Vernon, BC - Monday, May 4, 2015
A recent Kal Tire survey shows that more than one-third of Canadian drivers had a flat tire last year. But how many drivers know the age or condition of their spare tire? Or if they even have a spare? With road-trip season ahead, being spare aware—knowing the type, age and condition of your spare tire—means drivers don’t have to find out the hard way when they’re caught in a roadside emergency.
“Age and/or weather-related problems that could make a tire unsafe aren’t always visible. With four in 10 drivers not checking the condition of their spare in the past year, they’re risking potential tire failure should they have to use the spare tire in the event of a flat.”
“Many people think because they’ve never used the spare or because there’s good tread depth, that their spare is in good shape,” says Carey Hull, director of retail products, Kal Tire. In fact, a March survey shows 92 per cent of drivers claimed their spare tire is in good enough or excellent condition, yet more than one-third also reported their spare tire is six to 10 or more years old. “That’s about the time when you need to ensure you’re inspecting tires for age-related issues, and possibly replacing them.”
The rubber compound of a tire can degrade over time, even if it’s never been used. Several variables can impact tire aging, from how the tire is stored and used to the weather elements it faces.
“Age and/or weather-related problems that could make a tire unsafe aren’t always visible. With four in 10 drivers not checking the condition of their spare in the past year, they’re risking potential tire failure should they have to use the spare tire in the event of a flat,” says Hull.
Summary of Kal Tire Spare Tire Survey Findings*:
- Canadian drivers rely heavily on their spare tire; 93 per cent have a spare tire and 79 per cent used it the last time they had a flat
- 53 per cent have a compact tire
- 40 per cent have a full-size spare
- 35 per cent of drivers experienced a flat tire in the last year—a further 29 per cent in the last two to five years
- Four in 10 (42 per cent) of drivers haven’t checked the condition of their spare tire in the past year
- 92 per cent claim their spare tire is in good enough or excellent condition, yet 37 per cent report their spare tire is six to 10 or more years old
As highlighted above, Kal Tire’s survey shows a significant majority of Canadian drivers have a spare tire, even though several auto manufacturers are eliminating heavy spare tires to improve fuel efficiency. In place of spares, they’re opting for run-flat tires, sometimes complemented by emergency inflator kits and spray sealants.
“There are many things that can cause a flat tire. In some cases, the damage is not easily visible and a ‘quick fix’ could result in a dangerous situation at worst or an unrepairable tire at best,” says Hull. “We recommend no quick fixes when it comes to flat tires. Your safest option is a healthy spare.”
Be Spare Aware Tips for Drivers:
- Have the spare tire inspected by a tire technician whenever the vehicle is serviced, especially before a long road trip. Technicians will look for visible signs of an unsafe tire and ensure the tire is at the recommended pressure.
- Be mindful of when the tire was made, not when it was purchased.
- If a vehicle has run-flat tires, know that once the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) illuminates, a general rule of thumb is deflating run-flats can drive 80 km/hr for 80 km to reach a service centre.
- For your safety and to help ensure your tire can be repaired in the future, only use inflator kits and sealants after educating yourself on how and when to use these products.
There are a number of options in the event of a flat tire; each with its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Full-size spares are heavy and bulky and they should be part of regular tire rotation; however, since they are typically the same size as the other tires on the vehicle, you can be back on your way in no time in the event of a flat tire.
- Compact spares are lightweight, and built for low speed and short-term travel. They are for emergency use only and can potentially impact important vehicle features like ABS, traction control and proper speedometer operation.
- Run-flat tires do away with a spare tire altogether, saving space, increasing fuel mileage and allowing drivers to travel short distances after the tire has been punctured. However, not all run-flats are repairable.
- Ancillary products can include items such as tire inflator kits or repair kits containing foam or sealant. These products take up minimal space and can provide a good emergency repair solution. However, sealants and foam can also have a negative impact on the integrity of the tire.