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Emergency temp tire?Do you have one?Maybe not!

Recently had to buy my wife (78yo) a replacement for her old but loved '98 Dodge Caravan, only 76K but starting to rust and AC no longer working in spite of recharging etc. I did all oil changes 4x/year etc. since we are small people (5’2) she loved sitting up high and getting in and out of the vehicle was fantastic. Unfortunately, it did not have the sliding door on the driver side nor electric windows (her choice). Since Dodge stopped making the shorter wheelbase and went to Grand Caravan, were worried the newer models of Caravan or Town and Country would not easily fit in the garage. Also, since about 2015 to now, Pacifica especially, have narrowed the window height by a few inches, but this was very uncomfortable for her. Beware, elderly people need the rear doors to be sliders (Journeys etc don’t have them), especially to unload the Walmart Shopping carts. You want the protection of loading between cars and not at the rear end because the idiots zooming by.
We located a used 2014 Town and country with only 34K and perfect shape. Yes the wheelbase was longer than the old Caravan but we made a slight adjustment in the garage. It also has the Sto/Go seats. When purchasing the vehicle I asked how and where the temp tire portal crank was located, the old Caravan was at the back compartment. I was shown that it was just in front of the consul between the driver and passenger. I was shown where the compartment for the jack and cranks were stored and "oh by the way you have a small air compressor for emergency inflation. I am now 81, a Viet Nam Vet, I don’t bend or stoop too easily, so I didn’t look under the car and we drove it home. Wife loves it.

About a month later she tells me the dash warning shows a low tire pressure. Also, time for an oil change. Strange, since it was purchased with full warranty and all the bells and whistles of Dealer warranty I decided to see where the oil filter was since I do my own maintenance after I filled the tires.
Finally , biting the rag I get down on the hands and knees and glimpse over at the temp tire cradle and it was empty. I immediately call the sale manager and gave him the vin number and was informed that there was no temp tire and the air compressor should take of any flats. Whoa Nellie, what do you do when you blow the tire of have a major puncture. You call the roadside assistance and he can’t do a darn thing for you other than tilt bed tow you off the road. Great if you are within 5-10 miles from home or your tire shop. What if you were on the way to a family wedding or a relatives funeral out of town. Or its 2 AM and your headed home from Disney World (car filled with screaming kids) and it is Sunday evening. Gee, we’re sorry you didn’t full understand (dealer) but to keep car costs and weight down, decided not to furnish a temp , since so few are ever used…BOY TILL YOU NEED ONE AT 2AM DRIVING I75 IN INNERCITY DETROIT, CHICAGO, PHILIDEPHIA, ETC. More than half the people I asked were not aware what potential jeopardy they were in. Fortunately, I have a tremendous relationship with a tire dealer and he was able to locate me a aluminum wheel and used tire from what have been a totaled vehicle. I realize it won’t stow under but I have plenty of room in the back compartment and the total assurance that if a tire goes, I have a usable spare that will carry me hundreds of miles till I get to a real tire shop
Brought to you as a public service and I’m burning off my nightly insomnia. don’t be caught short for you, your spouse, your children and friends and family.

Ddinky Dau, and ddmau, bro. Remember 58K didn’t make it home…pray for them and their families.

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Well, I had to use the spare from my 03 trailblazer, full size spare mind you, but a 13 year old tire the night before we were going up to the cabins a 500 mile trip. Yes I get home see a roofing nail in the sidewall, tire is not safe, went to 3 shops, cant get you in till Monday, call AAA, the guy fought with the spare like a valiant knight, finally got the spare off, but the plastic gears for raising and lowering the spare are shot. So I strap the damaged tire to the roof, and make the 500 mile trip on a 13 year old tire, not indicating to the wife, 2 dogs and 2 cats that this tire would not be my thought for a good idea to get us 500 miles. So we made it, and like an idiot was doing 80 to 85 on the freeway, Founnd an NTB, we have to order that tire, will be in Tuesday. So I get there and the guy is jokingly, oh you must be Mr Smith! Yeah, how did you know? I remember your story says he and the tire strapped to the roof gave it away. They did a great job, but end of the story the spare is behind the little cabin, I have no spare now but wife’s last new lease no spare, and a pump kit. Only 1 debilitating flat in the last 40 years, I think I am ok with no spare, PS yes I am up late, new windows tomorrow, day off work, they will be here noonish, back aches from moving furniture out of the way, thanks for listening.

