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June 9, 2016

Check Your Spare

Most of us have forgotten that we have a spare. Since it's something we hardly ever check or a service that needs to be performed, like changing the oil, we neglect to make sure it is ready for when we need it. Even when it is in plain view on the back of your SUV, it is not getting the attention, or air pressure, it needs.

It is a known fact that all tires eventually lose air pressure. Even if you have nitrogen-filled tires, they will lose air pressure. If a spare tire has been tucked away for several years, you can almost be certain it will not be properly inflated. An underinflated tire is not capable of handling the same weight as a properly aired tire.

Spare tires should be inflated to around 60 psi. A tire that is underinflated can easily fail and damage the wheel as well. Properly inflated spares are designed to be a temporary solution. Usually around 100 miles and at speeds no greater than 55mph.

When you go and get your tires rotated, the techs routinely check air pressure as well. The spare however is often usually ignored. Owners should request that while your tires are getting rotated, the spare wheel be checked as well.

SUV's and trucks typically mount their spare wheels on the rear liftgate or under the cargo area. Exposure to the road and elements can cause several issues. Dirt, salt, water and snow can not only damage the spare and interfere with the mounting hardware but also the operation of the latches or cables in an emergency situation. Routine maintenance and inspection can go a long way in preventing an issue when removing the spare when you really need it.

In order to save weight or cargo space, some manufactures have opted out of providing a spare wheel. Instead they provide you with a tire inflator kit for the wheels you already have on your Buick. This option can lead down a different path of issues. Depending on the severity or location of the puncture, the sealant may not be able to seal properly. Also the sealant that gets injected into the tire probably has an expiration date. The sealant might not work properly after that date, so replacing it might be necessary.

Lastly, if you are like most people, you use the cargo area of your Buick on a daily basis. Keep in mind that in order to access the spare wheel and jack, you will need to remove all that stuff first and then put it back once you're done changing the tire. Moreover, a small spare wheel is designed to fit in a compact location that is out of sight. Your flat, full size wheel will not be able to fit in the same location. This means your dirty wheel will have to share the space with the rest of your cargo. Keeping a large plastic bag in your car will allow you to transport your flat tire without dirtying the trunk or potentially the cabin.

Spare tires may not be mentioned on service schedules but a little preventive maintenance can make a big difference when you really need it. Be sure to visit StockWheels.com for all your Stock OEM Wheel needs.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) California Tire Dealers Association Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)