By Ami Cholia
Posting in Technology
In an attempt to increase gas mileage and reduce car weight, automakers are replacing the spare tire with sealant and an air pump.
The next time you have a flat tire in a newly bought car, you might find yourself with tire sealant and an electric air pump instead of a spare.
With gas prices increasing at a rapid rate, automakers are looking for ways to reduce car weight and increase gas mileage -- and the tire has been given the boot. This year itself more than 14 percent of new models on sale in the United States replaced the spare with the quick-fix kits. The kits themselves are about 20 pounds lighter than a spare and jack, and don't take up as much space in the trunk, automakers argue.
While the sealant can have problems if the puncture is on the side of the tire or if the hole is larger than a quarter of an inch, it will work in most cases. And that's what car companies are betting on. If not, though, you will end up waiting on the shoulder and calling a towing company.
GM, who has already made the kit standard on 17 of its 22 U.S. models, told AP, however, that the kit can fix 85 percent of tire punctures. They also said that it was easier to use for people who didn't know how to change a tire, and it put people back on the road faster. Most new cars also come equipped with an electronic tire pressure monitors and will, in all likelihood, detect the leak before you're completely stranded.
For those who still want the comfort of knowing they have a spare in the trunk, GM said it would cost an additional $100 to get one put.
By 2025, the car and truck fleet in the country will have to average 54.5 miles per gallon, and automakers are doing everything they can to meet standards without giving up performance. Not everyone is completely sold on the idea yet -- Honda, for instance, still uses spares on all its 2011 models -- but it's something we're definitely going to see more of in the coming months.
Via Washington Post
Sep 13, 2011
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well thatâs smart but how does that improve mileage. And secondly is it safer than all of the other options http://www.national.co.uk/branch-45-Leeds-(Sheepscar-LS7).aspx
The early days of motor travel took place on primitive roads that were littered with stray horseshoe nails. Punctures were all too common, and required the motorist to remove the wheel from the car, demount the tire, patch the inner tube, re-mount the tire, inflate the tire, and re-mount the wheel. [url=http://www.easywheels.co.uk/]cheap car tyres[/url]
Most flat tires are not caused by a slow leak...Yes, the slow leak can be mitigated with a can of "fix-a-flat" and an onboard air pump will keep a leaky tire inflated...but what about the sudden deflation of a damaged tire? these things will *NOT* help in these cases, which I estimate are in the majority of flat tires. Every tire I've ever had to change has been due to some kind of tire failure where the only solution is to replace the tire...I don't think this is the solution.
Doing away with spares makes is reasonable. Even with a spare often it's flat as well when you need it. On board air pump would help out more to get to where help is available.
The TPS light on our Toyota's only come on when the tire is dead flat - thanks a lot! I could have figured that out by seeing how far the car is tilted.
So all the $$/fees we pay for R&D hidden in price of new cars are reduced to such frivolity? With all the science out there this is the best the car makers can do?!? This goes back to my thinking that the main reason why car makers haven't improved engines that much or changed fuel system is cause they don't want to pay the money for building new assembly lines to produce them. We are all suffering because car makers would rather stay status quo then do the hard work of switching equipment and retraining workers. We are suffering because the oil producers and gasoline companies don't want to give up their monopoly on energy - unless they are also the ones who can hold the reins on alternate energy as well. This is an horrendous excuse to keep consumers and technology at bay till the last second.
Have you ever seen what a tire looks like if it goes flat while you're driving? By the time you've pulled off the road it has almost disintegrated. It cannot be repaired by any means. And if you're traveling between cities, especially in the western USA, it could take hours before anyone could bring you a spare. Even worse if you're traveling through the night. And even in town people do get punctures in the sidewalls. It takes 15 minutes to change flat tire with a spare. Who wants to lose an hour or two waiting for a tow truck. And the higher price of a replacement tire from a tow truck company would likely be enough to offset any fuel savings for the entire life of the car. Very bad idea. If car owners want to put an air pump and a can of fix-it in their car (a good idea) they should do that without forcing all the rest of population to drive without spares. I have a better idea to take 20 pounds out of the weight of the vehicle. Get Americans to eat healthier. If we really want to save fuel by cutting weight, lets reduce the obesity of the drivers and passengers! If we made fewer trips to McDonalds and ate locally grown organic foods we would save on the fuel consumed to transport the junk foods, and the pesticides, and the thousands of trips made by consumers to purchase one meal at a time. Can you imagine how much fuel that would save?!! And meanwhile, the rest of us wouldn't have to worry about getting a flat that couldn't be repaired with a can of fix-it.
This trend first reared it's ugly head with the introduction of "run flat" tires. Wonderful in theory, they're a bust in real life, especially when one encounters a flat in the boonies where replacements tend not to be available, and when it comes to replace them. (They usually cost several times what traditional tires cost) Having experienced most of my flats in places that were far less than convenient, not having a spare on board usually would have meant the difference between a minor inconvenience and a serious problem. Now that "average" cars will need to be getting over 50 MPG within the next dozen years, expect to see more of these less than desirable trends surface. It's ironic that this requirement will likely spur the sales of more SUVs (which won't have this problem) just as the CAFE standards established in the '70s did.
...if you don't check it. Just because you don't maintain your vehicle doesn't mean everyone else doesn't either.
When I bought my new car a few months ago, I asked where the spare was and lo and behold, there wasn't one! It would cost me an additional $250 to get one put in with jack. My thoughts were the same, most of the time you see tires completely shredded by the time you can pull the vehicle over, the can of fix a flat won't help much then. But hey if you go to the beach, at least you can blow up your floating mats and toys with less effort.