Make sure you secure that spare tire in the back. If you have to slam on the brakes for an emergency stop… you don’t want that spare tire turning into a projectile.

I have a 2009 Challenger, and I was in the same boat as you. When I bought it, there was no spare in the trunk. In fact, there was a totally useless large foam piece in the spare tire wheel well. Luckily I was able to find a preowned spare from a Charger online for not a lot of money.

Like you, I want a spare tire instead of a can of fix a flat or a compressor. Call me old school.


Welcome to the modern age. Some new cars don’t come with spares. Its been that way for more than a decade. Some new cars come with temporary spares. And have for over 30 years…

I’m in my 5th decade of driving and have never had a tire blow apart on a car or truck - trailers are another story, a looong story. But all 3 of my current rides have spares.

Hey, you! Get off my lawn! :wink:

I have decided not to buy any car that does not have at least a temporary spare.


We frequently get stories that highlight the importance of having a used vehicle checked out by your mechanic before you buy it, and we can add this one to the pile. Hopefully, a full bumper-to-bumper pre-purchase inspection would have revealed a missing spare tire before you signed on the dotted line and allowed you to address this before taking delivery of the vehicle.

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My feeling is that a road side membership is a good investment. I really don’t want to change a tire with vehicles going by at highway speeds. If home is to far away at least the nearest tire shop that you will need anyway.

Yeah I like a spare too but they most likely will be the temporary type that limits you to 50 mph. Still better than nothing but if you are far away from home, you’ll end up having to wait until someone is open for a new tire. And they usually happen when no one is open.

I remember we needed to head 200 miles to South Dakota Saturday afternoon. After getting gas I ran the front tire up against the concrete step in the garage and that was all she wrote. Only 1500 miles on the car and there I sat. I had to have a matching tire and dealer or tire shop not open till Monday. Not much you can do so swapped everything from one car to the other and went looking for a tire on Monday. That little exercise cost me $300.

I used to be irritated when a car didn’t come with a spare, but I’ve calmed down a little bit. Flat tires are very rare these days, assuming you keep up with the tire pressures and you replace the tire when it needs replacements. I don’t carry a spare spark plug in the car either, but that used to be common way back in the day.

As technology improves and parts become reliable, carrying spares around becomes less and less necessary.

Besides, dealing with a front tire flat in a FWD car with a donut sucks. You have to jack up the back, replace the good tire with the spare, then lower it, jack up the front, and replace the bad tire with the good tire from the back. Otherwise you put undue stress on the drivetrain. I’d just as soon call AAA and have the thing towed home.


The last time I had a flat tire, it was because I kept that set of tires longer than I should have. These days, I change them as soon as I see any dry rotting rather than wait for the first one to fall apart. I don’t put enough mileage on them to wear them out.

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I checked, and they say that all models of th 2014 Chrysler Town and Country came with a space saver spare. I don’t know if you can get one from the people that sold you the car, but you certainly can buy one if you want it. You might check local regulations and see if the spare tire is required if it was original equipment.

Geez, I work at a scrapyard. I have to have a spare!

I bought a used Chrysler Town and Country that was 4 years old. 7 years later I had a flat at work and cranked down my spare, put it on the van and started home. Rumble, rumble, rumble, seemed like loose lug nuts, tightened them and still rumbling. Took a closer look and the center hole was too small for the hub. Relly over tightened them to get the 6 miles home and went to the junkyard to get the right spare the next day.

I had been driving around with a spare that didn’t fit my car for 7 tears, dutifully cranking it down to air it up every year. I doubt if any mechanics pre-purchase inspection would have caught that.

I wouldn’t expect a used car inspection to point out that the vehicle was never equipped with a spare tire.

The owners manual has instructions for vehicals without a spare tire;

Small punctures up to ¼” (6 mm) in the tire tread can be
sealed with TIREFIT. Foreign objects (e.g., screws or
nails) should not be removed from the tire. TIREFIT can
be used in outside temperatures down to approximately
-4°F (-20°C).
This kit will provide a temporary tire seal, allowing you
to drive your vehicle up to 100 miles (160 km) with a
maximum speed of 55 mph (90 km/h).

