The following letter was published in the RACV Magazine. The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria is a driver advocacy organization that provides roadside assistance and insurance. The fact that they published my letter means that the idea can’t be totally wacky so I’ll blog it. ;)
There have been many mentions recently in RoyalAuto about space-saver spare tires. Some manufacturers claim that they are to save weight which seems to be a benefit for the driver.
I wonder if most drivers really need a spare tire. For my own driving I only have a flat tire about every second year and I almost never drive outside the metropolitan area. Given how rarely I call for road-side assistance I think I would be better off without a spare tire and with the option of having the RACV deliver one for me if I needed it.
I expect that the time taken to deliver a spare tire would be greater than that required for a regular road-side assistance call, and that it might count for more than a regular assistance call, but given that the cheapest roadside assistance package has 8 calls a year I expect that most years I would still use less than half my quota of calls.
Not having a spare tire would save some weight (and therefore fuel) and would provide a little extra cargo space.
Also it seems to me that small cars are unlikely to ever be driven outside the area that is serviced by the RACV and similar organizations. For a small car the lack of a spare tire in the car design would offer a significant improvement to cargo capacity. If the RACV and other organizations endorsed and supported cars without spare tires then the car manufacturers could design small vehicles with more cargo capacity and less fuel use.