Car makers are tossing out the spare tire

OKLAHOMA CITY - Sue Wilkins was driving her new 2014 Hyundai Accent, when she had a sudden tire blowout.

Wilkins called AAA for roadside assistance.

"I had to sit, and wait and thought 'I'll wait to fix my tire.' And, they said 'You don't have a spare,'" she said.

It's kind of like having a first aid kit without a band aid.

Most car buyers aren't in the habit of checking for a spare while they're purchasing a vehicle.

But, if you're in the market for a new car, it might be worth a peek in the trunk.

Instead of spares and jacks, many new cars are equipped with sealant and inflator kits.

It's an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency.

"The manufacturers are saving about 100 pounds, and that's minuscule in the weight of the car. How many miles is that really giving you?" said AAA representative Chuck Mai. "But, the convenience, you're losing that by the bucket load."

The problem is an inflator kit won't help if a tire gets a slice in the sidewall or suffers other more serious damage than a basic nail puncture.

Nearly all car companies are eliminating spare tires from many of their models, and the list is growing each year.

Before taking off for grandma's home for the holidays, get familiar with your car's features.

"It's amazing what's in this owner's manual and what you never knew about your car," Mai said.

Like Wilkins, you may need to invest in what was once a standard feature.

"They need to purchase a spare because they may not come with one," Wilkins said.

An extra $200 can provide a little peace of mind.