It happened. Flat tire. No spare.

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by JMalmsteen, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    If it makes you happier and keeps you sleeping better at night, all of those things are gooood luck...


    Rob43
     
  2. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    Toyota will tow you. The terms regarding a flat read something like "mount customer supplied spare". Not much use IMO.
     
  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I guess I've been blessed. My biggies were:
    1. In college -- alternator broke off some fins & got so out of balance that it broke the exhaust manifold it was bolted to. A wire coat hanger got us from our breakdown in Bend, Oregon to our destination in Langley, British Columbia.
    2. Newlyweds foolishly driving our Ford Pinto from Iowa to Denver. Middle of the night. In western Nebraska, we noticed at a rest area that the gas tank was dribbling. I found a sheet metal screw and someone had some kind of sealant. That got us home to Denver.
    3. Again in Nebraska maybe 10 years ago, eastbound on I-80 in high traffic approaching Omaha, bumper to bumper at 80+ mph in the middle lane, RR tire exploded and tore up the back bumper cover. That didn't stop us for long, but it was seriously scary. The van was borrowed from a friend. Good thing it was a good friend. :oops:
     
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  4. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    Here is a true story from my life that happened about three or four years ago. My father in law was dying in Tennessee (while our family lives in Massachusetts, about 1000 miles away). As the situation is getting fairly serious, my wife hops on the plane and gets to see her father before he passes. For the funeral my two kids (boys of 13 and 19 at the time) and I set out for Tennessee in our 1993 Volvo 940 with about 180K miles on the clock. I have owned and maintained this vehicle since 2011 and about 120K miles, so I was pretty confident in it being able to make the trip. I had just bought a new set of tires for this car not 500 miles before this trip. At the time I checked my spare donut and its tire was dead (dry rot). This is when I learned that these donuts are very difficult to find tires for (at least mine was just about impossible). So I ordered a brand new full size steel rim for this car and mounted one of the tires I replaced with new ones onto said steel rim (the tire in question was not all gone and definitely had some life in it). Thus I have obtained what I often dreamed of. A FULL SIZE SPARE. about 800 miles later my boys and I are in Pennsylvania, somewhere, on our way to Tennessee for a somber occasion. I was driving. We had to pull over to find a bio break venue. After we were finished I was getting back on the highway and inadvertently hit a curb in a very bad way. The brand new rear right tire was slashed on the sidewall and was clearly gone. This is about a third of the 1000 mile drive. Early in the morning, nothing is open yet. Funeral is the next day. I put my FULL SIZE SPARE on and we kept on going with the incident delaying us about half an hour. Needless to say we made it just fine to Tennessee. I tried to find a replacement tire there, but Nokian tires are not easily available in those parts. So I decided to go home on that spare. It was absolutely fine. No drama, no funny handling, no slow speeds to worry about. We drove as normal for 1000 miles back home where I replaced the blown tire with a new one and put the full size spare back to where a 1993 Volvo had a full size spare well (so no extra space was taken up in the cargo area). Last summer I sold that 1993 940 wagon with just north of 200K miles and a full spare to a very eager buyer and I still see it drive around town now and again.

    This is a true story that happened only a few years ago. If I had to deal with getting a new tire then and there we may not have made the tight schedule of the moment. So not only am I a proponent of spares, but I am a big proponent of full size spares that can replace a failed wheel for medium to long term.

    I also have a true story of many years ago when I was a young lad and traveling with my friends to Canada in my friend's dad's 80' Oldsmobile (Brougham, think). That had a radiator hose failure and almost stranded us. But I have fixed it on the side of the road with my Swiss Army knife (the tiniest model made for nail clipping). We were lucky and the hose failed very close to the end. I was able to cut the hole out and re-attach the hose with some strain, but it held and we made it home just fine after topping off some coolant. So here are two true stories from my life that formed my opinions about the usefulness of spare tires and spare radiators and hoses.

    Again, that's me. Thank you for reading (if you made it this far!)
     
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  5. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Certainly a spare, and even a full-sized spare is preferable, but the question is, what are you willing to give up to get it? A larger car so that the inside is the same size? A smaller or non-existent plug-in battery? Cargo space or passenger space? What other spare parts should you carry just in case something goes wrong? A friend of mine had a front wheel bearing seize up on a trip. When it did, it caused a flat but a full-sized spare wouldn't fix that seized wheel bearing. Another of my friends had a rear spindle break, resulting in the wheel and tire separating from the car while on the highway. I myself had that hub fracture on a trailer.

    The point is, a full-sized spare displaces other stuff or requires a larger, heavier car, and a tire problem is not the only thing that can go wrong on a car that can leave you stranded. The most common are 12V battery failures, lost or locked-in keys and running out of fuel. Should every car carry a spare 12V battery (some people do via a jump kit), a spare set of keys, and a spare tank of fuel? Those seem to be more important that a spare tire.

    Spares were important in the 70s and before, because tires were still really lousy and unreliable devices. Today, they're pretty good and getting better. Tire failures do still happen, but sudden ones are extremely rare with properly-maintained (i.e. proper inflation, proper alignment and replacement before they are bald) tires - so rare that they are fourth on the list of things that cause common strandings.
     
