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Old 09-08-2011, 03:09 PM   #21
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I would stick with the emergency spare and then consider either putting a 12 vdc emergency air pump or a can of Fix-A-Flat in the trunk.
+1 on the air pump. Whether you get the regular spare or not, these are handy. IME, you are far more likely to have a slow leak (nail, screw, leaky air stem or leaky rim) than a full blow-out. With the small pump, you can get it pumped enough to make it to the tire place, and save the trouble of swapping out the spare. Jacking the car can also be dangerous alongside a road with a slope or soft surface.

In case of a blow out, it could help if you find the spare is low. They are cheap insurance.

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Old 09-08-2011, 04:02 PM   #22
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So, let's say the next time I get a set of tires, I buy a new wheel, and get five tires instead of four. If I rotate the spare into the mix every time I do the rotation, the five tires will last longer, so there's zero additional tire cost. I'll only have to do four jack-ups per rotation instead of five..
You have to be careful how you do that on AWD cars - like my Forrester. The tires all need to have an equal amount of wear or it creates extra wear on the drivetrain.

Tire Tech Information - Matching Tires on Four-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

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Old 09-08-2011, 05:00 PM   #23
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You have to be careful how you do that on AWD cars - like my Forrester. The tires all need to have an equal amount of wear or it creates extra wear on the drivetrain.

Tire Tech Information - Matching Tires on Four-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

DD

Interesting link.... did not know... but I do not have a 4X4....

But, it states in the article that you should use the 5th tire if it is the same size...

"Rotating Tires
Because the front and rear tires of all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles perform different duties while accelerating, braking and cornering, tire rotation is important to even out, and maintain equivalent treadwear of all of the vehicle's tires to minimize potential driveline stresses.
If the vehicle is equipped with a matching road wheel and full-sized spare tire, they should be integrated into the vehicle's rotation pattern at the first tire rotation. This will allow all five of the vehicle's tires to share in the workload and wear at similar rates. In the event that a single tire is damaged and has to be removed from service, this will allow the tread depth equivalent spare tire to be used with the remaining three tires.
If the spare is not integrated into the vehicle's tire rotation pattern, it will not match the tread depth of the four worn tires on the ground when called into service. Additionally, if a single tire is replaced by the full size spare tire, hopefully the new replacement tire can remain as the spare tire until the other four tires have worn out and need to be replaced."
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:52 PM   #24
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two words:
junk
yard
Fix a flat. two cans if really insecure.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:27 PM   #25
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Don't know if any of you have run into this, but after using Fix A Flat on a tire that didn't stop the leak, I had a couple of tire repair places ask if I had it in there and they refused to work on the tire (Pep Boys and Wal Mart). Funny, I ended up getting it patched at another Wal-Mart location. Apparently it's a bad thing for some tire guys, they know it's really messy and one claimed it was cancer causing exposure for them.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:38 PM   #26
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Our 2011 MINI doesn't even have the donut spare, relying on run-flat tires instead. We'll see how that works out.
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:10 PM   #27
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Anyone replace their toy spare tire with a real one? The payoff would come if you have a blowout in a very remote location. With a real tire, you could avoid driving a long distance at low speed.
Not a day goes by that I don't see somebody driving on the freeway with one of the little spares at speeds in excess of 75 MPH.
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:50 PM   #28
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one advantage to the little spares is that they are much easier to handle than the full-size spares and once it's on the ground, it's no more likely to fail than any other tire. Remember you have to lift the spare up, but the flat can be allowed to fall off the car.

I recently experienced a valve stem failure on a tire on my full-size GMC pick-up while driving at highway speed. A valve stem failure is almost like a blowout. The tire goes down very quickly. A pump or can of stop-leak is useless. Of course, my GMC has a full-size spare, but it's stored under the bed and getting it down is a major job as is jacking up the truck and changing the flat.

