It’s reasonable to assume that all trucks automatically come with a spare tire when purchasing them. However, what if this isn’t the case? Unfortunately, some truck companies may refuse to provide their customers with spare tires.
Not all trucks come with a spare tire. This is due to some companies opting to either not offer them or give a less effective alternative. This makes it necessary for customers to find a suitable alternative to avoid a potential setback.
In this article, I’ll explain why some automobile companies have decided against providing spare tires with their vehicles. I’ll also cover alternatives for you to consider and share some tips on checking tires for damage to help lower the chances of needing a spare tire.
Types of Spare Tire Substitutes Found in Trucks
Les Schwab, a tire company, based out of Colorado, explains why some new vehicles no longer come with spare tires. Instead, some companies have chosen to provide their customers with cheaper options such as donut (also called space-saver) tires.
This can blindside customers who expect to receive a standard spare tire with their new vehicle. Substitutes for spare tires naturally aren’t as durable or viable and aren’t a good option for the long run.
Here’s a list of replacements you’re likely to find for spare tires:
- Donut tires
- Self-sealing tires
- Inflator kits
Now, let’s dive in and learn more about these substitutes and how they compare to spare tires.
What exactly is a “donut tire,” and how different are these compared to a normal spare?
According to CarShtuff’, donut tires backups are a downgrade of a spare tire. Donut tires take up less space, which is great for travel. On the other hand, they’re not meant for long-term usage. Donut tires have a speed limit of little more than 20 mph (32.19 kph) and generally only last about 50 miles (80.47 km).
The issue with donut tires is that they’re much smaller than any of your car’s other tires. Because of this, they’re not as durable and are only meant to be used as a temporary fix in the case of a flat tire.
If you find yourself stuck using a donut tire for your vehicle, take caution, but know that these are generally safe. The trick with donut tires is to avoid rapidly wearing them out with an average mph. Remember, donut tires aren’t meant for regular vehicular travel.
Also, avoid using donut tires as a replacement for your front wheels. Because they’re not as durable, they won’t be able to withstand the pressure a normal front tire can handle.
A far more durable substitute for spare tires is self-sealing tires.
Auto Trader explains that self-sealing tires work as an instant defense against normal punctures that can ruin average tires. These unique tires are made of material that immediately seals up after getting pierced by nails.
Compared to donut tires, self-sealing tires last longer and are easier to use for driving. They can also be mixed with your other regular tires, an improvement over donut tires with more limited use.
Keep in mind, however, that self-sealing tires aren’t invincible. While they work as a great defense against normal punctures, they can’t withstand deeper cuts.
Another thing to remember with self-sealing tires is that they will still need to be checked after receiving damage. Even with their higher durability compared to standard tires, you shouldn’t avoid having them professionally inspected after they get punctured.
Another great backup in the case of flat tires is inflator kits.
Gear Hungry describes inflator kits as a lifesaver on the road when you end up with a flat tire. Thankfully, these kits are easy to use and work a great fix when you need to get back on the road quickly.
Car and Driver further asserts that inflator kits can save you even when you don’t have a spare tire on hand. By helping you inflate your flat tire, inflator kits can help you have a safer time between your damaged tire and your visit to get it replaced.
Besides saving you valuable time, another great benefit of inflator kits is how affordable they tend to be. Whereas calling for assistance can cost you a hefty sum, having one of these kits on hand can save you money and stress.
On top of this, inflator kits are quite portable. This makes them great for travel. Keep in mind, if you’re looking for a kit designed for heavy-duty tires, designated kits are likely to be less portable.
Check Tires for Damage (And Avoid Needing To Use a Spare)
It’s best to be proactive when determining whether or not you need new tires. Doing this ahead of time can save you money, time, and stress.
AAA recommends using a few different tricks for checking the status of your tires. These include a penny trick where you use the coin to check your tire’s tread depth. If you can still see the head, it means the depth is too low, and it’s time to replace the tire.
Another rule of thumb with tire maintenance is how your vehicle feels during driving. If you can feel it vibrating at a constant rate, that’s a warning sign something is wrong with your tires.
And by all means, if you can tell that your tires have naturally aged and cracked after heavy mileage, this is a good sign to replace them. After all, no tire lasts forever, and all eventually need to be changed out, no matter how good of a driver you are.
While it can be understandably frustrating that some companies choose not to provide their customers with spare tires, other terrific options are available.
Remember that it’s always best to have at least one of these options on hand for your time and safety on the road. While they might not be ideal or permanent fixes to tire damage, these backups will still be of immense help in an emergency.