From my observations half of the vehicles with flat tires are towed in and most of the vehicles that arrive with temporary spare tires had them installed by the road service.

The vans with Stow 'N Go seats have deep storage wells below the floor for the seats. The spare tire is located below the van between the front seats. Removing the spare tire from the tire winch under a truck or SUV can be challenging. A minivan is lower and reaching for the spare and disconnecting the lift cable is impossible if one of the front tires are flat, the vehicle must be jacked up first. It is very likely that a driver of one of these vans would abort the effort to change a flat tire and call for help.

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Spare tires are being eliminated to save automakers money. Some still offer temporary spares, some deflated temporary spares (like the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan) and a select few either have a full-size spare or allow you to get it as an option. I am testing a vehicle this week that had a $410 “full-size spare” option. That is a rare thing these days. Image attached if you want to take a stab at guessing the model.

Based on the screw in tow eye I see. I would guess import.

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While I agree that flat tires are rare, the last one I had was picking up a screw in southern Illinois on a Sunday late afternoon. So that was over 400 miles from home. Luckily when the tire monitor went off, I was able to get some additional air at a gas station and then hobble into a Walmart tire shop that was still open 40 miles away. Towing for 400 miles home was not an option so it would have been towing to a tire shop, cab to a motel then back again, and wasting most of the next day that was already planned. Just saying these things do not happen conveniently.

Is one spare enough?

My dad’s uncle (my great uncle?) apparently had a blow out, installed the spare, and blew out another tire later that day. This was back in the 50’s. But ever since then he always carried 2 spare tires. As a boy in Los Angeles I remember Uncle Will driving down from Portland to visit. He had to use a roof rack on his car because having 2 full size spares in the trunk of his Austin Marina left little room for luggage.

My mother bought a brand new Buick in 1975. It came with the infamous Firestone 721 radials. A few years later we were on a weekend trip to Las Vegas. Just past Barstow the car started pulling and swaying and bam–tire separated. Dad and I put on the brand new spare. The next day Mom says “shouldn’t we buy a new tire?” Dad says “Nah, I’ll go to my regular tire store when we get home.” Sunday night about 100 miles from home the car starts pulling and swaying and bam–brand new spare with 300 miles on it blows apart.

Mom’s car got 5 new tires the next day.


That wrap wire on the 721s was a big problem. It was a lot thinner wire than the 7 onto 2 stranded wires and could break due to the stresses in stranding. It was a yield problem unless it was a latent failure and broke after or during production of the tire cord mat. That wild hair apparently caused a flaw in the rubber that could grow into a delamination.

Sorry, but the problem with ALL tires of that era was the chemicals. Here’s what I wrote up on my web page: Barry’s Tire Tech: The Ford/Firestone Controversy

Here is what is written in Wikipedia:

During the 1970s, Firestone experienced major problems with the Firestone 500 radial. The Firestone 500 steel-belted radials began to show signs of separation of the tread at high speeds. While the cause was never proved, it is believed that the failure of bonding cements used by Firestone to hold the tread to the tire carcass, may have allowed water to penetrate the tire which in turn may have caused the internal steel wire to corrode.

Allow me to add that at the time, I was a tire design engineer for one of Firestone’s competitors and I vividly remember the questions from OUR management concerning OUR products - and the reassurances came from our rubber chemists!

Unfortunately, I am not a chemist so I couldn’t recall the details - so I asked an old colleague of mine - who I knew was in the middle of the debate. Here’s what he said:

The so-called bonding agent used in the belt skim of the Firestone Radial 500 tires which contributed to an acceleration of corrosion in the presence of high humidity is called HMT (hexamethylenetetramine). This agent produces amines which, in the presence of water, can accelerate corrosion. It was eventually replaced by a similar agent called HMMM (hexamethoxymethylmelamine).

ALL tires of that era used those types of chemicals, but Firestone was the last to realize what was going on. They had launched the 721 BEFORE they realized the problem was with the rubber chemistry and the early versions still had the same problem.

Once everyone switched over, that problem disappeared.