John Nielsen: As we all know a flat tire can strike at any time, but if the current trend is any indication, you could face quite a surprise the next time you find yourself on the side of the road with a flat.
Researches reveal that 13% of all new cars sold in the first half of 2011 didn't include a spare tire. Instead, these new vehicles are equipped with run-flat tire, roadside inflator kits or emergency sealants, but why?
Well it's all because of new, even tougher government fuel economy standards. A spare tire, related tools and a jack can weigh more than 40 pounds and though, removing it may seem insignificant, manufacturers are eager to make those weight savings changes that don't add costs to the vehicle.
Well, how can you prepare for the fall of the spare? Well, investigate your alternatives in advance. Vehicles designed without spares are usually equipped with some type of backup and detailed information can be found in your owner's manual.
Some vehicles have run-flat tires that allow a car to be driven for a short distance after a puncture. Some have emergency sealants which can seal an inflated tire temporarily.
Beware that some of these have an expiration date. New cars can also have inflator kits which will allow the tire to be temporarily inflated so it can be driven to a safe location.
Don't be caught unaware with a flat and no spare tire. Make it a priority to familiarize yourself with your car's flat tire procedure and help avoid disappointment or delay.