Even if you’ve never had to change a tire, chances are your car has a spare sitting there waiting patiently for a random roadside emergency. Chevrolet aims to change that with its Cruze Eco, which drops the spare tire in favor of an inflator kit with sealant that General Motors says can plug holes up to a quarter inch in diameter.
According to General Motors, dropping the spare, jack and related equipment shaves 26 pounds off of the Cruze Eco’s weight, contributing to the car’s estimated 42-mpg fuel efficiency. “Getting rid of something as important as the spare tire wasn’t a decision we made lightly,” said. Terry Connolly, GM director of Tire and Wheel Systems. Connolly says automated pressure-monitoring systems have “significantly reduced the likelihood that a flat tire will leave you stranded by the side of the road.”
In a press release, GM touted the inflator’s ease-of-use, and said that the company’s OnStar system provides a backup for drivers whose tires might require replacement:
The trunk-mounted inflator can be plugged into the 12-volt accessory socket inside the car and be used to re-pressurize the tire with no additional equipment. If the tire has been punctured by a screw, nail or other object, the inflator can inject a sealant capable of plugging holes of up one-quarter-inch in diameter in the tread area.
The process takes just minutes with much less risk than a tire change. Reinflated tires should always be inspected at a repair facility as soon as possible after the car gets get back on the road.
If a tire is too severely damaged to be repaired with the inflator kit, drivers can press the blue OnStar button on the rearview mirror to request emergency roadside assistance.
OnStar requires additional fees, and coverage may be limited in some areas.
Getting Rid of Spare Tire Helps Boost Chevy Cruze MPG [General Motors]