Flat Tire Inflation Kit OK? II

Thank you to Car Talk people for confirming that a compact spare tire is better to have than an inflation kit with a sealant. We will opt for the temporary spare. I will add two items that might be of interest to Car Talk people.

1. I polled three tire stores to ask if they had a problem with plugging a puncture in a tire that had a temporary sealant installed. One said yes, they can clean the sealant away and install a mushroom plug. The second store said maybe and possibly they might want to install a string plug which is considered temporary too. The third place, a prominent brand, said that they received an instruction from their corporate people to not repair a puncture in a tire that had a temporary sealant installed. Their solution was to scrap the tire and buy a new one.

2. The reason that some car companies want to get rid of the compact spare is that people who will not read nor follow instructions if they do read them, drive too far on compact spares which exposes the vehicle mfr to lawsuits. There seems to be resistance to returning to full size spares for the obvious reasons, cost, weight and space requirements.

Well, if you do a lot of traveling, you should consider adding a full-sized spare. I like to drive when I go on vacation and one time I got a flat tire on my way from Austin to Houston, TX on a Saturday night. I made it to Houston on the miniature spare and had to wait until Monday to buy a replacement tire. After that I went to a place called “Hubcap Heaven” to buy a used rim and a used tire. It has been invaluable. Even when I have gotten a flat tire in my home town is has been great. I put on the full-sized spare and I can put off getting the tire repaired until the weekend, knowing that I still have a miniature spare in the trunk.

Interestingly, in my car’s spare tire well there’s a compact spare with a molded styrofoam “adaptor” (for lack of a better term) that modifies a well space large enough for a full service spare to a size appropriate for a doughnut. Perhaps in other global markets compact spares are illegal???

I’ve long been convinced that if NHTSA were motivated by the promotion of safety rather than by poliics full service spares would be mandatory. Imagine, if you will, getting a flat in a snowstorm and having to complete the journey on a compact spare…in a snowstorm (repeated for emphasis). How can anyone possibly consider that safe?

I’ve said before that I prefer full sized spares. But I’m not about to support MANDATING them. Especially for the extremely rare occurance of a flat during a snowstorm. I’ve been driving over 30 years with commutes over 70 miles. That’s a fair amount of seat time. I’ve had two flats the entire time. The majority of that driving was in northern snow country where it gets very cold as well.

If you get a flat, the intent is not to be able to complete the journey under every conceivable situation but rather to be able to make it to a safe spot.

Life is full of hazards. I don’t subscribe to the notion we should eliminate every single one, hang the cost. ABS, air bags, tire pressure monitors, traction control, backup cameras and full sized spares for everyone! :wink:

Agree. Ipersonally prefer a full size spare, and on some larger cars I believe they are still an option. The last car I sold (19 years old) still had the white lettering on the mini spare (never used). On the other hand if you work in construction, as I used to, no amount of care can prevent a puncture. Th mini spare is a nusance when you are travelling and have a flat. I now carry an inflater/fix can in the trunk. Still have not used it after 6 years.

The problem with the inflation kit with sealant is that the sealant is water based. If left in a tire for very long, it can cause the rim to rust. There is no reason that I can see for not repairing the tire, but the tire must be dismounted and dried out. Naturally the tire manufacturer would like you to buy a new tire.

People who are dead set against the “spare tire in a can” have never been going cross country with the car fully loaded in bad weather. Would you rather empty out the trunk in the rain to change a tire, or use the canned stuff.

I also carry a plug kit and and an electric pump. Even if you opt for the tire change, most of those doughnut tires are way underinflated by the time they are needed. They are supposed to have 60 psi in them. When was the last time you checked the pressure in yours? I can tell you that it has been longer than I can remember when I’ve checked mine. On my 97 PU, it has never been checked. Too hard to get at.