Space-saving spare tires in modern cars: advantages and disadvantages explained

Recently, some manufacturers (mostly luxury car manufacturers) have started fitting vehicles with run-flat tires and completely eliminated the need for a spare tire.

Pros and cons of space-saving spare tires

Tires are perhaps one of the most important components of your vehicle. Tire damage can literally stop you. Although tire technology continues to improve and flats and punctures are not as common as they once were, no one is immune to them. From time to time, things go wrong. At times like these, it’s always good to have a spare tire in the trunk of your car.

In the past, most cars came with a spare tire that was identical in size to the other four tires. However, over the years we see a change. Recently, some manufacturers (mostly luxury car manufacturers) have started fitting vehicles with run-flat tires and completely eliminated the need for a spare tire. Others supply a slim rim and tire combination called a space saver instead of a full-size spare tire. This is done to limit the space in the trunk occupied by a spare tire. In some cases, this space saving is only provided because the laws of some countries require cars to carry a spare tire.

Like everything in this world, space savers have pros and cons. Here’s a look at some of them.

Advantages of space-saving tires

  • Storage: As the name suggests, these tires save space. They are more compact than full-size spares and, as a result, take up less space in the trunk. This means there is more storage space for luggage. In smaller vehicles, this can be a boon. It’s better to have one of these than no spare tire at all.

  • Fuel efficiency: Space savers are lighter than full size tires. This means that the car’s engine doesn’t have a lot of weight to pull. This results in better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
  • price: Space saver tires don’t cost as much as full size spares. This helps the car manufacturer save some money. This saving can be passed on to the car buyer. It will also mean that when it comes to replacements, car owners don’t need to shell out a lot of money.
  • Flat Tire Repair Reminder: Space savers look significantly different compared to regular car wheels. Every time a car owner sees a space saver on his car instead of one of the regular rims, he will remember that he has a flat tire in the trunk that needs to be repaired/replaced. This will ensure that he has no problems the next time he has a flat tire.

Disadvantages of space-saving spare tires

  • Limited speed: Most of these tires have a maximum permissible speed of up to 80 km/h. While this is fine if you’re in town, it’s a royal pain if you’re on a motorway or expressway with a 100km/h speed limit. Imagine driving a high performance Mercedes or BMW for 100 – 1

  • Limited power and range: These tires are designed to take you to the nearest tire shop or home. The materials used and the construction do not have the necessary strength for regular driving. They can only be used for a few hundred kilometers before they wear out and need replacement. Space savers are not as durable as full size spares.
  • Less control: The space saver is thin and has a smaller contact patch than a regular tire. It does not offer the same grip as a full size tire. It also doesn’t offer the same control over stability, handling, handling or braking as the full-size stock. This will prove to be a disadvantage in emergency maneuvers.
  • Mechanical damage: Space savers have a smaller diameter than regular tires. Their long-term use can put a lot of stress on the vehicle’s differential, leading to failure.
  • Storage of a flat tire: A flat full-size tire may not fit in the trunk space designed to carry a space saver. This means it will take up more space in the trunk. Some cars carry their spare tires above the boot floor. In such a case, it will be difficult to store the flat tire in the trunk, especially if it is full of luggage. This may require the flat tire to be stored in the passenger compartment.

here’s what BHPian androdev I had to say about it:

All these manufacturers had to do was provide a wheel to fit a full size tire and not offer a spare tire at all. They would meet all of their cost savings and fuel efficiency goals and still give the customer the choice to purchase a full size bike. Instead, they came up with this completely useless space-saving idea that doesn’t help anyone.

here’s what BHPian MSAneesh I had to say about it:

While I’ve always considered the pros and cons, the problem of storing a full size wheel with a flat tire never occurred to me

Now I dread it, my trunk is usually full on long trips and I can’t imagine keeping the dirty used bike in the cabin (it’s too insecure).

here’s what BHPian Ajmat I had to say about it:

While I’ve always considered the pros and cons, the problem of storing a full size wheel with a flat tire never occurred to me

Now I dread it, my trunk is usually full on long trips and I can’t imagine keeping the dirty used bike in the cabin (it’s too insecure).

Read BHPian’s comments for more insights and information.

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