Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

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Thread: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

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    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 Premium Member ne_one's Avatar
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    Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?
    Automobile
    May 20, 2011
    by Evan McCausland


    Want to improve your fuel economy? Many automakers claim the key to increased MPG ratings is by cutting vehicle weight — and some companies believe it’s essential to eliminate the traditional spare tire in order to do just that. But are buyers keen to ditch the donut — a longstanding measure of security — in favor of whittling down their fuel consumption?

    General Motors is one of a number of automakers who believe customers are willing to make such a swap. Take, for instance, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Although (compact) spare tires were standard on the preceding Cavalier and Cobalt models, GM instead elected to provide each brand new Cruze with a different solution: an on-board inflator, much like that found in the Chevrolet Corvette.

    GM believes the inflator — which can also inject a sealant capable of repairing quarter-inch gouges and punctures– is a practical alternative. Better yet, it also sheds nearly 26 pounds of weight from the vehicle’s curb weight. But is adopting such a system a risky proposition? The automaker doesn’t believe so, noting that tire pressure monitoring systems — like that found in the Cruze — push owners to maintain correct tire pressures, helping reduce the chances of developing a flat.

    “Getting rid of something as important as the spare wheel wasn’t a decision we made lightly,” says Terry Connolly, director of GM’s tire and wheel systems group. “The universal implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems over the past five years has significantly reduced the likelihood that a flat tire will leave you stranded by the side of the road.”

    Reduces, yes, but not eliminates. GM suggests owners who encounter larger blowouts may need to use OnStar to request roadside assistance. Cruze buyers who abide by the principles of Murphy’s Law can always spend an extra $100 to opt for a conventional compact spare tire and wheel on virtually every trim — even on the fuel-conscious Cruze Eco model.

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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Spare tire is now standard on every 2012 Cruze except the ECO Manual.
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
    Spare tire is now standard on every 2012 Cruze except the ECO Manual.
    Sure, spoil the party.

    Is it a spare or a donut?

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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    I don't believe the lack of a spare is for fuel savings one bit. I don't remember the exact figures off the top of my head but I believe it was close to 500lbs. needing to be shaved off the save 8 percent in fuel efficiency.

    Sure it all adds up but if you think a space saver tire is removed for fuel efficiency I have a couple of bridges I need to talk to you about.

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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    Sure, spoil the party.

    Is it a spare or a donut?
    Donut.
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
    Donut.
    mmmmm donuts... so technically it's less than a spare but more than an inflator

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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    That's the great thing about diesel, you can have four full size spares scattered all over the exterior - and it doesn't matter.

    Why, you can even have heavy comfortable seats, and big ass, actually useable windows and mirrors - it is so much to the better with FE.

    Now, what was the question ?
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Inflators are worthless. Buy a spare if your car did not come with one. I would rather carry 75 lbs of stuff that will always work versus 10 lbs of stuff that might not work.
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    My Vette and caddy have no spare or jack

    I keep a plug kit in trunk.

    Weighs 2 oz and 2 bucks
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    What we're forgetting is that the average motorist has no idea whatsoever how to change a tire with proper tools, let alone pull off a damaged wheel/tire, and replace it, using a cobbled together kit of awkward tools, and the know-how to complete the repair properly. That's what CAA/AAA is for.
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    The inflator kit in my CTS allows me to achieve 16.7mpg. I guess I should be grateful I get less than 2mpg better than the 5.3 Z71 Sierra it replaced, and less than the EPA minimum set for the car.


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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    To be honest I can not recall the last time I even needed a spare.
    Now I've had plenty of flats but most were on off-road trucks and couple of trailer tire sidewalls blow out. But the actual tow vehicle or daily driver must be a good 15yrs or so.

    That said when I go on a trip I bring tire plugs and a 12V truck tire air compressor, similar to JBsZ06. In reality I've helped out more people with my air compressor than I've needed it.

    Tires are much better than they were even 20 years ago.

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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    The last time I had a tire problem it was at night on a country road and not in the middle of the day across the street from "tire Warehouse".

    I would not buy any new vehicle that did not have a spare and jack.....full size preferred but a "donut" at a minimum.

    I did an experiment once. I had to go pick up some stuff and stripped the vehicle clean and went and picked it up (about 400 - 500 pounds) and came back home. About 1,000 miles all together and I kept careful records of the trip including fuel economy. I got an almost unmeasurable 4 tenths of a mile to the gallon better gas mileage empty. So, you do get better gas mileage with less weight. Not worth stripping out 50 pounds of spare tire and jack though.

    So no way would I take out a spare/jack etc to get better fuel economy as it would be unmeasureable. Also, that spray fix a flat stuff will probably trash your TPM as well as make a mess out of the tire inside and you will have to replace that also. And besides, every flat is not magicly repairable with that spray stuff.

    I am old fashioned and carry "stuff". I have a full size spare on my DD. That's just me.

    Just my thoughts/opinion.
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    As long as tires are susceptible to nails and road debris, there will be a need for a replacement tire in vehicles.

    The concept of trading off a $100 spare vs. a lifetime of $200 per year subscriptions to a service is a no-brainer. Considering how Murphy has somehow managed to interject himself into the limited experiences I've had with that service seals the deal without even considering the costs.

    Less than a month ago, I had a nail-induced flat (first time in years). The choice of installing the donut or putting a sealer in which guarantees no tire shop is willing to work on the tire again is no choice.

    While we're on this topic, even if the manufacturer decides to eliminate the spare, please leave a space to store one for the customer like me who is going to add one if you leave it out.

    I believe the figure I heard was 1% per 100 pounds. So that's a 0.26% increase in fuel economy. Puhleeze.
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    Re: Would You Ditch The Spare Tire To Improve Fuel Economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    Sure, spoil the party.

    Is it a spare or a donut?
    Donut is the New Spare. At least it's a Real Tire. Sort of.

    Quote Originally Posted by big swede View Post
    I don't believe the lack of a spare is for fuel savings one bit. I don't remember the exact figures off the top of my head but I believe it was close to 500lbs. needing to be shaved off the save 8 percent in fuel efficiency.

    Sure it all adds up but if you think a space saver tire is removed for fuel efficiency I have a couple of bridges I need to talk to you about.
    How much for the Mackinaw Bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    mmmmm donuts... so technically it's less than a spare but more than an inflator
    Yes, but...as JT87 notes below, 80% of motorists would have no more idea of how to use a jack and lug wrench--at least without gravely injuring themselves or others, or the car--than they know how to concentrate on driving rather than celling/texting/eating/looking at passenger while driving/otherwise ignoring their primary task.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman1970 View Post
    Inflators are worthless. Buy a spare if your car did not come with one. I would rather carry 75 lbs of stuff that will always work versus 10 lbs of stuff that might not work.
    See above. You are in the 20 (or 10?) % whose mechanical skills go beyond keyboard operation.

    Quote Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
    Spare tire is now standard on every 2012 Cruze except the ECO Manual.
    Good move.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBsZ06 View Post
    My Vette and caddy have no spare or jack

    I keep a plug kit in trunk.

    Weighs 2 oz and 2 bucks
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by JT87 View Post
    What we're forgetting is that the average motorist has no idea whatsoever how to change a tire with proper tools, let alone pull off a damaged wheel/tire, and replace it, using a cobbled together kit of awkward tools, and the know-how to complete the repair properly. That's what CAA/AAA is for.
    Indeed. Jo Mo has far better odds with a can of goop.
    What they don't bother to mention is that you'll be looking at a new tire and a new wheel unless the shop or the owner is able/willing to de-goop that gloppy mess of green.
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