• Jul 24th 2013 at 11:15AM
  • 494

A spare tire use to be standard equipment in a new car, an extra layer of safety distressed drivers could count on to get them out of a jam. But those days are over. Joan Freeman of Waltham, Mass., learned that the hard way after a blowout. She called AAA to have her flat fixed, only for the technician to find not a doughnut, but a repair kit for small leaks; totally useless with the damage to her tire.

"I never, ever would have bought that car without a donut," Freeman told CBS Boston. "What if this happens when I was alone, or it was at night, or my granddaughter was with me?"

AOL Autos told readers about this trend a few years ago, when automakers started ditching the donut to score better fuel economy. They're also abandoning spare tires for a number of reasons, including safety.

Changing a flat on the side of the road can be dangerous. Although no one keeps track of how many people die each year changing tires, about 4,000 pedestrians are struck and killed each year, according to the government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System database. About 700 of those pedestrians are people working in the roadway.

Blowouts are becoming rarer with advance technology and safety measures. Since 2006 cars have carried mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems that alert drivers when tires are dangerously low. Keeping tires properly inflated go a long way to preventing blowouts. Tires are also built in such a way that even when punctured a tire can remain safe to drive on for a number of miles, at least long enough to get the driver safely to a shop. All of these factors means doughnuts have become dead weight. Spares are left out of cars to make them more fuel-efficient.

Still, when a driver goes to change a flat and finds nothing in the trunk they risk being stranded, especially in rural areas where cell phone reception is spotty. If you want to luge around a spare, you can get one as an option for an additional $100 and $400. Or spares can be purchased online for about the same price. It always makes sense when buying a vehicle to know every aspect of the car, including what's in the trunk, so you have no surprises in an emergency.

If you're lucky enough to have a doughnut and unlucky enough to experience a blowout watch this video to learn how to change a flat.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Saying that you're unlikely to need it is a BS cop out. You don't need insurance until you have accident either, but try getting by without it. Most states won't issue your plates without insurance. Considering the places that I have lost a tire, I'm not sure I want to depend on my cell phone finding me help in the middle of the night 50 miles from nowhere.
      • 2 Years Ago
      My daughter first discovered that her Kia Soul had no spare just after she had a blow-out while traveling on a very busy freeway with her three small children in the car. It could have been a disastrous event and this Kia was less than 1 year old.
        • 2 Years Ago
        If she got out of the car, on a busy freeway, to change a tire, could have been really disastrous.
      • 2 Years Ago
      ha ha
      • 2 Years Ago
      Things like tires are foolishly considered to be extras now and you have to pay for them. It's stupid. The doughnut was being abused by many car owners by them not using them the way the law allows, which is to get you to a tire store safely. You are not to drive more than 50 mph with the doughnut and it's not a permanent fix because the person is too cheap or lazy to get a new one right away.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't care for "doughnuts" either. Doesn't cost that much extra to have a full size tire for a spare. Good sense if you have to travel more than 50 miles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Soon an engine will be an option!
      • 2 Years Ago
      KINDA MAKES SENSE!!!......KINDA MAKE SENSE!!!!.....This woman is a complete idiot to even try to justify not having an emergency tire in your car. She either lives in New York where no one drives or the only driving she does is 5 miles to and from work. The more she talked, the more she reaffirmed she has NO IDEA what she is talking about. "An extra 50-100 lbs"....unless your driving a Monster truck, NO spare doughnut or tire weighs 100 lbs...most don't even weigh 50 lbs. "Most people have AAA....." well that's great. Call AAA ask them to go to the dealer and buy you a new tire and , oh by the way be sure to bring the tow truck that is equipped to actually CHANGE that tire. If she new ANYTHING about driving she would know that usually when you have a blow out, buy the time you find a place to stop and pull over you have ruined that tire,,,,,as well as possibly the rim. This woman needs to stick with writing about plants, food and puppies. This is NOT rag on women by any means, because most women that I know are well versed in their car and they would NEVER drive without a spare tire. Her delusion that thinking car manufacturers are doing this to SAVE YOU GAS MONEY is just that....a very vivid DELUSION. Wake up Lady....they do it to save money!!!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      This article should list the makers that don't offer a spare. That way we all know who to avoid while buying a car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lobbied and paid for by AAA...
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bad Idea...
        • 4 Months Ago

        I was going to buy a new Volvo S60 today actually. I just happened to remember about some new cars not having a temp spare. I checked with a site online and sure enough NO TEMP SPARE just a "tire repair kit". How is that going to help you when you are on the expressway and the tire is shredded? Especially when it is your wife or daughter that is out in the car alone and it is after the tire stores are closed. What are they supposed to do if they are out of the area on a trip or away at school? Stupid idea and I will not buy this new Volvo S60 or any other car without at least a temp spare time to use to get home or back to the dorm to be safe. I have no idea who thought this was a good idea. I hope their wife/daughter/  older loved one is stranded on a desolate road at about midnight, in the pouring rainstorm, without a spare and no cell service to call someone for help. That may change their "great idea" thinking. Idiots.

      • 2 Years Ago
      so NOW a freekin DONUT is CONSIDERED A SPARE TIRE ? a tire remains a TIRE and a donut's a DONUT. i wouldn't even consider sealing a deal and the contract WITHOUT getting A SPARE TIRE of the SAME MAKE and model# as what's already on the other four "wheels"--,real jack etc TOSSED IN- a donut ????? no way and consumers should BE IN CHARGE and aware,educated and knowledgeable ON EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE PAYING FOR.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Unfortunately most are uninformed specimens.
        • 2 Years Ago
        If you demanded a full spare, you would have a problem. You might have to carry it on the roof. Even 13 years ago when I was selling Fords, I had to constantly tell people that complained about the donut that a full sized spare would not fit in the cut-out in the floor of the trunk where the donut goes..
        • 2 Years Ago
        setnata54s_back, be glad your car comes with a donut. I think it only means you can only drive so far on it (I can't swear to that) but I bought a brand new Corvette, I asked my dumb salesman where was the spare tire. He look and looked then he finally had to ask another salesman. Corvettes do not come with a spare tire, the reason being is that the tires are call Sure Flat Tires, meaning you can drive 300 miles on a flat tire about as far as a Donut. Not only that Corvettes rear tires are larger than the front tires and cost more. Another thing we cannot do is rotate the tires either like you can do on another type of car, like my Z28 Camaro.
        Myron E Holley J
        • 2 Years Ago
        spare tires have not been in cars for years. What we have is a donut for a spare. Only thing that has a spare tiire is trucks. nuf said
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