Most of us don’t worry about getting a flat tire. After all, it rarely happens, and if it does, we might think we can just call someone and have them put on the spare tire. That’s a perfect plan if your spare is in good shape. But how many of us even think twice about checking the condition of our spare tires?
The spares that take the biggest beating are those mounted outside the vehicle. Like those on SUVs and trucks. They might be on the tailgate or underneath the vehicle. These get exposed to water, dirt, salt, and road debris. The mounting hardware can become so corroded that you may not even be able to get the spare out of its holder, leaving you with no usable spare at all.
When you get your tires rotated, ask your service technician to check the condition and inflation of the outside-mounted spare and its holder. A little lubrication and maintenance periodically can help keep them fit for action. Often the spare on an SUV or truck is the same size as the other tires and may be included in the regular rotation – check your owner’s manual.
How about those compact spare tires that are sitting in the trunk, out of sight and out of mind? They can have low air pressure too, because over time, the air can slowly escape. It’s a good idea to have your service facility check the spare’s pressure and condition at least twice a year, if not more frequently. What good is a spare tire with inadequate air pressure?
And then there are the vehicles that don’t have spare tires at all. They may have an inflator kit. These kits need to be kept in good shape, too. Be aware that an inflator kit can’t fix many tire punctures and failures. They frequently have a sealant in them that attempts to plug leaks and holes. That sealant has an expiration date and should be replaced when it expires. Again, ask your service adviser if your inflator kit is up to date and working.
Be fair to your spare and show it you care.