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  6. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    I agree with you about tires getting better and spare tires being necessary only historically. But the same can be said for other car components. Honestly, we are a Toyota crowd here. These cars simply don't fail very often. To the point of spoiling the owners. I have only been a Toyota owner since 2017 (my 2007 Prius with 175K at the time) and I am getting spoiled by how little goes wrong with these cars (knock on wood). I now have two Toyotas (gone are the Volvos, which were also extremely reliable, BTW, but required a bit more maintenance). A 2007 Prius (now with 221+K miles) and a 2006 Matrix (with only 111+K miles). I have had to do almost nothing to either car except after first buying them (fluids, filters, wiper blades, etc.) to keep them going (again, knock on wood). In fact, this is why I bought Toyota. I am getting older and am 99% DIY car owner, so Toyota makes it easier on my body by just not requiring as much work. So by that logic we should just drive around with a credit card and no tools, knowledge or spare parts at all. That is fine and that is what most people do now, but I carry a spare wheel, some bulbs, a set of sockets, etc. I am also a motorcyclist, so I have a good sense of what to bring with me on a trip. If I can spend some time on the side of the road with some tools and cuss words and be back on the road instead of spending hours depending on others and my wallet, then I chose the former.

    As for tires going bad on a trip, it's much more dependent on happenstance than a wheel bearing or radiator. I mean all you have to do is catch a nail or something someone else dropped (out of your control) in a parking lot of a rest stop and a spare wheel is a godsend suddenly.
     
  7. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Yup...that's a big, big reason I drive one!

    In the 150,000 miles I owned my 2004 Prius, it needed exactly zero unplanned mechanical maintenance.

    I have a tool kit, jumper cables (to help others), the goo kit, a compressor and a plug kit, as well as a blanket, first aid kit, food, candy and water in the car.

    Yes, but as I said above, that's almost always going to result in a slow-leak, not a sudden flat. It's possible to get a fast leak, but very rare.
     
  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    My take on needing/wanting a spare in a car all boils down to a personal preference on the risk management. Each and every person have different tolerance on risk taking. Even for the same person, the tolerance changes over time with age, past experiences, and other circumstances such as who is riding with you in a car, or where your destination is, etc. I am fine without a spare in my car 99% of time. For the 1% when I want to be extra cautious, I take my full size spare behind the front seat.

    full spare.png
     
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  9. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Junior Member

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    Not a problem yet, but I bought a 2016 and discovered it did not have a spare, not even a donut tire. When did Toyota get stupid an quit this spare tire thing? Makes no sense, yes I complained by you know where that gets you, nowhere.
     
  10. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    Many times I've seen someone install their spare and it's flat, too.
     
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  11. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Many forget about it until they need, or simply pay the bare minimum to maintenance. That's why cars now have maintenance reminder systems and TPMS.

    In addition to losing air over time, the spare itself ages. Their service life is ten years for those with older cars. I myself never got a new spare for the Sable, and it was 16 years old when we got rid of it. But the tire may look fine until it is actually driven on.
     
  12. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    They didn't quit it, but they did reduce it -- about when the other car makers did. Always check the brochures if a spare tire is important to you. Or just look in the car. Don't bother asking the sales person. They are clueless.
     
  13. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    They quit it when hitting a specific MPG for the window sticker became more important, or for the absolute lowest list price on the base, like everybody else.
     
  14. Washingtonian

    Washingtonian Active Member

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    Thought I would add to the "Carry spare parts" portion with a ridiculous story. In 1970, living in California, I had a mid 1960s VW Beetle as a daily driver. Also had a spare engine in my garage. Was just promoted to Warrant Officer and had orders to a school in Newport, R.I. My plan was to remove the back seat and carry the spare engine with me as I could change an engine on the car in about 2 or 3 hours. I was ready to go on the trip when I got a call cancelling my orders and sending me direct to Vietnam the next week to relieve another Warrant Officer there. So I never got a chance to try out my McGyver type of plan.
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Had to look up "warrant officer". There's "commissioned", "warrant" and "non-commissioned" officers. Interesting.
     
  16. Washingtonian

    Washingtonian Active Member

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    Here is a complicated example: I was a Chief Petty Officer, which is an enlisted rank, or non-commissioned officer. I was promoted to warrant officer, W-1, a technical specialist (electronics) by the Secretary of the Navy. I was later promoted to chief warrant officer 2 (CWO2) by the President. As a CWO2, I was a commisioned officer, wearing the same hat as any other Naval Officer. These were temporary appointments during the Vietnam war. At the same time I was advanced in my permanent enlisted rank to Senior and then Master Chief Petty Officer. Three years after the war was over, I reverted back to my permanent enlisted rank. As a Warrant Officer, I was the electronics repair officer aboard a Navy repair ship and also qualified to drive the ship. I was then the Electronics Officer at a Naval Air Station in the Philippines. Incidentally, I don't think the SecNav or President Nixon knew who I was - they just signed the appointments.
     
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