Missing piece? Why your new car could leave you stranded - CBS46 News

Missing piece? Why your new car could leave you stranded

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Imagine your tire blows out on the highway.

Instead of waiting for roadside assistance, you decide to change it yourself. But when you open the trunk, there's no spare.

"Being prepared and knowing exactly what you've got when shopping for a car is going to be important," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List.

In an effort to increase fuel economy, decrease vehicle weight and give you more trunk space, manufacturers are saying so long to the spare tire.

Many new models are now equipped with inflator and sealant kits or run flat tires, which are designed to go at slower speeds for 50 miles or more after a tire has been punctured.

"Standard low tire cannot withstand zero pressure. It has to have pressure to keep the tire inflated. A run flat tire does not need any pressure for a short duration of time until you can get to a shop that can repair or replace it," said Chris Cooper, Auto Service co-owner.

Landon Toll used to drive a car with run flat tires. He never suffered a flat, but he did have to replace his run flat tires which cost about a third more than traditional tires.

"I had the car for about three years and drove with 32,000 miles and in that time I replaced the rear tires twice and the front tires once. In total, the three years I had the car I spent a little over $2,300 just in tires alone," Toll said.

In addition to being more expensive, experts say run flats also result in a harder ride.

"A run flat tire will run much stiffer. You don't get much of a cushion in there. Standard low tire will run nice and quiet and a run flat tire will run a little bit stiff. It just depends on what kind of ride you are looking for," Cooper said.

"The ride was definitely stiffer with the run flat tires. Every bump that you would hit you would feel a little bit more. There were times that I would be kind of scouting ahead, looking for potholes, trying to slalom around and try to avoid them," Toll said.

While most run flat tires are on BMWs, Mini Coopers and Corvettes, the market is expected to grow fast.

Experts say some run flat tires can be repaired if punctured, while others cannot. That's why it's a good idea to do your research before buying any new or used car.

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