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The Importance of Caring for Your Spare

If you’ve ever had a flat tire, then you know how important it is to have a spare tire that is properly inflated, in good shape, and easy to get to. It is especially important as cold weather approaches; the last thing you want to deal with is a flat tire on a cold, dark night! 

The problem is that many of us don’t give our spare (if we even have one) a second thought. So before traveling this holiday season, take the extra time to find out where your spare is, what size it is, and how to properly care for every wheel on your vehicle.

Location, Location, Location

Surely you’ve heard it said before that location matters. Not only does that apply to a piece of real estate, but the same can be said for spare tires. 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.

If a spare is located outdoors, especially those underneath the vehicle, it will take the brunt of debris, moisture, salt, and dirt from the road surface, creating a potpourri of corrosion potential.  The hardware that holds these tires on can rust into a solid mess, making it hard for you or even a roadside assistance service to get off when you need to fix a flat tire.

If you have this kind of specific tire located under the car, have it checked and maintained at your vehicle repair facility on a regular basis. The tire should be lubricated and cleaned periodically, and some even recommend doing this service every time you have your tires rotated.  If the spare is the same size as the rest of the tires on the vehicle, it may be a good idea to have it rotated along with the others.

All Pro Servicenter Pro Tip: Rotating tires allow all four wheels on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows each wheel to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear. For most vehicles, a rotation is needed usually every 5,000 miles. Your honest All Pro Servicenter service specialist can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not you are due for a rotation.

Know Your Size

Some vehicles have compact spares that are located in a small well in the trunk of the vehicle 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 also have it cleaned, usually at least twice a year.

No Tire Here; A Kit Instead

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. 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.

All Pro Servicenter Pro Tip: If your car does include a kit, make sure you know how to use it! Most any kit should come with a manual; if not, finding a tutorial online should be easily done thanks to the internet. Otherwise, stop in to chat with your service specialist and have them give you a rundown on how the kit works.

Manufacturers know a flat tire is always a possibility. No matter what contingency solution they’ve included with your vehicle, keep it in shape and in good working order. Because when you need it, you’ll be very glad you’ve maintained it.

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