Readers Rides

Kiss it goodbye

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By Mark Weisseg

We bought a new Cadillac back in 2012 and the SUV had many options and amenities. It was not my first choice, but then again I did not need to drive it everyday.

Shortly thereafter, I was poking around the car trying to learn all the new buttons and gadgets. I started looking for the spare and shame on me it did not have one. The salesman never mentioned it and I never asked so it’s my fault of course. But, I had to know why. Turns out the folks at GM said it would save weight. Now, I am not an engineer, but I know it does not weigh that much.
The replacement idea was a tire pressure pump with built in fix a flat so if you get a nail in the tire you pump it up with the fluid and air. By the way, the pump is a bit heavy so I didn’t buy the weight savings gag.

So, being somewhat intelligent I asked what about a big blow out. Say, a hole in the sidewall and the tire goes flat. Well, the answer was and is to call On Star or your AAA and have them tow the SUV into the nearest garage.
Then, they will sell you a replacement tire providing they have the correct size 18 inch hoop. If they don’t, you will wait until they can get one. Why? Because you do not have a spare you fool.
The real reason at least on the Caddy is there no place to put it. I looked this buggy over and if they put a spare in the back hatch area you could not carry much. Underneath, forget it. The exhaust and the gas tank are in the way. Hence, the story about saving weight is a bunch of ……

I don’t like this option or lack there of because everyone of my other vehicles including my big Ram truck has a spare tire. I will bet if you gave the owners an option of the peace of mind factor would kick in. Even if they the driver cannot change a tire at least it is there for the qualified person who can.

What a stupid idea this is and I guess I would not think this if we had true no flat tires. When I worked for a large tire company we had a tire for the Corvette that was a 50 mile no flat tire. Today, many companies are close to having tires with no air in them that will not go flat yet ride nice. It will be a pleasure to have those tires in the near future.

I always worried when we traveled any great distance with the caddy for this exact reason. The last time we had to travel very far I rented a car and made sure it had a spare tire as I knew we would be in areas somewhat desolate at times. To buy a premium vehicle and not have a spare is dumb. I was dumb and would have stopped the whole deal had I even thought about it back then. There were plenty of other premium SUV’s at the time we could have purchased with the options we desired and with a spare.

I fondly recall my classic cars have a Spare tires on full size wheels. We all have seen the little skinny spare and the odd looking tire that you had to inflate but at least you had something to bail you out of a jam. To think if you are driving along I 10 out west and you clip a piece of glass and cut the sidewall you will need to tow the car is silly. A simple task such as putting the spare on in less than 30 minutes now could take hours if you are lucky. Shame on these car and truck builders for thinking this is a good idea. It is a bad idea and only will be a good one when tire technology is one hundred percent run flat. In the meantime, check if you have a spare tire. If you do not, hold your breath and hope you do not have a serious flat tire. If you do have a spare be sure to check the air in it to ensure its use if needed. Or, go out and open the trunk of your classic car and smile and remember when common sense was the norm not the exception.

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