When Did You Last Check Your Spare Tire?

February 9th, 2016

 

By definition, your spare tire is exactly that, a spare in case of an emergency. Meanwhile while we wait for an emergency, we forget to check on our spare tire simply because it's not needed........yet. And when it's needed, it might not be ready to do its job because many of us

don't do what we have to do to keep our cars, tires, brakes, etc in good condition....in a word: maintenance.

 

The problem with that kind of thinking is that it's not preventative as is, unfortunately, a lot of maintenance issues. The whole concept of preventative car care is to avoid accidents, get the best performance, stay prepared for situations that come up unexpected, avoid costly repairs and situations and extend the life of our car and its tires.

 

Think about it. Isn't it a pain when your car doesn't start on a cold morning? But, when have you had your car battery checked last? Batteries have a life expectancy. How old is yours? Same with your spare tire....It's there, you know it and we all ignore it and then when it fails it causes problems, safety issues, delays and stress.

 

Most spare tire is out of sight on most vehicles and it is almost always out of mind, too. And we know as tire pros that no matter where it's stored, even when it's mounted on our customer's car's back door in plain sight, day after day, it usually gets ignored. It has needs just like anything else. When you check your tire inflation, check the spare, too. Remind service people to do this as well.

 

Because compressed air permeates rubber over time, chances are your spare will be under inflated. Same for nitrogen-filled tires as well only nitrogen filters through the rubber slower. 106 St Tire has nitrogen fill, but, if you are not ready for high tech, you might want to fill just your spare with it since it does maintain correct tire pressure longer.

 

If you have a small compact spare tire, a so-called donut, that has been stored away under the trunk floor for three, four or five years, we will bet you it's severely under-inflated. In fact, if it has been years since you used it probably has been rendered impossible to use because the weight of your car on it and stress of driving down a road in emergency conditions isn't going to happen....not safely, at least. That spare is most assuredly very under-inflated....NOT SAFE.

 

Got a tire pressure gauge? Please go check that donut tire. If the tire pressure is less than 60 psi, don't use it. Take it and get the pressure up to snuff. Also, let us remind you that a fully inflated donut spare is designed for temporary use only and that means less than 100 miles at speeds no higher than 50 mph.

 

Tire and repair shops that do tire rotations routinely check the inflation levels of the four tires on the car however the spare is usually ignored. Ultimately, since you are the driver, it's your responsibility to remind shops to check the spare. This should be done two times a year.

 

Long-term exposure to water, salt, snow and dirt can cause corrosion on those spare tires mounted on the tailgate.  That can make it very difficult to remove the mounting brackets, hardware and operate latches in an emergency. It's simply a maintenance issue to periodically inspect, clean or lubricate the brackets etc if needed. This can make your life so much easier to remove the spare if you get a flat tire.

 

If you're the kind of person who usually drives with the trunk loaded with unnecessary stuff like sporting goods, anti-freeze, windshield wiper fluid, books or clothes to donate, extra water, that weight ruins your gas mileage.  When you get a flat all of that will have to be unloaded to get to that donut from under the floor which may be flat. It's already an emergency and now more hassle.

 

If you are dressed up on the way out, keep in mind that the donut you have ignored is probably flat and filthy since you have ignored it for years. It's a good idea to have trash bags in your trunk for such an ugly occasion that could get uglier depending on where you are.

 

Spare tires may not be mentioned on service menus at tire and repair shops, but a little preventive maintenance can really save you a lot of hassle when you already have an emergency on your hands.

 

Please come in to one of our 106 St Tire & Wheel locations and we will inspect all 5 tires to avoid the above, check tire pressure and add compressed air and for free.

  Posted in: Tires 101
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