Did I mention that full-size pick-up tires are very heavy for an old man?
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:32 PM   #29
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Our 2011 MINI doesn't even have the donut spare, relying on run-flat tires instead. We'll see how that works out.
Watch out when it comes time to replace these. A friend has a Honda mini van with run flats and said they don't last nearly as long are regular tires and had to replace them twice already, about 15-20k intervals. The price of run flats were 2-3 times more than reg. tires. Regrets not switching them to reg. tires the first replacement since he was told he needed new rims to do this.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:57 PM   #30
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Steel-belted radials can be rotated any which way, as long as they are not one-directional tread patterns. Cars and trucks for years have had them, and the mfg.-suggested rotation plans are forward-cross or rearward-cross depending if the vehicle is FWD or RWD. So a tire that was on the left side can move to the right, and vice-versa.

That Tirerack article was entertaining. They were concerned about a measly 4 revolutions per mile difference in tires? Ha ha substitute a mini-spare for one of those and see how many revolutions different!!!

Fix-a-flat and the like are for yesterday's vehicles. Cars of 2006 and newer have the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) valve units inside the wheels, and any sealant goop will wreck them.

The mini-spare was not created for the customer's benefit.

No way would I want to drive anything with a mini-spare on it on an interstate or expressway. And you can't always go on backroads. And the backroads can be higher speed and dangerous if you are putting along @55 MPH with white knuckles on the steering wheel.

T-Al, if you can get a suitable wheel for $50, I would do it. We have one vehicle now that has a high-pressure mini-spare under it. It will take a full-size, as it was an option in a fleet package. When I rotated tires, I tried it out temporarily putting a road wheel up there, it fit OK. The problem I have, is there is no cheap steel wheel equivalent. I would have to get another alloy wheel. There are no junkyards around here anymore, the land became too valuable, they sold out closed down, dirt scraped off and dumped somewhere else. What I have seen online, looks like ~$150 for a suitable wheel for ours. My plan is to eventually do it, and use it as a spare, will not equip it for TPMS.

I do not feel comfortable with the extreme diameter differences between most minis and the regular road wheel. The differential, whether as part of a FWD transaxle, or as the rear differential in RWD, was never designed to have all the spiders turning continuously mile after mile after mile.
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:54 AM   #31
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Our 2011 MINI doesn't even have the donut spare, relying on run-flat tires instead. We'll see how that works out.
This is going to be the norm.

Saw something on TV that the new MPG laws are such that manufacturers are doing away with all sorts of things to cut down on weight (spare tire, jack, etc.).
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:33 AM   #32
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people worry too much about the small spare tires. I personally know of a friend that drove from new york state to iowa on one and never had a problem. If you watch tread wear and look for cracks from dry rot on your tires, you will probably never be stuck on the highway with a flat. proper maintainance of your tires is the key. I have a 2006 chevy pickup with 26k mis. still original tires and I would not think of changing unless they started loosing air pressure from weather checking or dry rot. I also have a 2000 buick with the small spare and it looks like new. just check the pressure once a year on it and your good to go. I don't know if tires get bad sitting in the trunk as compared to hanging underneath like a pickup. they don't seem to. I usually go to walmart for tire rotations and they will usually tell me if there is a problem with the tires condition.
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:12 AM   #33
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.......... If you watch tread wear and look for cracks from dry rot on your tires, you will probably never be stuck on the highway with a flat..........
You evidently don't have nails where you live.
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:19 AM   #34
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Our 2011 MINI doesn't even have the donut spare, relying on run-flat tires instead. We'll see how that works out.
Typical life of run-flats is around 10,000 miles. If driving in winter conditions, really do not want to get down to the wear indicators. So figure 8K miles.

YMMV
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:28 AM   #35
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If you watch tread wear and look for cracks from dry rot on your tires, you will probably never be stuck on the highway with a flat.
Dubuque's freeways must be wonderfully free of metal debris. Last week I cruised into the big city and saw 6 cars along the side of the freeway with flat tires - a couple of them were multiple tires.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:25 AM   #36
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You evidently don't have nails where you live.
Oh, nails are sooo yesterday, don't you know

We seem to have an infinite collection of hex-head sheet metal screws of all sizes. And a long narrow wood splinter that stabbed into a sidewall at speed, just where the tread ends on the sidewall. That one was not repairable. Glad we had our full-size spare to put on and keep going.

