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Spare Tire 101: Essential Care Tips for Your Spare

Spare tires are the unsung heroes of the road. They sit dutifully in our vehicles and quickly become the most valuable asset in a tire-related emergency. Unfortunately, many of us neglect these trusty backups and forget they also need maintenance. This guide will serve as your spare tire 101 and offer you a few essential care tips for your spare that you can’t ignore.

Where to Find Your Spare

Whether driving a sedan, SUV, or a robust pickup truck, locating your spare tire quickly during a roadside emergency is crucial. Pickup truck owners may not always benefit from having a spare tire tucked conveniently under the trunk, but the presence of a full-size spare ensures they’re ready for rugged terrain or emergencies. In a sedan or compact car, the spare typically sits beneath the trunk floor and features a few tools for accessing and using the tire.

Spare Tire Basics

There are typically three types of spares found in vehicles today: the full-size matching set that’s most common in older vehicles, compact spares, which are becoming increasingly popular, and the run-flat system, found in many newer models. Each comes with its own set of benefits and limitations, but all require some level of attention. You can refer to your vehicle’s manual to understand your specific spare tire system.

It’s important to check the pressure and condition of your spare tire monthly, just like you would with the rest of your tires. Storing the tire correctly can prolong its life and ensure it’s roadworthy when you need it.

For extended road trips, particularly in a pickup truck, consider the overall load and plan according to the capabilities of your spare—perhaps prepping it for a more prominent role in your vehicle’s demands. One of the best tips for traveling in a pickup truck is getting the spare ready beforehand and having an accessibility game plan should you need to pull off the road and crawl under your truck for the spare.

Be Prepared, Not Surprised

Equip yourself with the knowledge of how to change a tire and understanding when it’s appropriate. Knowing how to perform this basic maintenance is a skill every driver should possess. Keep a kit in your vehicle that includes a jack, lug wrench, and reflective triangle for safety if you’re stuck on a busy highway. Always apply your parking brake and chock the tire opposite of the one you’re changing to prevent rolling.

Following these essential spare tire care tips will ensure that the tire is ready for the unexpected. Whether navigating city streets or off-road in a pickup truck, tire care is universal in its importance. Next time you glance in your rearview mirror, take a moment to appreciate that often-forgotten wheel—your trusty spare tire. Safe travels!

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