare tires are doing a disappearing act from the new-car equipment lists, according to a new AAA study.
AAA Engineering found that approximately 36 percent of 2015 vehicles sold in the U.S. came without a spare tire, up from just 5 percent of vehicles sold in 2006.
In the last 10 years, more than 29 million vehicles have been sold without a spare, AAA said.
Spare tires are going the way of rumble seats and tail fins, according to Edmunds.
Fuel economy requirements, trunk space considerations and safety concerns have prompted automakers to shift toward smaller temporary spares. In some vehicles, there’s no spare at all.
Run-flat tires and tire-pressure monitoring systems have contributed to the demise of the spare tire.
Even high-end luxury cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class skip the spare tire in favor of run-flat tires.
However, AAA notes flats continue to be the second leading cause of AAA roadside assistance calls, accounting for more than 4 million calls a year.
In other words, most people just reach for the phone when they have a flat.
Changing a tire has become a lost art. More than one in five millennial drivers, ages 18-34, do not know how to change a tire, AAA said.
AAA is calling on automakers “to put consumer interests first and halt the elimination of the spare tire.”
Edmunds says: Smart car shoppers will not assume that their vehicle comes equipped with a spare tire. Ask dealership sales staff for a detailed list of equipment and whether a spare tire can be purchased as an option.