Personally, I will avoid buying any vehicle that depends on run-flat tires, no place to put a tire whether spare or flat. I'm not interested in sports cars, etc. so I don't think this will be a problem for me. And I always check before getting something. Plus, I ain't gonna live forever, so this may be an up-and-coming problem for those young'uns.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:24 AM   #37
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I actually did just the opposite with one of my antique cars, a 1979 Chrysler New Yorker. The full-sized spare stowed forward in the center of the trunk, and took up a lot of room. It's also a very shallow trunk, and the deepest spot is, in Chrysler's infinite wisdom, occupied by the spare. However, the compact spare stows upright, off to the side, in the little drop-offs that most old cars have, a spot that usually just accumulates junk, moisture, and is a fine starting point for rust.

In this particular car, it really frees up a lot of space, which is especially critical, as now my beer cooler fits just fine. :-)

I think with most other cars back in those days, if you got a full-sized spare it would fit in the same spot. But then most cars just had thrown in the trunk anyway, without making a special place for it. Nowadays, most cars have the tire stored under the trunk, and I guess with some cars, a full-size might not fit. I used to have a 2000 Intrepid with a compact spare, and as I recall, there was some styrofoam padding between the tire and the cover. If you wanted to put a full-size spare in there, I think you just took the styrofoam piece out. Other cars may be different, though.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:53 AM   #38
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This is going to be the norm.

Saw something on TV that the new MPG laws are such that manufacturers are doing away with all sorts of things to cut down on weight (spare tire, jack, etc.).
I think this will be a growing trend and an unfortunate consequence of the higher govt mileage regulations. We'll see thinner sheet metal and structural components (cars will rust out sooner), smaller "good enough" components (starters, alternators, wiper and fan motors, struts, etc that won't last as long), and the use of more expensive parts (i.e. with lightening holes and lighter alloys) to reduce weight (and which will increase costs). The result may be more expensive cars with tires that won't go 15K miles, cars that have higher maintenance costs, that lose their value faster, and that go to the junkyard sooner. But they get 4 MPG more, which was enough for the manufacturer to avoid a penalty. It will be a losing proposition for many consumers, but (due to the deliberate manipulation of incentives), will benefit the car manufacturers.

I think we might already be there with motor oil. Our new car (Honda CR-V) specifies use of 0W-20 oil. Now, maybe the tolerances of newer engines are fantastic, or maybe their alloys are much better than a few years ago, but putting oil that thin in a car during the summer just doesn't feel right. Is my motor really being fully protected so she'll go to 200K miles, or did Honda need to reduce friction and pumping losses to get that extra .1 MPG that put the car into a better government category? I'll never know. I'd rather just buy the extra 2 gallons of gas per year and know that Honda's interests and mine are congruent, and that no other parties are at the table influencing the game.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:58 AM   #39
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I used to be an auto mechanic and know quite a bit about cars.

A few things to consider.

1) Some spare tires don't force you to drive slow...just that you can't drive fast for long periods...so the way I see it, drive fast to get home that night or to a tire shop, then have the tire fixed/replaced the next day...no big deal.

2) If you get a "regular" tire, make sure it will fit in the location designed...or you'll be taking up valuable luggage or other space. I have a newer mustang, and a regular tire won't fit in the trunk under the floorboard where the donut is

3) A regular tire/wheel weighs more...so you'd experience a TINY decrease in fuel mileage...but over the life of your car it would likely be enough to matter somewhat.

Good luck!
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:00 AM   #40
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...a 1979 Chrysler New Yorker...In this particular car, it really frees up a lot of space, which is especially critical, as now my beer cooler fits just fine. :-)
Really? You had to remove the spare tire to make room for a beer cooler?

How big is that thing?

It's been a few years since I looked at a New Yorker, but as I recall they had enough trunk space to hold a refrigerator to hold your beer and make ice, along with the generator to run it and a bartender to serve frosty mugfulls of beer - provided he wasn't overtall.



On the plus side for exchanging the full size spare for a smaller one - that pic makes it look like digging that full sizer out of the trunk could be a back breaking nightmare as you probably had to crawl up in there to get it out.
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