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Old 12-15-2020, 04:38 PM   #43 (permalink)
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A spare tire is worth its weight when on the road.

I like full-size spares, but many cars don't come with them nowadays. My Mazda is an example, coming from the factory with a donut. However, I consider use of the donut as my last resort. My first line of defense against flats when I don't have a full-size spare is the Viair 400 12vdc air compressor and a big pack of plugs that I take on all trips.

The other day I was rolling through Baton Rouge in my Mazda3 and the low-tire alarm went off. I pulled into the first convenient spot, a grocery/filling station, and found a nail in one of the tires. I was 100 miles from home, so the donut was not capable of getting me there, and I sure didn't want to look for a facility that could fix the flat in unfamiliar territory, so out comes the Viair compressor and plugs.

In maybe 20 minutes or so, I had the plug in and was on my way home.

Although the pros say it ain't so, I consider plugs to be permanent fixes. In the dozens I've used through the years, I've never had a plug fail. I remember having one that developed a slow leak, but it was slow enough to not be a problem until the tire was replaced. None of the other plugs leaked or gave any hint of problem whatsoever, even those I had to double-up due to oversized holes. It's amazing to me.

On one tire I plugged a hole that was just about between the sidewall and the tread, which is not recommended to do but sometimes you just got to do what you got to do in order to get home. To my surprise, it worked for the rest of the life of the tire. I was lucky.

Leaving home without a spare and without flat-fixing measures to gain a theoretical but unmeasurable fuel savings is not something I would consider doing.
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