I can guarantee that anybody owning a car, even enthusiasts, can’t stand changing a flat tire. Regardless if it’s an inconvenience or not, changing a flat tire majority of the is downright dangerous. Not to mention, spare tires can weight as much as 60lbs, which in this time of getting the most MPGs out of your car, can make quite the difference.
To reduce weight and increase safety, nearly ever manufacturer has replaced a full-size spare with a space-saving donut. And some, like Chevrolet, have decided to eliminate it all together, which is what they did with the new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
Instead of a spare tire of any sort, Chevrolet equips all of their Cruze models with an on-board tire inflator kit. The result is a 26 lb weight reduction from the lack of a spare and jack. Again, that doesn’t sound like much but GM is doing their best to hyper-mile their cars by eliminating any excess where possible and every little bit helps.
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The result is a boost to an EPA rated 42 mpg on the highway for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO, giving it the title as the best highway mileage of any non-hybrid, gasoline-powered compact available in the US.
“Getting rid of something as important as the spare tire wasn’t a decision we made lightly,” said Terry Connolly, GM director of Tire and Wheel Systems. “The universal implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems over the past five years has significantly reduced the likelihood that a flat tire will leave you stranded by the side of the road.”
Additionally, a Tire Pressure Monitoring system also warns the driver when pressure is low to avoid tire damage. When used, the tire-inflator kit can be plugged into the car’s 12-volt outlet and can reinflate the tire without any additional equipment. Upon filling the tire with air, the kit automatically injects tire sealant that’s capable of filling holes up to ¼ of an inch in diameter in the tread. The whole process can be completed in a manner of minutes.If the tire is irreparable with the inflator kit, drivers can use the Cruze’s OnStar system to request roadside assistance.
“The Cruze engineering team equipped the Eco with industry-leading low rolling-resistance tires. Ensuring that they stay properly inflated will help drivers get the full benefit of this lower fuel consumption,” said Connolly. “Tire pressure actually changes about one pound per square inch for every 10 degrees of ambient temperature change. Keeping your tires at the recommended pressure year round means drivers won’t have to fill the fuel tank quite as often.”
– By: Chris Chin