If you've ever had a flat tire, then you know welcome it is to have a spare tire that is properly inflated, in good shape and easy to get to. Problem is many of us don't even give our spare tire (if we even have one) a second thought.
If you have an SUV or truck with a spare, it may be mounted outside the vehicle, such as on the tailgate or underneath the vehicle. All of them, especially those underneath, take the brunt of debris, moisture, salt and dirt from the road surface, a potpourri of corrosion potential. The hardware that holds these on can rust into a solid mess, making it hard for you or even a roadside assistance service to get off.
If you have one of those, have it checked and maintained at your vehicle repair facility on a regular basis. They should be lubricated and cleaned periodically, and some recommend doing this service every time you have your tires rotated. If the spare is the same size as the tires on the vehicle, it may be a good idea to have it rotated with the others.
Some vehicles have compact spares that are in a small well in the trunk or some other spot. Most drivers don't pay any attention to them. Over time, air leaks out of those spares, leaving them flat when you most need them. When you have your vehicle in for service or routine maintenance, ask your service advisor for his or her advice on making sure the spare is inflated properly and cleaned, usually at least twice a year.
You may not know it, but your vehicle may not have any spare at all. Instead, it may have an inflator kit that you are supposed to use to inflate and seal a flat tire. That sealant has a limited life span and should be replaced every few years. Check with your service advisor to make sure the kit is up to date and will do the job when called upon.
Manufacturers know a flat tire's always a possibility. No matter what contingency solution they've included with your vehicle, keep it in shape and in good working order. When you need it, you'll be very glad you did.
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