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November 11, 2015
One Third of New Vehicoles Sold Without a Spare Tire

AAA calls on automakers to put consumers first, save the spare tire

MADISON, Wisc. (November 11, 2015 ) — Automakers have been under increased pressure from the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. One way to accomplish this is by removing the spare tire and replacing it with tire inflator kits. This reduces the weight of the vehicle providing for better fuel performance. According to new research from AAA, eliminating the spare tire may leave more than 30 million drivers helpless at the roadside. AAA urges automakers to put consumer interests first and rethink eliminating the spare tire.

AAA test results revealed that the most common tire inflator kits in today’s vehicles worked well in some scenarios. However, they are not a substitute for a spare tire. A tire inflator kit can only be used when a puncture occurs on the center tire tread and the object remains in the tire. These kits cannot be used if the object is no longer lodged in the tire, or if a blowout, pothole or curb related damage occurs.

“This is a major issue for the motorist who is now stranded because they can no longer rely on their tire inflator kit, requiring their vehicle to be towed” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA Wisconsin. “If the motorist had a spare tire they would be able to get back on the road saving them time and money.”

Tire inflator kits have replaced spare tires on 29 million vehicles in the last 10 model years. While each four-pound kit eliminates approximately 30 pounds of weight, resulting in minimal savings in fuel consumption, the replacement cost is high. With some kits costing up to $300 per use, a tire inflator kit can cost consumers up to 10 times more than a simple tire repair, not to mention they only have a shelf life of four to eight years.

AAA research also revealed that more than one-in-five millennial drivers (ages 18-34) do not know how to change a tire, compared to nearly 90 percent of drivers aged 35-54 that know this important skill. Gender differences also exist: 97 percent of men claim to know how to change a tire while 68 percent of women feel confident to do so.

AAA offers theses precautionary tips:

  • If your vehicle is equipped with a tire inflator kit, read the owner’s manual and understand system limitations before roadside trouble strikes
  • When purchasing a new vehicle, don’t assume it comes equipped with a spare tire. Always ask sales staff for a detailed list of equipment and if a spare tire can be purchased as an option.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with a tire inflator kit, AAA recommends that you check its expiration date and replace the kit when necessary, typically between 4-8 years.
  • If your vehicle has a spare tire, be sure it is properly inflated and stowed. Check tire pressure monthly, as a flat spare tire is of no value in an emergency.
If faced with roadside trouble, including a flat tire, AAA is available to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  AAA members can request assistance by calling (800) AAA-HELP, visiting or via the AAA Mobile App.  To become a member, visit


Nick Jarmusz
phone: 608-828-2495
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

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