<VV> Space Saver Spare for Early Model

Karl Haakonsen (cityhawk@pobox.com) karlhaakonsen at comcast.net
Mon Oct 6 03:52:37 EDT 2014

Interesting reading. I think there is still no substitute for a full-size spare. Granted, I don't have 255/40X18's on any of my cars. but I wonder why automakers can't simply offer a full-service tire that's thinner/smaller than the regular tire, but that can go indefinitely (or at least a few hundred miles) with ease. I'm currently looking into replacing the donuts in both of my Saturns. The one in my 1993 SW2 is 21 years old. The size of the donut is one that's not currently made anymore. My option for replacing it is to find another from a junkyard, preferably from a newer S-series car (the newest being 14 years old). Since a full-size (195/60X15) won't quite fit in my well in the back, I was thinking of trying a 14 inch rim from a SOHC S-series and just finding the smallest tire I can get from Tire Rack for it (that appears to be a 175/65X14). 
Similarly, my L-series wagon uses a 205/65X15 and I was thinking of trying something like a 185/55X15. 
One time I was driving from Boston to NJ in my L-series wagon with my family and luggage in the car it was a Sunday, and I was making a round trip for the day. The right rear tire went flat along the way. I put on the donut on and said a prayer that I'd make it the rest of the way where I might find a Sears or something that was still open. I didn't make it and the donut died before I made it the rest of the way. I had to call AAA and get a tow to the nearest Sears (I chose Sears because I knew they were open on Sundays). I missed most of the event I was planning to make the round-trip to NJ for. I vowed that I would figure a way to get a full-service spare in the car. 
I don't know why it isn't possible for automakers to offer a full-service mini-spare -- even as an option so that the extra few pounds the tire takes up doesn't affect the car's EPA mileage rating, but the extra 0.10 mpg the car uses with the optional spare can be the choice of the buyer. This option would be especially useful for FWD cars, where you put it on the rear (if a front tire goes flat, you swap it with the rear tire behind it and put the small spare on the rear. It could still be small, but be made strong enough to withstand hundreds of miles of highway driving if need be. It could mean the difference between making it to your destination vs. not, since not all of us do all of our driving during times when tire shops are open. I find the modern donut is only really useful for local driving, but woefully inadequate for long-distance trips. 
Karl in Boston 

----- Original Message -----

From: "John Roberts via VirtualVairs" <virtualvairs at corvair.org> 
To: vairtec at comcast.net, virtualvairs at corvair.org 
Sent: Sunday, October 5, 2014 8:24:17 PM 
Subject: Re: <VV> Space Saver Spare for Early Model 

 Given there seems to be more folklore than fact, here's some informed articles on Space Saver spare tires: 




I can't find it, but Car and Driver, well over 20 years ago, did skid pad tests with a couple of cars with 4 space saver donuts each. They were surprised how well they did, but then again, they were expecting (as was I) to have a really poor handling car. The handling was fine, the dry grip was not impressive!! 


John Roberts 

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